John Coussons
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John Stanford Coussons CHARLESTON - John Stanford Coussons died Thursday, December 31, 2009. Born in Minden, Louisiana, January 13,1931, the son of William Bryan Coussons and Willie Graves McCoy Coussons. He received his baccalaureate degree from Louisiana College. At the Louisiana State University, where he was a student of T. Harry Williams, he received the M.A. and Ph.D. Dr. Coussons joined the faculty of The Citadel in 1958 and spent his entire academic career of forty-one years at the military college. In addition to his primary appointment as a History professor, during the course of his career he served as a tactical advisor to two cadet companies, advisor to the sailing team, the Junior Sword Drill, the History Club, Phi Alpha Theta, The Honor Committee, and St. Alban's Chapel. In 1969, Dr. Coussons received the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award. He was elected Chairman of the Faculty Council in 1972. From 1977 until 1989 he served as Head of the History Department. Commissioned in the Naval Reserve in 1952, Dr. Coussons served on active duty until 1955. He was recalled to active duty for a year in 1961 during the confrontation over the Berlin Wall. He was retired with the rank of Captain. Dr. Coussons was a member of the South Carolina Historical Society, the Southern Historical Society, the Washington Light Infantry, the Sons of Confederate Veterans, and the Carolina Yacht Club. An Episcopalian, he was a communicant of the Cathedral Church of St. Luke and St. Paul where he was a long term vestryman and twice Senior Warden. A service in celebration of the life of Dr. Coussons will be held at the Cathedral of St. Luke and St. Paul, Monday, January 4, 2010 at eleven o'clock. Burial will be in the churchyard. Following the burial, the family will greet friends at a reception in the Church's Parish Hall. Dr. Coussons is survived by a sister, Ellen Elizabeth Coussons Wooldridge, of Monroe, LA, a brother, William McCoy Coussons, of Florence, AL, several nieces and nephews and grand nieces and nephews. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to The Cathedral of St. Luke and St. Paul, 126 Coming Street, Charleston, SC 29403 or Charleston Men's Chorus, P. O. Box 22674, Charleston, SC 29413 Arrangements by J. HENRY STUHR, INC., DOWNTOWN CHAPEL. Visit our guestbook at

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Published in Charleston Post & Courier from Jan. 2 to Jan. 3, 2010.
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102 entries
July 17, 2018
I always look back fondly of CAPT Coussons and his lectures at The Citadel. He was, without question, one of the key influences in my life and how I came to see the world.
Barry Clark
October 26, 2016
This is, of course, very late. The other day Capt Coussons suddenly popped into my mind and I did a web search of his name and sadly found his obituary. It was gratifying to read the many testimonials in this Guest Book. We all should aspire to lead lives that make our passing so well noted.

I met Capt. C in 1976 in freshman history. He was a friendly and constantly courteous presence in the middle of a hard knob year. As an Episcopalian, I encountered him at St. Alban's chapel and sometimes went to his home church downtown. As I read the other reminiscences here, I wish I'd known him far better than I did.
One classroom encounter with him sticks with me. I was a junior in his Civil War history class and he was recounting a scene in which a young southerner was departing for the war and everyone, including the slaves, was crying. The irony of this put a smirk on my face, which caused Capt. C to say Mr. Hunter, you sir are a heartless Yankee. I replied Captain, I may be a tumbleweed as a result of my father's military service, but he is Southern Gentleman if there ever was one, and I am no Yankee. At that point Capt. C bowed and said I stand corrected. That one exchange showed his humor, grace, and manners all at once.

My last encounter with him was a chance meeting in the Atlanta airport almost 30 years later. I saw him, immediately recognized him, and approached him for a brief chat. He was gracious as always and interested in what I'd been up to and where I was. I would have loved to talk longer, but we had planes to catch. I'm very glad I had a chance to see him again for a final time.

Rest in peace sailor, scholar, teacher, leader, mentor, Christian, and friend.
Mark Hunter
May 30, 2016
Officer and Gentleman. Friend and Confidante. Miss you everyday Captain. Cheers.
December 15, 2010
14 December 2010

I am one of John's many Citadel sons. I first met John while a fourth classman at The Citadel in 1965. From that time onward I have never had a better mentor or a more faithful friend. A year prior to John's death he and I were reliving our decades long friendship. It was 2:00 AM on a cold, bone chilling December morning in Charleston. We had fortified ourselves with some very good scotch and agreed that if we could do everything over again we would not do nearly as well. John lived a full, happy, rewarding life and it gives me comfort to know that he realized it.
A number of years ago John had a fairly serious surgery that thankfully turned out quite well. When he returned to his room from recovery, several of us were waiting for him. As he awoke he saw us and said, "Well!! and people said that I should have invested in stocks".
John Coussons did not leave monuments of stone and steel. He left us, his Citadel sons, and the lessons that he taught us.

John taught that a gentleman is never embarrassed because he never commits any act that would bring embarrassment to himself or others. My children are passing that fact on to their children.

In 1967 MGM re-released "Gone With The Wind". It was a big event and John wanted to attend and note the prologue for future lectures. Several of us went with him and were lucky to find seats in the crowded theater. The custom of the day, at least in Charleston, was to begin each performance with the playing of "The National Anthem" along with a picture of"The Colors" waving on the screen. At the first note we, of course, rose and stood at attention. I soon realized after several bars that most of the audience remained seated. John turned, and in his very best command voice said, "WELL". At that moment everyone seated rose and remainded standing throughout the anthem. Another great lesson.

John has been my friend through all of life's triumphs and tragadies. If I ever had a question as to the ethic of a decision I always consulted John. He would generally say, "Now Phillip you know what to do".

My life has been better because John Coussons was and is my friend. I will always miss him and treasure our friendship

Phillip S. Hofmann
The Citadel "69"
Phillip Hofmann
June 4, 2010
This note was mailed to Beth on January 4, 2010 and is being added to the Guest Book.

Almost fifty years ago I lived in Charleston and your brother, John, was one of my friends. He lived on East Bay Street in that spacious apartment with the high, high ceilings. One night he had a "Princess Margaret Engagement Party" which was a dressy affair with John greeting us at the door wearing his cape. A very large "Union Jack" hung high on the wall. It was at this party that I met the man I would later marry.

Through the years, as often happens, those we once knew slip to the back of our minds while we tend to growing families and present activities.

Two days ago I learned of John's death from my cousin who met her future husband at the party too. From John's obituary, I am pleased to see that he had a full life at The Citadel and at his church and with other activities. The photograph is just as I remember him.

My sincere sympathy to you and others in John's family at your loss. He is remembered fondly after all these years.

Jane Mears
March 21, 2010
" He was a great uncle" Sarah Coussons
Sarah Kate Coussons
March 9, 2010
Captain, I am sadden to learn of your passing. You brought life, discipline, and purpose to all who knew you. As a young Knob in 1977 you took me as a raw Cadet and built into me all the Virtures necessary to be the complete Citadel Man. Through you I became an active member of St Albans and the Cathedral downtown. You encouraged me to aspire to levels of leadership I would have waived from if you had not aspired me to by your own example. I remember vividly Sunday Brunches, talks on the Veranda, Summer Visits,lunch at the Club and your one visit to Richmond when you brought the Citadel Choir to sing at St John's Episcopal Church (site of Patrick Henry's Famous Speech). You were an inspiration to me than and now. I lost touch with you over the years and my recent attempts were too late. You will forever be in heart and a Model I will teach my Boys as well. Thank you Captain. Rick McGeorge - Citadel Class of 1981
Rick McGeorge
March 1, 2010
Other than my father no one has been more of a positive influence on my life than the "Commander". As a result of having to leave The Citadel for over a semester due to a serious illness I needed nine semesters to graduate. This meant I was free to live off campus as a "civilian" for the 9th semester while attending classes much like a Veteran student. Thanks to my roommate, Rod Engard, I came to live at Talon Court during the Spring of 1969 at the Commander's home with Rod and Mike Armstrong.

