TUSCALOOSA | Sylvere Hilaire Coussement, 78, died at home on December 30, 2013.
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Sylvere, or "Cous" as he was known to his friends, was an entrepreneur and cultured individual with an enormous sense of humor and a wonderful smile. He was born in Roubaix, France to parents Hilaire Prosper and Augustine Josephine Coussement. His family immigrated to this country in 1941 and settled in Detroit, Mich. where his father had a dental abrasives company. Cous graduated with a Bachelor of Chemical Engineering from the University of Detroit (1964) and received an Ed.S. degree in Educational Research (statistics) from the University of Alabama (1996) as well as a Ph.D. degree in Mass Communications, University of Alabama, in 1999. He joined the United States Air Force in 1955 as an aviation cadet and from 1956-1959, was based at Chaumont, France Air Base serving as a flight leader, instructor pilot, and engineering test pilot. From 1959 to 1972, he served in the Michigan and Maryland Air National Guards. His total years of military service spanned a 24 year period, with 16 years in the USAF and 8 years in the Alabama Army National Guard. In 1962, he joined Parke, Davis and Company as a process development engineer in their pharmaceutical division and in 1964, moved to Hercules Incorporated, where he established the Validity and Search group for the patent law department. He also served as technical recruiter in the Personnel Department as well as sales representative to some of Hercules major companies. In 1971, he was named President of Hyde Petrochemical Corporation, and in 1976, he became President and CEO of Replex Corporation, a company specializing in the reprocessing and compound manufacturing of polyolefins. When the business shut down after a disastrous fire in early 1982, Cous discovered a passion. He founded and success fully managed an up-scale restaurant and bar known as Kozy's in Tuscaloosa, Ala. The restaurant opened in 1985 and was known for its "French cuisine with an American accent" and had a superlative wine and beer list in an atmosphere decorated with over 200 black and white movie posters of Hollywood stars from the 1930's-1960's. In 1991, Cous left the restaurant business and went to work for International Wines in the Tuscaloosa, Ala. market. Many restaurants reaped the benefit of his wine knowledge and expertise as he taught the wait staff about the proper pairing of wine with food. In 1993, he began teaching at the University of Alabama in the College of Human Environmental Sciences in their Hospitality Management program where he taught for five years. In 2000, he and his wife Martha set sail on a 42-foot sailboat "Orca" and arrived in Puerto La Cruz, Venezuela in 2001. They imported a car into Caracas, Venezuela and in 2003, toured South American with two dogs and a cat writing articles for The Tuscaloosa News, part of the New York Times group of newspapers. After returning to Alabama in 2005, he went to work for River City RV, North Little Rock, Arkansas as the financial officer and site construction manager in the start-up operation of this RV dealership. His most recent position was as visiting professor with Indiana University/Purdue University, Fort Wayne, Ind. in the College of Health and Human Services, Department of Consumer and Family Sciences where he taught marketing, cost control, food selection and preparation, and introductory courses. Cous is remembered as one of the most giving, warm, generous, friendly, out-going and kind individuals ever known. He was an avid sailor, loved cars, telling stories about his adventures, adored his four-legged children, and his laughter could always be heard at all gatherings.
He is survived by his loving wife Martha; two Welsh terriers, Morgan and Bryce; and one Venezuelan cat, Flamenca.
Donations can be made in his memory to The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA).
A memorial service will be held at a later date.
Published in Tuscaloosa News on Jan. 5, 2014