One of the things John did that shall stay in my memory was to support me in my senior essay by donating the dining room table to be my work desk as I assembled the materials and typed this required document. As he said "we can eat in the living room, it's more important you do an excellent job with your paper".

Not that I was ever the "student" John thought I should become, but amongst Rod and Mike, I shone! In recognition I was given TV and "Bat Mobile" privileges! With John there was always a right way and a wrong way (with the right way being his way!).

I shall never forget the day I knew I was to be graduated as the "Commander" authorized me to call him John! Even though I had lived in his home for almost five months, decorum prevailed.

Whenever I have thought of John (which was often) I was reminded of such qualities as; honesty, integrity, perserverance, consistency, commitment, intelligence, attention to detail and compassion. While I shall miss the opportunity to see John on those few trips to Charleston from Connecticut I was able to make, I shall never ever forget him or the influence he had on me. God bless you John.
Peter Hugret
February 28, 2010
I remember CAPT Coussons with fond affection. When we were stationed in Charleston in 1971, and visited the Cathedral for the first time, he was the first person we met. At that time, he was wearing his Navy uniform, having just come over from the Citadel after classes.

We had a common interest in the acolyte program at the cathedral, and he trained our son as a server, and me as a verger. We spent many a pleasant Sunday dinner at his houses, first on Thomas Street, and later on East Bay.

John was a gentleman to his fingertips, and I shall miss him.

The last time I called him was on a July 4th, about 3 years ago. I asked him how he spent the day, and he said, "I sat out on my piazza, sipped tea, and wondered how it might have been." An Anglophile to the end.

They don't make 'em like John anymore. Rest in Peace, good and faithful servant.

Conrad Plyler
Captain, U.S. Navy (Ret.)
Conrad Plyler
February 17, 2010
Helen's Dad and Cuz with Eleanor and Wyaltt, 2008
February 16, 2010
Korky and Helen with Cuz, June 1999
Cuz has been in my life since Day One! Actually, I would not be here if it weren’t for Cuz. He introduced my parents John Kerr and Caroline Hanahan Kerr. So, I thank Cuz for giving me life (in a sense – ha!)!

Cuz was my Godfather, babysitter, family historian, and friend. I remember clearly one babysitting episode when my sister, Caroline, and I decided we would fill up plastic tubs with water in our bedroom and “swim”. We also decided that same night to squeeze those fragrant bath balls with the liquid inside them. It was all fun and games until the liquid squirted in our eyes. There was a lot of pain and tears. To this day, I am not sure where our babysitter was during all this! I never remember Cuz babysitting us again. But, we were still together a lot for family dinners, Citadel parades, excursions to the Citadel beach house, and visits to his house.

I always loved playing at Cuz’s house. It was like roaming around a museum. I also liked getting soft drinks in endless supply, eating those yummy crackers in the big green tin, and being reprimanded for calling a “waste paper basket” a trash can. I still call them trash cans. Sorry Cuz, you tried!

When Cuz’s health started to decline, I was sad. I knew life would never be the same again without Cuz. Also, my children are very young and will never know him. I took them by to see him every visit we made to Charleston.

Cuz had a table that he said would be mine one day. I am extremely grateful and totally undeserving to inherit a piece of Cuz’s beautiful furniture. The table is now in my house. My children enjoy playing with the table’s brass lion head knobs and looking at family pictures displayed on it. I know it would make Cuz so happy to see them enjoying it too.

As we all know, Cuz held a deep faith and devotion to the Episcopal Church. Currently, my husband and I don’t attend an Episcopal church. Cuz would humorously define our church as “happy clappy”! He had a wonderful sense of humor!

One final thought on Cuz concerns my maternal grandmother Caroline Hanahan from Charleston. She died from cancer when I was very young. Cuz thought very highly of her and talked about her often. “Granny” remained alive to me through Cuz. I don’t want to join them anytime soon! But when the time comes, I will be excited to get there.

We will miss you Cuz! Thank you for all the fun memories!

With love and devotion,

Helen Kerr Kemp
February 8, 2010
John Stanford Coussons

I don’t really know where to begin. I met the Commander (his rank in 1969) through my oldest brother, Hank (class of ’66 and a History major). Hank was living in Charleston when I matriculated to the Citadel in the fall of 1969, the Commander and I did not really know each other until the summer of 1971. By brother let Cuz know that I was headed for summer school. I was invited to live at his house on Talon Court along with 3 other cadets (all of us were trying desperately to regain some GPA points that had been lost during the past two years). We were thinking this was going to be pretty cool: living off campus, air-conditioning, and home cooked meals. What we found out was that is more than cool, but not for the reasons we thought. The Commander required us to maintain Evening Study Period during the week (not what we had counted on) and was on us like “white-on-rice” if our studies slipped at all. Being on campus all week, he also talked regularly with our professors so he was the NORAD of our grading system.

We were not to be outdone in every instance, however. Stokes Van Pelt and I had our Tuesday night’s all figured out so we could watch TV and not get caught by the ever-watchful eye of “our keeper”. The Commander was scheduled for Naval duties on Tuesday nights at the Navy Yard. We watched whatever shows we liked while he was away, but at around 9:45, knowing the Commander would come rolling in at 10:15 (like clockwork itself), we would place a tray of ice cubes on top of the TV set that was just inside the front door. This cooled the set perfectly and at 10:15, we would shut off the TV, wipe up any moisture caused by the tray, refill the tray and return it to the freezer just in time for the Commander to walk in the door, place his hand on top of the TV (in his usual manner) and smile as he had once again outsmarted the slow-minded cadets.

The living off-campus part was still great and although we had home cooked meals, we found out that we were the ones who did the cooking (and cleaning, and dishes, and acted as part time bartenders on occasion). This was the first time other than Boy Scout camping trips that I had ever cooked a real meal, so this was yet another time when I learned something from the Commander. Green bean casseroles, roast beef, and rice and gravy, were among the first basic meals we learned to cook.

Another pleasure that the Commander tried to instill in us was the love of opera. This did not “take” on any of us, regardless of how many times he fired up the “Victrola” and put on the “Marriage of Figaro”. We even ruined that for him as in the middle of one of the playings of this particular piece, Stokes walked down the stairs singing to the music,” My name is Ralph but call me Bozo, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la.” That pretty much ended our opera ordeal for the summer. (And the “Marriage of Figaro” forever.)

I remember John Coussons for his kindness for others. At one time or another, most cadets would talk about other professors in less than gracious terms. The Commander would always say something like, “Professor X is a good man” and then he would explain a few things that we did not know about that particular professor. Things like, “he was a hero in the Battle of the Coral Sea”, (or something like that). Always made us think a little longer before passing ultimate judgment on others (I like to think he particularly helped me in that area).

He was kind to everyone he came in contact with. He treated everyone with respect.
He treated us as adults or at least expected us to act like adults. It was a huge burden to our plan to screw-off most of the summer.

The Commander gave me a love for History and learning that continues to this day. I gained an interest in architecture, antiques, Her Royal Majesty (of course), and through his explanations of history, how and why we are what we are, and not just some facts on a page.

For instance, I think I was the only non-Anglican (as he referred to Episcopalians) to attend “court” at the Commander’s. As a Presbyterian, or Calvinist, as the Commander referred to me, I learned as much about my own denomination as I did about others. During the academic year I attended St. Alban’s Chapel more than the Summerall Chapel for the protestant services. I learned a great deal from the Commander and I learned to like the process of learning.

I have always enjoyed the education I received at The Citadel, but it did not occur to me until several years afterwards that much of education was the extra education I gained by knowing the Commander. He was truly the last of a dying breed and he will be missed.

Daniel S. Boyd
Class of 1973
Tango Company
Dan Boyd
February 8, 2010
Commander John Coussons loved The Citadel and the pomp and ceremony of life there. As a cadet, we were on the lookout for him when he would roam the barracks at night during study hall. Anchors away would come over the loud speakers announcing his presence in the barracks. Later Mike Armstrong, Peter Hugret and I roomed with him at his home on Talon Court. We were day students for our 5th year and the Commander ran the home as his barracks. He made sure our rooms were in order, our appearance neat, pride in ourselves and our school. Having no money, I was the designated cook and grocery purveyor for this clan.

Dinners were on the antique English dining room table with silverware and crystal. We felt and acted like princes at the table with King Couss at the head. The Commander made us feel good about who we were, the real reasons why we were going to graduate from The Citadel and what we should be doing once we graduated.

The last time I was in Charleston for my fellow Hibernians meeting, I took John to lunch at Blossoms and had a memorable time. We talked about school, friends, “The Rock”, cadets, his life, mine and my wife BJ.

John Coussons left a mark on me, which always made me think better thoughts and be a better individual. Captain John Coussons will be missed!

Rodney W. Engard
Class of 68/69
Engard Real Estate Company
Hilton Head Island, SC
January 31, 2010
I had a catch in my throat January 4 as I glimpsed the back of a tall man hurrying down a hallway -- boat cloak billowing behind him. Fifty years ago I played batman in that cloak at LSU and later dragged it behind me on the gallery of # l The East Battery. That cloak represents the quirkiness of John- -His Worship or the Earl of Dubberly as we called him. Really good friendshps survive a lifetime, even with infrequent visits, and our LSU ones are especial treasures. His loyalty to those people and institutions in which he believed--whether family, friends, the Episcopal church, the Citadel, Southern civility, or the British monarchy--was nothing short of fierce. He was generous to a fault, always well beyond his means, and utterly charming. I think he was speechless only once--when my blonde teenager dashed out of a crowd at the National Cathedral after a Citadel choir concert, throwing her arms around his neck and kissing him on the cheek. Years later, like so many other children of his friends, she brought her baby (with her husband in tow) to see Uncle John at Bishop Gadsden. He oozed style, whether he was driving the 1946 Lincoln Continental through a LSU crowd having a panty raid or directing the parade of cadets through his assorted elegant Charleston residences. Only HW could arrange to be buried under a magnolia tree. Mizpah.
Sarah Wiggins (Tuscaloosa, Alabama )
January 28, 2010

Whereas the esteemed Chief Counsel to Captain Coussons, namely John J. Kerr, Esquire, has invited all of us to submit tributes to and pictures of the Captain:
I second that emotion.
For, certainly, The Chief Counsel stands out among those rare gentle guardians of persons who can occasionally be ornery most deliberately. As the producer and director of the celebrated epic
the Chief Counsel shall most certainly bypass limbo and purgatory on account of his good deeds when he goes to join the Captain. Therefore, the Chief Counsel deserves our support to make sure the good times are not forgotten.
I shall tell a humorous tale that illustrates the Captain's teaching skills. For he had the ability to make even a required course fun and memorable. In the required course of American History, the good Captain enjoyed using political cartoons and slogans to make his lectures entertaining. I'll never forget the time he had the whole class chanting in unison the timeless blurbs from a 19th century presidential campaign.
First, picture a young child in tearful distress calling out to its nearby single mother:
Next--off to the side--a group of cynical sneering partisans responds:

Indeed the Captain influenced all of us in many ways. He introduced me to another excellent teacher, Jeff Willis, and Jeff's friends Nancy and A.Charles Cannon--a Citadel grad who served as "Rector" of St. Alban's, and who performed the marriage ceremony for my wife, Rosemary, and me forty years ago. The six of us enjoyed a delightful pilgrimage to Canterbury and London in 1989.
The Captain was a dedicated and exemplary Godfather ( literally and figuratively) to many, including our son Gordie. The attached photo is one Cuz had at his Church St. home. There's Cuz at Gordie's high school graduation in 2000, replete de rigueur in khakis, "POLO" polo, and surcingle belt. The generous Captain traveled thousands of miles to attend Gordie's baptism, confirmation and graduation.


Peyton Galloway 65/66
Peyton Galloway 65/66
January 24, 2010
My relationship started with Capt. Coussons when he was asked to be my Godfather when I was born in 1963. He had already been a close friend of the family at that time because he and my father were rommates aboard the destroyer, USS Robinson in 1962. He attended many parties at our home and in my mind at an early age he was quite a character who spoke his mind. As time went on I was asked to be an Acolyte at his church where I served for many years. After church I was treated to nice dinners at one of his mansions. Uncle John was such a generous and giving man. As a confirmation gift he gave me a color tv and an antigue mirror. The color tv still works in my garage today and the mirror was restored and hangs in my dining room. Everyday I think of him as I come downstairs and see that mirror. I have fond memories of going with him to Friday afternoon parades, eating with him at the famous Jimmy Dingates and sitting with him at all the home Citadel football games. I especially loved the Sunday dinners at his house where the word Very Formal comes to mind. I believe this was the highlight of the week for him so he could be with all his very close friends and the people he loved. He will truely be missed by all those that were so close to him as friends, students and Especially his family. My thoughts and prayers go out to those who knew Capt.Coussons.


Benjamin Floyd McGuckin III
January 23, 2010
I met Cuz in 1960 when I recruited him for the Reserve Crew of USS Greenwood (DE-679). We became "weekend warriors". Sometime in early 1961 the USS Robinson (DD-562) became our training ship. On 10/1/61 we were recalled to active duty for a year and, along with three other reserve ships, joined four fleet destroyers and the aircraft carrier Essex, the Task Group Flagship.

John was my roomate for the entire year. As he was four months my senior he took the lower bunk and I was relegated to the upper bunk. I rarely was allowed to enter the room during the day as he was invariably holding "conferences" with the people in his department. Cuz was a character, even then, but all who knew him found him to be strict, fair, opinionated and always available for an intense, interesting conversation.

Our many exercises in the north atlantic that winter included a joint one with the British Royal Navy. A British liaison officer was assigned to each U.S. Destroyer. John and our liaison officer naturally became fast friends. When Cuz discovered that this gent also came aborad wearing a boat cloak John made sure he also wore his when going ashore with his new friend. (John Kerr wore this same boat cloak at Cuz's funeral). Subsequent to our release to inactive duty John became our son's Godfather and, as such, looked after his well being just like he did hundreds of Citadel cadets. John and I shared "Godfathership" of another shipmate's daughter when she was born three years later.

John was someone who all in our family admired and whose company we routinely enjoyed. We will miss him.

Ben McGuckin, Jr.
Ben McGuckin, Jr.
January 22, 2010
I am sorry to hear about the passing of Captain John Coussons. He and 3 other faculty member’s made a significant impact on my life when I was at “The Citadel”.
He was quite a “character” in a very positive way. Through his history class I learned that the world was not as simple as I perceived it. His lectures were interesting and made me want to “explore” and learn more – the very essence of what teaching should be. I would say that he was probably responsible for helping me learn to “think for myself”. In our barracks, in his role as a TAC Officer, he was known affectionately as “Captain Crunch”. His wry humor always kept everyone in stitches – he never took himself too seriously. He was always positive in his humor and could “dress you down” for just about anything (Make fun of you and your foibles and bad habit’s in a positive way – never negative. That is another reason why I liked him so much, i.e., his critique was positive and constructive as opposed to demeaning. I recall in one lesson in American History he encouraged his students (perhaps it was even just me . . ) to read “An American Tragedy” by Theodore Dreiser. I did and it significantly re-shaped my thinking and perspective of American life. His lecture on the “Spanish American War” was enlightening, humorous and again made me want to learn more history. He was a wonderful patriot and will be greatly missed – he never “sugar-coated” anything.

Erskine Traynham, Jr.
"O" Co., 4th Battalion, Class of '70
Laurel, Maryland
Erskine Traynham, Jr.
January 21, 2010
Reading the words of family and friends solidifies my belief Uncle John was Blessed beyond reason. What a life+! While his gifts were plentiful, the one I most admire was the ability to not harbor resentment. The love demonstrated on these pages is but one of the Blessings. I pray the Good Lord has mercy granting me a portion of this characteristic. May God Bless you all+!
Michael Coussons
January 20, 2010
I didn't meet CAPT Coussons until my junior year. He grabbed me after a service at St. Alban's (the old one) and asked why, as a life long Episcopalian, I hadn't been attending church during my first two and a half years. I gave a less than satisfactory excuse, and he shamed me into attending church for the remainder of my time at The Citadel. What followed was a great friendship that resulted in me serving on the vestry as a senior, attending services out in town w/the Captain, and many meals at his home. A true and steadfast gentleman, I imagine the Captain is enjoying himself a great deal as he corners and questions all the great figures in history about their activities here on earth. Fare Winds & Following Seas Captain.

CAPT John Palmer, USN
Citadel 1988
Charlie Company
John Palmer
January 19, 2010
Bill & John
January 19, 2010
Bill & John
January 19, 2010
Bill & John
January 19, 2010
Bill & John
January 19, 2010
Bill & John
January 19, 2010
Bill & John
January 19, 2010
John, Beth & Bill
January 19, 2010
Mike, Bill, Russ & John
From JoLynn & Bill:
Bill and I began going to Charleston while Bill was in the Army at Ft. Gordon, GA. We loved everything about it – Stoll’s Alley, the Battery, all the old homes, the carriage rides, and the old market. Then after John moved there, he really made it come alive! For over the 50 years we visited, we met many friends, had dinner in their homes, and met many Cadets (they would baby sit our boys when we went out to dinner). Whenever I entered a room filled with Cadets, they all jumped to their feet – he insisted – and I would say “please sit”. We were there for church services, those Sunday brunches, going to beach houses, lunches at the Yacht Club. He took me antiquing – he knew everyone in the shops. We had dinner with his friends at their homes, it was wonderful! I even sat in a class of his at the College of Charleston (until he talked too long and caught me looking at my watch). We were there for his Citadel retirement party, what an night that was!
John came to Florence many times, especially at Christmas. He met our friends, met all the antique dealers here, came for Bill’s 70th birthday party – where he told that long story about growing up on a “small plantation” in Louisiana.
We took our friends, Laurance and Lois Cross (with 4 kids in a station wagon for 10 hours) to visit, only to be locked out of Talon Court. (He came home to find us having a party on the porch). Suzanne and Barry Morris went with us when he lived at Stoll’s Alley. Over the years, we had many great meals at Henry’s, Jimmy Dingates, Poogin’s Porch, 82 Queen and others (some are no longer there).
We loved him, our children loved him and then our grandchildren loved him. We tried to take them at Easter, he usually incorporated them into the church service. John passed his love of Charleston on to our grandchildren. At the funeral they said, “Even though Uncle John won’t be here, we still want to come to Charleston.”
Our special thanks to Kester Heaton and John Kerr. You really took care of him. And thanks to all of you who loved him. He had a wonderful life and we were lucky enough to share it with him.
JoLynn & Bill Coussons
January 18, 2010
I was very saddened to hear that my friend and verbal jousting partner passed away. I first met John Coussons in 1969 as a freshman when he became my faculty advisor. From the very first moment we met until our last conversation, John never tired of extolling the virtues of the Southern Gentlemen and despite my protestations to the contrary, he included me in that category. As a Black American growing up in Florida during an extremely turbulent time, I had a very mixed opinion of the South and knew that I wanted to leave as soon as I received my degree. John reminded me that despite my protestations and denial, I was a product of the South. He said during one of our more heated exchanges that I could no more shed my southern heritage than I could the color of my skin. He further opined that it was the responsibility of good men of any race to stay and help the South deal with its issues. I truly enjoyed John's inability to shy away from a controversial subject. The first time I experienced this quality was during a very difficult conversation with him regarding a class assignment. There were a number of barracks rumors swirling around John Martin, who taught English History. I pointedly asked John if it was in my best interest to transfer to another professor. He gave me a look of utter contempt and said that the only bias Colonel Martin had was against those who dared walked into his class late and unprepared. He said, “you would learn more about English history from that man than any human walking the planet”. As always, he was right. I loved the class and I loved listening to John Martin lecture. Years later I wrote a letter to Colonel Martin shortly after my English wife and I returned from a visit to her family. I told him that even today, the castles of England are as vivid as he described years earlier. I also told him of my conversation with Commander Coussons and apologized for misjudging him before getting to know him. That started an exchange of letters that continued until his death and that of his lovely wife this past year. This occurred because John Coussons was a very good man, and knowing this "Southern Gentleman" was indeed an honor.

Norman Seabrooks #73
Norman Seabrooks
January 17, 2010
My thoughts and prayers are with you in your time of grief. May your memories bring you comfort.
Ben McGuckinCharleston
January 16, 2010
History’s Lost Moments published in The Moultrie News on Wednesday, January 13, 2010 (Mt Pleasant, SC)

Farewell To A Southern Historian, John Stanford Coussons

Tom Horton

Picture caption: John Stanford Coussons, Ph.D., was a captain in the naval reserves and a full-time history professor at the Citadel for 41 years. When he retired in 1999, Mayor Joe Riley proclaimed the day “John Coussons Day.”

¶On New Year’s Eve a light went out in Charleston. John Stanford Coussons slipped quietly into the pages of history that he himself so cherished. The stately funeral at his beloved Cathedral of St. Luke and St. Paul on January 4 was a memorial service fitting for a man who’d been a professor, mentor, and role-model for hundreds of former Citadel cadets. ¶The muffled tread of fourteen honorary pallbearers, many of them his former students, conferred a military aura as the Cathedral’s tracker organ played the music to “Glorious things of Thee are spoken, Zion City of our God.” . ¶With church bells peeling and two-hundred men dressed in black, even motorists on Coming Street knew that a Charleston legend was being laid to rest. ¶A noted history scholar, naval captain, and southern gentleman of the old order, John S. Coussons made an impression upon all that knew him. His legacy is two generations of students who value virtue, scholarship, and thrive on the concept of personal excellence because of their association with him.
¶As a professor John Coussons was a history student’s dream-come-true . There was never a dull moment. John’s dry humor was part of every lesson. ¶Forty-two years ago a dozen Citadel plebes, or knobs as they are called, waited at section marker 14 outside Capers Hall for U.S. History Survey 101. They single-filed up four flights of stairs and stood silently by their old-fashioned wooden desks until the officer in the crisp white naval uniform entered and quipped “Seats, gentlemen.” ¶To be referred to as “gentlemen” was a novel experience for those teenagers back in the fall of 1968. They were boys -- that is, until they entered the world of then Commander Coussons, lord of all in Capers Hall. In this Navy man’s realm even a classroom had a deck instead of a floor.
¶In this all-male college, ribald remarks about the past weekend were met by an equally humorous, but proper rejoinder by the professor and the day’s lesson was back on task.
¶Over the course of the first semester, the no-nonsense nautical man introduced “knobs” to a lot of things they’d never known. United States history was his passion and southern history was his forte. The age of Calhoun was as real to John as if he’d lived it. Yet, this southerner also gave a moving tribute to Martin Luther King, Jr.
¶Occasionally John paid tribute to his mentor at Louisiana State University, the late Civil War historian, T. Harry Williams. Williams was a character on the LSU campus. T. Harry Williams often appeared in class, or at meetings of the Civil War Roundtable, cloaked in the uniform of one of Sherman’s Union Army colonels. LSU began over a hundred and fifty years ago as a military academy and Colonel William Tecumseh Sherman was its first chancellor! ¶Not only did John Coussons redefine the word “thorough” in academic assignments, but he also cared about shirt-tucks, uniform brass, and shoe shines! Nothing sloppy existed in this man’s realm. ¶“A gentleman carries two handkerchiefs, one for himself and one for a lady. A gentleman has a pen and paper handy at all times.” Coussons’ maxims provided a protocol for the daily interactions of hundreds at The Citadel in the four decades that he taught there.
¶John admired the legends and lore of his adopted South Carolina, but he was a product of another ‘Old South” state, Louisiana. Never did his eyes dance so as when he leaned back and regaled his audience with tales of “the Kingfisher,” himself Huey Long. Students first learned of political demagoguery through hearing almost firsthand accounts of southern kingpin of kickbacks.
¶One of the books that John quoted from regularly was The essential Mind of The South by the South Carolina-born newspaperman, W.J. Cash. John referred to this source frequently.
¶Because of Coussons, there are historians across the state who know that a lesson can dance across a student’s imagination if presented with passion and insight. He was one of the reasons why The Citadel’s Evening College was a success from its inception in the mid-1970s. Teachers desiring a graduate degree drove from as far away as Beaufort, Georgetown, and Orangeburg to sit in his graduate classes. ¶None ever forgot his passion, his wit, his biases -- and there were many biases. None failed to profit from John Coussons’ high standard of scholarship and gentlemanly decorum. ¶This professor questioned sources, tore apart conclusions, and was merciless on careless construction. Yet, he instilled in every student that thoroughness was paramount. For a slovenly appearance or a half-hearted effort, John Coussons had no patience. “Young man, you should rethink your purpose at this institution,” he’d remark to some underperforming cadet.
¶Unlike the multitude of other professors who confined their duties to the academic side of The Citadel, Captain Coussons joined with the military side of the campus as he served as a Tactical Officer for one of the 18 companies that make up the Corps. No one would ever forget on the bleakest of winter nights seeing this naval officer in his bridge coat making rounds through the barracks.
¶Above and beyond the call of duty, John served as advisor to St. Alban’s Episcopal Chapel on campus as well to The Citadel’s renowned Honor Court. During the 1960s and ‘70s Coussons lived at 301 East Bay. He turned that antebellum mansion into a football dorm during the months of summer school. Eight to a dozen football players boarded there and were kept to a strict regimen of studies, workouts, and meals. John rang a ship’s bell and his well-groomed charges stood by their chairs until the Captain said the blessing followed by “Seats, Gentlemen.” There was always free time for the footballers to go out on the town, but drunken revelry was a no-no.
¶Few professors in the 1960s took interest in students’ spiritual lives, but Coussons invited numerous cadets to attend the Cathedral of St. Luke and St. John with him on Sundays. Afterward, he invited them and their dates to brunch at his residence. He was Godfather to a dozen children of his former students. This historian cherishes the 42-year association that he had with Captain John S. Coussons who now lies beneath an oak along the Warren Street wall of the old Cathedral he loved -- surrounded by Haskells, Willetts, Herriots, and Cordes.
Tom Horton
January 15, 2010
John Stanford Coussons ... the man that touched so many people over several generations with a realm of emotions. I met John Coussons, the young Naval officer, when I was a very young impressionable young lady visiting my little knob brother (who had been befriended by John) at The Citadel in 1967. Little did I know that October Parents’ weekend what a major impact this gentle giant of a man would have on my family over the years. He nurtured my brother through his home and St. Alban’s Chapel during his four years at El Cid. He was a tremendous support to my parents and became a long time friend. When it came time for our son Dave to consider college and Dave picked The Citadel, John hosted him (and his three crazy friends on a high school senior spring trip to Florida from Maine, oh dear! .. Jimmy Dengate’s Key Club!!!) for his pre-knob weekend. That weekend reconnected and cemented a long-time friendship. I am blessed that my own offspring also became part of the Captain’s beloved extended family.

John was a soldier, both secular and Christian. As loyal as he was to his civic affiliations, he will always be remembered as a soldier of God and he is now in his peaceful home with his Creator.

We Love You Captain John S. Coussons.
Lance and Kester (Whitney) Heaton
Kester Heaton
January 15, 2010
January 15, 2010

I first met John Coussons (affectionately known to his friends as “Cuz”) in the Spring of 1990, when I enrolled in the graduate history evening program at The Citadel, and John was assigned as my advisor. At the time, I was a full-time practicing attorney, with a love of history, and a dream to one day teach a course on the American Civil War at an English university (my law firm has a wonderful program which allows its lawyers to take sabbaticals from time to time). In pursuit of that dream, I decided I needed some graduate level history courses to bolster my resume. John could not have been more supportive, and encouraged me to pursue my dream, despite academic detractors who insisted an English university would have no interest having an American lawyer with minimal history credentials teach one of their courses!

The very first course I took at The Citadel, in 1990, was John’s course on “The War for Southern Independence”. Having already enjoyed the benefit of some of the best history teachers in the South during my years at my own beloved alma mater, Hampden-Sydney College, I was amazed by the depth and breadth of John’s knowledge of that period of our country’s history, and the passion with which he approached the subject matter. His ability to impart the excitement of those times to his students, even at the late hour of this evening class was truly remarkable, and I became at that time a fervent “Cuz admirer”.

John continued to advise and encourage me as I spent the next four years of evenings and weekends completing my degree course work, and he shared my excitement when I was offered a teaching position in 1995 teaching the Spring trimester at the University of Buckingham, on none other than the American Civil War!

I had occasion to see John several times after my return from my teaching experience in England, and enjoyed immensely sharing stories of that experience with him, and how the English “tutorial” system differed from our traditional system in the States. Thereafter, the press of my law practice and other commitments prevented me from maintaining that relationship at the level I would have liked, though I did see John occasionally thereafter at Citadel football games. He would always jokingly ask me when I was going to pursue a Ph.D. in history, and offered to advise me on a course of study, if I ever decided to bail out of the law practice and enter the “honorable but poor world of academics”.

Several years ago, John’s close friend, John Kerr, joined my law firm, and I’ve been privileged to enjoy his company and friendship, and to have him regale me with wonderful stories of “Cuz” from John’s Citadel days. I have had other close Citadel friends refer to Cuz with the same degree of fondness and respect. My good friend Tom Horton, a Citadel man who was greatly influenced by John and is himself now an outstanding history teacher and head of the history department at Porter Gaud, has written a wonderful testimonial to his former professor in the most recent edition of the Moultrie News. For all those who loved John, it is a MUST read.

Having not attended The Citadel as a cadet, I cannot comment on John’s qualities/performance as a TAC officer; but as a “Southern gentleman”, I have come across none better. To all family and all his many friends, I extend my heartfelt condolences on the loss of this remarkable Southern historian and gentleman.

Gordon D. Schreck,
Hampden-Sydney College ’65, UVA Law ‘69
January 13, 2010
I met Capt. Coussons during my freshman year at The Citadel (1971-1972) in one of his US History Classes. It began a nearly 40 year friendship which endured inspite of distance and the passage of time.

I was not able to travel to Charleston often since my 1975 graduation; but whenever I could, I made sure to visit him. The last time was for a 30th Class reunion and I had the great pleasure and honor to introduce my high school aged son to him for the first time.

Capt Coussons was a wonderful and unique man who was friend, teacher and advisor to several generations of The Citadel 'family.'

I join with his many friends and family members who mourn his passing.

Duncan C Delhey '75
Milwaukee Wi
January 13, 2010
John and I met at LSU the summer of 1958. We were invited to a party by a mutual friend.I returned to the Citadel for my junior year and he reported to assume duty in the history department.We became close friends.

We eventually made friends with four bachelor women living in The Pirates Court across from St Phillip's.We arrived for a party on a cold night myself in uniform and he in civilian but wearing his navy cape. Someone said " It's Batman", and another said ;" That's Robin with him!"
We became Batman & Robin forever.Later my roomate, Tom Fields, joined as "Beefeater." We spent many enjoyabe times at John's residences at the old Citadel and 1 East Battery.

He visited me in Germany circa Jan 1962 when his ship made port in Bremerhaven.Upon his return he was diagnosed with chicken pox- a gift from my 1 year old son. He was rewarded with at sea transfer by cable chair to the group aircraft carrier for two weeks in sick bay.

In 1965 Batman invited me to join his destroyer squadron on a training cruise to Jamiaca and Cuba which I did.I met ADM Wilcox the commander. I was a tactics instructor at Ft Benning, GA at the time.

Over the years we maintained contact and I visited him in Charleston when I returnind for reunions or to visit local classmates Charlie Klinger and Buck Limehouse.

A prized possession is a silver stirup cup jigger given as a wedding present with engraving on bottom "B.B." meaning Bat Brigade.Many a good martini has flowed from this "chalice."

My claim to fame is that I was the original protoge of the legendary "Batman." Hundreds would follow.

Sabin J Gianelloni III, Citadel '60
Home of Record Baton Rouge, LA
January 13, 2010
I was a history major at the Citadel, graduating in 1963.

(Then Lieutenant) Coussons seemed to take an interest in my classes, even inviting me to his apartment where I experienced my "first" introduction to what I thought was a very small cup (demitasse) of coffee. It was also in his class where I "first" heard from Lt. Coussons that President Franklin D. Roosevelt possibly had advance knowledge of the Japanese surprise attack on American Naval forces harbored in Pearl Harbor. I tried so hard to follow-up with him and General Clark as to whether this was, in fact, true.
Later, when awarded a scholarship from the Citadel to Tulane Law School, Lt. Coussons couldn't have been more supportive.

I am presently writing a book related to Pearl Harbor and the internment of Japanese Americans after Pearl Harbor, much inspired by the teachings of Captain Coussons.
Joel Feldman
January 12, 2010
Over two decades ago I was talking with the Captain in his office when a lady entered. As a good cadet, I rose from my chair and extended my hand to introduce myself. The Captain quickly and without hesitation popped my hand and informed me sternly that it is very improper for a gentleman to extend his hand to a lady unless and until she extends hers first. We practiced the drill again; she extended her hand, then I reciprocated. To this very day, everytime I'm introduced to a lady, I remember Captain Coussons and keep my hand by my side. Those aren't lessons learned in a classroom or by professors who are simply on the payroll. He was truly a teacher, and I hate that I never kept in touch with him. "The Lord bless you and keep you ..."
Richard Hinson '87
January 12, 2010

My father and John's father were brothers. As a cousin from "the city"(Tulsa, Oklahoma) my contact with John growing up was limited to our periodic trips to Dubberly to visit family in the summer and briefly at Christmas. John's mother and my maternal grandmother were close and I heard frequent "good reports" from her about John. My father had immense respect for John and his career at LSU and the Citadel. I rapidly came to share his view. I always appreciated John's intellect and understanding of the value of history. I have fond memories of spirited discussions on topics of interest where I usually lost the point or was eventually overpowered.

I am in awe of the comradery, accomplishments and dedication of the Citadel family who meant so much to John. "The Captain" will be missed. His character, commitment and loyalty were a fine example for everyone.
Tim Coussons
January 10, 2010
John’s mother and my mother were sisters. Each had two sons during a four year period in the midst of the great depression; John was the oldest and I was the youngest. The four
boys were close and had many, many good times growing up together in rural North Louisiana. The hard working and honest Scot Irish culture built character and integrity that lasts a lifetime. I have many fond memories of this time, and so did John.

After college and a term in the Navy, John came to graduate school at L. S. U. I was a student there and, although he was in history and I was in engineering, we spent time
together and even shared an apartment during two summer schools. John, as always, was pleasant, interesting and entertaining.

As John prepared to leave L. S. U., he was resigned to accept a teaching offer at Texas Tech - and what a loss this would have been. John would not have been happy among the cowboys and plains of west Texas. But Fortune smiled and John received a last minute
offer from The Citadel. Historic Charleston and The Citadel were a perfect fit. John,Charleston and The Citadel benefited immensely.

Although our careers and locations diverged, we never lost touch. Marilyn and I visited with John at Talon Court, Thomas Street, East Bay and Citadel apartments (we missed the Battery apartment). John was always a gracious host and a wonderful tour guide. I especially remember the Sunday John prepared dinner in the pressure cooker for us and a group of cadets. We also saw John during his frequent visits to Louisiana. The
“gatherings” at Beth’s in recent years were memorable. I saw John last at a November 2008 “gathering”, and although he was clearly in declining health with poor short term
memory, it was an enjoyable visit with much talk about North Louisiana of fifty years ago.

Over the years, I knew that John was happy and successful, but I did not realize the level of admiration and respect that he commanded with Citadel cadets and Charleston associates until “John Coussons Day”. The turnout and compliments bestowed that day were impressive, as have been the comments in this guest book. Captain Coussons led an exceptional life and influenced for the better many people.

Cud’n Wayne
Wayne Davis
January 9, 2010
In 1957-58, my freshman year at The Citadel, a cadet Section Marcher called the class to attention when the professor entered the classroom, whereupon the SM reported all present or those absent. That practice ended soon after 1958, as I recall. John Cousson's class in Disunion and the War for Southern Independence (should be War Against Southern Independence, the only mistake he ever made) was the only colleague's class I audited during my 40 years' teaching at The Citadel. He had a section marcher in the class call cadets to attention and he reported to Captain Coussons, USNR, all present or those absent. This was about 1998, when such a practice was not even a memory on campus but to a handful. He was a gentleman, a real gentleman of strong opinions, strong convictions, devoted to the Queen of England and her Consort, the Anglican/Episcopal Church, the U.S. Navy, and to The Citadel the way it was and should be. He was my friend. James Rembert
James Rembert
January 8, 2010
To all of you who have expressed your overwhelming kind thoughts and those who are now just learning of the sad but thankfully not the final presence of our dear brother John. Although, he is no longer with us physically his spirit and life's lessons will remain with us here and one day we will join him in a great reunion.

The last 23 months left much to be desired and the endurance would have been impossible without the love and endless attention of John Kerr and Kester Heaton. On each one of my visits John always said he did not know what he would do without John and Kester. Bishop Gadsden offered many creature comforts but Anne Spees and Josephine Huggins, (John's CNA) exemplified true understanding and compassion for both physical and emotional solace.

Am sure most of you have heard stories of our younger years in the "little village of Dubberly" and the many happy days we spent as three siblings, several cousins and most importantly the older generations who were the core of our ideals. Brother Bill once said in jest that John was not much of a field hand. We all know that what he lacked in outdoor skills he surpassed in character and passion for the best in all his undertakings. During our visits the last months he told me that his life had been rich and rewarding and most of all he never regretted his investments in the lives of his cadets.

In November of '08 John came back to Louisiana for one last visit. We had a small but happy gathering with four of our cousins and my family. He told our three grandsons that he could use them in Charleston as acolytes. Even with the reality awareness weakening he never lost his devotion to church and instilling Christian ideals in future generations. As we were leaving Monroe to go back to Dubberly for a tour of childhood memories he said, "You don't know how long I have looked forward to this trip." Driving west toward Dubberly he quoted this verse, (perhaps my memory has skewed the wording a bit but not the meaning), "Some weep in empty rooms, Some mourn above empty tombs, I remember when the Lilacs bloom."

And in remembering John's love and spirit we find comfort and peace. It is impossible for the family to express our gratitude for your many words of encouragement and affection. Know that we treasure each of your tributes.

Beth Coussons Wooldridge and Family
January 8, 2010
I met John in March, 1953, as we caught a flight to St. Thomas so that he could join and I could return to the USS John Hood (DD 655). Three months later we headed for the War in Korea where we served through the end of the year. John was my successor as Communications Officer and I will always remember the many mid-watches we stood together. John took to the military yet kept his very individual approach to the world. His men always respected and followed him. I salute my shipmate! Ronald D. Jones
January 7, 2010
John Coussons and I served on the vestry at St. Albans at the Citadel for a number of years. While we did not always agree on matters, I can trustfully say he was a man of conviction and manners. He will be greatly missed.
COL. Dennis Forsythe
Professor Emeritus of Biology
The Citadel
Dennis Forsythe
January 7, 2010
From the moment I met him in the fall of '96, my freshman year, I was very curious of him due to his presence. I was even more intrigued by the constant gathering of individuals around him. Through sheer luck and the goodness of his heart I was one of the lucky that developed a great relationship with him. He was a dear friend, mentor, advisor, and always the classiest gentleman in the room.

The cadets that knew the Captain knew you were "in" when the Captain presented you with a key to his house. During my time at school, he resided on campus and I probably spent more time there away from studying than I should have. One could not find a greater escape than to be in the Captain's place with a man so admired and respected.

I was further honored and blessed to have received my US Navy Officer Sword from the Captain. The moment he handed it to me I was choked up because I knew what an intense honor it was to have received it from such a man. The Captain continued to humble me by providing me his Navy Dress Coat and scarf. Of course the Captain felt obligated explain to me that when he first received this coat that he was in much better shape than he was at the time.

He gave so much to so many and and never seemed to expect anything in return other than a visit or a call.

I will miss many things but I will not miss the infamous two hands on the shoulders shake that he seemed extremely fond to give. I tended to receive so many more than most of my classmates and friends, rightfully so I am sure.

Honored and blessed are those that knew him and what he did for so many.

God Bless Captain John Coussons

Very Respectfully
Josh Wellner
Class of 2000
Josh Wellner
January 6, 2010
Cuz with Helen, Ben and me
My parents named me for Cuz. Over the last 24 years, I came to understand why. He was a wonderful mentor and, despite our half century plus in age difference, a friend. No one could fill a room like Cuz. He will be missed.

Attached is a favorite photo of me sitting in his lap with brother Ben, and sister Helen, Cuz's Goddaughter.
John Stanford Jennings Kerr
January 6, 2010
My friend, Gary Young (Citadel '66), introduced me to John my last year at The Citadel. It was a four day cruise on a navy destroyer that John had arranged for a group of cadets. Up to that time, and as a Pennsylvania Yankee, I thought the concept of a "southern gentleman" was a fictional creation of books and movies. On that occasion I learned that such a creature truly existed in the person of a fine naval officer and professor.
Over the years when I visited Charleston John would let me audit his class. That is when realized what I had missed by reason of not having been one of his student cadets. My son, David (Citadel '98), made up for my loss and had the benefit of his inspirational teaching.
I feel privileged to have lived in the time of John Coussons.
Don Bolas, Citadel '64
Palm Desert, California
Don Bolas
January 5, 2010
I've never met a more giving mentor than Captain Coussons. He was living on campus during my years at The Citadel and all of us that became part of his "family" had keys to his place with standing invitations to stop by any time to eat, watch a movie, have a drink, or just talk. My experience at school (and in life) would have been profoundly less rich without Capt Coussons.

God Bless,

Maj Erik Rudiger
Echo '00
Erik Rudiger
January 5, 2010
I had the great privilege to get to know CAPT. John Coussons during my senior year at The Citadel. CAPT Coussons was our faculty advisor for the Honor Court. Even within the Citadel environment, where honor is paramount, CAPT Coussons was the ultimate example of honor in practice. He was very influential in guiding and shaping Cadets into gentlemen and leaders. He led by example. He was a tremendous role model. My deepest sympathy goes out to the Coussons' family at this most difficult time.

Robert Charland
Class of 1989
Robert Charland
January 5, 2010
I have no doubts as to the peace Capt. John Coussons now holds having joined our Father in heaven. Captain opened up his home to so many and invited everyone to the Cathedral Church of St. Luke and St. Paul.

He himself was a shepherd of so many cadets over the years. I recall our first meeting – a little ways outside the gates of the Citadel on my first Friday night leave freshman year. I was walking at a fast pace in pursuit of a group of classmates well ahead of me when a uniformed Naval Officer in a burgundy Dastun/Nissan wagon pulls beside me. “Son, what do you think you are doing? This is not an area where you should be by yourself. Where can I take you?” Captain gave me a ride downtown and extended an invite to attend the Cathedral that following Sunday along with the other cadets he would be carpooling from Bond Hall. This was the beginning of a friendship that would provide a home for me at 301 East Bay Street in Charleston for the next four years.

On December 27, just five days prior to Captain’s passing, I shared this story with the son of a friend of mine who is a Citadel Freshman this year. At that time, with no knowledge of the Captains’ current state, I recall thinking “it’s been way to long since I have touched based and visited with Capt. Coussons – I need to get to Charleston and introduce my children to a man who had a profound impact on my life.”

The Captain has left me with one last lesson in a very poignant manner – don’t put off until next year what should have been done the year before. The Captain left us and joined our Father on New Year’s Eve – the night in which the traditional song, Old Long Syne, is sung. Its first verse - “Should Old Acquaintance be forgot, and never thought upon” now rings in my head. To this I reply “Capt. Coussons, I will never forget you and thank you for doing God’s work as a shepherd.”

With respect and admiration,
E. Mims Mobley, III
Citadel Class of 1987
Mims Mobley
January 5, 2010
My sincerest condolences go to the family. During my years at the Citadel, Captain Coussons was alternately my mentor, verger, landlord, bailbondsman, and friend. I trust if paradise has a 301 East Bay, we will find him holding court on the veranda ready to serve us a meal and tell us a tale. I only regret that I had not the good sense to study history and have him as a teacher. The lives of those who knew him revolved around him.

WJ Wilson '87
New Orleans
William Wilson
January 5, 2010
Dear Beth and Bill,
You may not remember me.
I am R.B. Allen, Jr., and we lived across the dirt road from you, in the Gulf Oil Company houses in Dubberly.
I am 6 years older than John so when I graduated from Dubberly High School in 1942 he was only 11 years old.
In 1943, During World War II, I joined the Navy and was discharged in 1947.
I married Lina Lea Lusk in 1950 and our family became Episcopalians in 1971. I had a late vocation to the priesthood and was ordained an Episcopal priest in 1979. Now retired and almost 85 years old we live in Fort Worth, Texas. Lina and I had a great visit with John back in the 1970s
when his mother and my mother were "suite mates" in a house across the street from the First Baptist Church of Minden.
+May John rest in peace and may light perpetual shine upon him.+
God Bless + you and Bill and your families, and may His Grace sustain you both now and forever.
(The Rev.) Radford B. Allen, Jr.
January 4, 2010
I can honestly say there are few people who have had more of an impact on my life. Because of CAPT Coussons I met my wife of 22 years, became an Episcopalian, and learned to be an officer and a gentleman. A great loss to The Citadel and Charleston.
Kemp Chester '87
January 4, 2010
I have such fond memories of Capt Coussons as I was his Secretary in the History Department for 4 or more years. He was such a gentlemen and I was so saddened to hear of his passing. May your hearts soon be filled with wonderful memories of joyful times together as you celebrate a life well lived.
Martha Johnson
January 4, 2010
Cmdr Coussons was a good man and when we were freshman he provided humor in his History classes while teaching . I had several classes under him and will always remember him fondly . Joe Goodman "65"
Joe Goodman
January 4, 2010
Commander Coussons was a fantastic person. I remember his cheerful disposition from my cadet days. He also liked to tell this ghost story from the Old Citadel on Marion Square. You will be missed sir! We will see you on the other side!
God Bless!
Dwight Larkins, Sr., '87
Golf Company
Dwight Larkins
January 4, 2010
1963...Cmdr Coussons read my Sr. Essay about The South and commented, "Lord, please do not bury me where the ground freezes over".
Tex Curtis
January 4, 2010
My first History course at The Citadel in 1961 was taught by (Then Lt) John Coussons, who was with us for only part of the semester as he was called to active service. When he came back he was the Advisor to St. Albans Chapel, while I was on the Vestry, and he became a friend, one whom I have treasured ever since. In these last years his seats in Johnson Haygood were just above mine, so I would get to see him at the games. He was a true Citadel legend, and will be remembered by generations of Cadets and Alumni, for all time. He is and will be sorely missed, by all of us. He was one of the very few men that were able to be both a Professor and a TAC Officer, and do a wonderful job at both jobs. As others have said, he will be also remembered for his wearing of his “Boat Cloak” Godspeed and good sailing Captain. John Coussons.
Charlie Burnside ’65 “C”
Charles Burnside
January 4, 2010
Dear Beth and Bill,
You may not remember me, R.B. Allen, Jr.
I remember you two and John from the days of "our youth." I am 6 years older than John.
We lived in the Gulf Oil Company row across the red clay road from you folks.I remember attending Fellowship Baptist Church when it was located south of Dubberly next to the cemetery.
I was in the Navy when the new church was built on the land that I believe your father donated to the church.
After I graduated from high school in 1942 and spent one year at Louisiana Tech I joined the Navy and stayed 4 years. Discharged in 1947 as a Pharmacist's Mate 2nd class. I reentered Tech and graduated in 1951.
My mother and your mother (was her name Willie?) were "suite mates" across the street from First Baptist Church, Minden, after they were both widowed.
My wife, Lina,(Lina Lea Lusk) and I had a nice visit with John on one our our Minden visits. Lina's family also lived in the Gulf row.
I will be 85 years old on March 15 and am a retired Episcopal priest.
After Tech I worked in a Texas hospital laboratory as a medical technologist and then sold pharmaceuticals for almost 30 years.
We became Episcopalians in 1971 and I had a "late call" to the priesthood.
I knew that John had served in our Navy and was a prominent professor at The Citadel.
May he rest in peace and may light perpetual shine upon him.
God Bless + all of you.
(The Rev.) Radford B. (R.B.) Allen, Jr.
Fort Worth, Texas
January 4, 2010
It was my good fortune to have been in a number of then Commander Coussons' history courses during the mid sixties. He not only made history come alive, but he gave it meaning that has stayed with me. Commander Coussons also loved The Citadel in all of its aspects and often served as the Officer in Charge. He will be greatly missed.
Clarkson McDow
January 4, 2010
January 4 2010
I remember when we were cadets and Stokes VanPelt and Danny Boyd stayed with him one summer.I would visit them and he would come home and feel the top of the TV to see if they were watching TV or studying.A great man!
Buck McMillan '73
January 4, 2010
Capt. Coussons, or "The Commander" as I knew him, was a friend and mentor, not only for me, but for my brothers Bob and Dan, and later for my son, Brad. His mission in life was to positively influence those with whom he came in contact, especially the young Citadel Cadets and those in the military. "Cuz" was a great teacher, a devoted Episcopalian, and a good friend. He helped shape my life and I am forever in his debt.
Harry Boyd '66
January 4, 2010
My condolences to Captain Coussons family during this time. I have known Captain Cousson my entire life. Throughout my childhood he was the Verger at the Cathedral where I served under him as one of his acolytes and with the Order of Saint Vincent. When I attend The Citadel, he was my academic advisor until he retired. He was always a mentor to me, and a great man. I will always remember him with fondness, and may he rest in Eternal Peace. God Bless.
CPT Christian Adams, USAR, Citadel '99
January 4, 2010
A true Citadel legend is gone ,but will never be forgotten.Captain Coussons was a resplendent and imposing man whose humor and zest for life were wonderfully contagious to all who knew and loved him.
Our prayers are with his family.
He was truly a great,magnificent Southern gentleman ,and he will be sorely missed.
Bill and Linda Myrick
January 4, 2010
I had the pleasure of meeting CAPT Coussons in 1980 as I worked in the History Department at the Citadel in my after school job typing exams. CAPT Coussons taught me so much in our conversations about life and what my plans were after graduating High School. He was proud to be a part of the Citadel family as he attempted to persuade me that the Citadel was the place for me to attend. Although I had other plans, but I ended up as a career military man nonetheless. He touched a lot of lives and especially the life of this high school kid just by showing that he cared and was concern for my future. He and Ms. Hiott invested much in me. My thoughts and prayers are with all the family during these days and beyond. COL Michael A. Brown, Medical Service Corps, US Army
Michael A. Brown
January 4, 2010
John Coussons was a Charleston and Citadel institution. He was friend and mentor to 42 years woth of Citadel men. I consider him not only a fantastic and exciting professor but a close friend. He was a generous man who helped shape me and make me the man I am today. MAJ Jim Harbridge (West Point, NY)
January 3, 2010
Captain Coussons was a fine gentleman and excellent professor. I recall from one of his courses about the Civil War, as he described the thrill of the ladies of New Orleans, LA as Union Troops under the Command of General Butler marched through the town in 1862.

He stated, "The ladies showered flowers upon the invading Union troops heads. However, the pots attached at the end of the flowers were not well recieved!"

His courses were well researched and interesting. He was a fine person, great professor and credit to the community!
Perry Bennett
January 3, 2010
We had the pleasure of meeting Captain Coussons several times during during the 80's when our two sons were cadets at the Citadel, he loved the Citadel and was always a positive influence for the cadets. Truly a great man. Our thoughts and prayers are with all the family during these days
Ernest & Ann Webster
January 3, 2010
I took several history classes with him during my time at The Citadel. An absolute professional and excellent instructor. My condolences to his family; may he rest in peace...COL Jonathan Cohen '86
Jonathan Cohen
January 3, 2010
Beth, you have been in our thoughts and prayers these last difficult days. I have read so many wonderful tributes to John. You must be somewhat rewarded by such esteem. My few times of being around him here in Louisiana were more than just pleasant so I can imagine what he must have meant to those with whom he worked as well as those many whom he mentored. Our love, Margaret
January 3, 2010
I'm truly saddened by this news. I haven't seen Captain Coussons since I graduated from The Citadel in 1986. Since I was a history major and involved in St. Alban's (Episcopal) Chapel, I got to know him quite well. He was a great mentor for anyone interested in history, and a true officer and gentleman. I have fond memories of how he used to "Shanghai" me into being an acolyte at the cathedral in Charleston on many Sundays, and how he would always make it up to myself and the other cadets with a great brunch after church. This is a great loss to all who knew him and he will be truly missed!
Rob Squires
January 3, 2010
John Coussons meant so much to so many that's for sure. But I will always remember what a fine southern gentleman he was--always a smile and a wonderful greeting with great mirth I might add! He will be missed by our entire family--God Bless His Soul. Winna Kerr Ellis
Winna Ellis
January 3, 2010
What an honor and privilege to have known such a man as John Coussins. He was the consumate southern gentleman in every way, always a smile and a lovely greeting, with great mirth I might add! Our entire Kerr family will miss him and have such wonderful memories of him. Winna Kerr Ellis
Winna Ellis
January 3, 2010
Capt. Coussons made a deep, profound impression upon me as a high school senior contemplating upon entering The Citadel. He gave me a tour of my future alma mater in 1980, kindly informed me of the challenges I face as a black cadet, yet made me feel at ease. I attended The Citadel taking one of his History classes whilst a knob in 1981. I even attended church with Capt. Coussons a couple of times as a cadet.

My sympathies, respects and hopes of comfort go out to his family. Do know Capt. Coussons' selfless acts toward me rest in my heart, and serve as an example of how a true gentleman should live.
Charles "Chuck" Maxwell, 1985
January 3, 2010
Captain Coussons gave selflessly of his time and talents to the Cathedral Church and Acolytes for many decades.

Captain Coussons mentored many young men and women.

With sincere respect, gratitude and
thanks to the Lord for a life well lived we offer our prayers.

Edward and Karen Jennings
January 3, 2010
Each time I see my text, A History of the South, I always remember Commander Coussons, who daily enthralled me with his unfathomable knowledge of the subject matter during a summer semester course at the C of C. I can only hope that his inspiration was infused to others who will impart the importance of history to students.
Dan Coleman
January 3, 2010
May the Grace of God watch over this unique and accomplished man. It was my privilege to know him during my tenure at the Citadel. With his "boat cloak" and special heart for adventure; I will always remember him.
Dr. Curt Olney
January 3, 2010
The Final Salute

“Brothers in Arms”, Military men and women down through the centuries, have traditionally exchanged “Hand Salutes” as a sign of recognition and as a way to render courtesy and respect one to another.

This “Hand Salute” is the last that we shall render to John Stanford Coussons our “Brother-in-Arms”. To his family it symbolizes the love and respect that we have for John. And to John it is rendered as a symbol of honor and gratitude to thank him for the devoted and selfless service he rendered to his country during the Korean War while serving in the U.S. Navy. John, we bid you a sad farewell. You will be dearly missed from among our ranks. Be at Ease. Rest in Peace.

On behalf of the 1,341 members of Lowe-McFarlane Post 14 of the American Legion, I extend our sympathies and our condolences to John’s family and loved ones.

Dennis Engdahl, Commander, American Legion Post 14
5315 S. Lakeshore Drive, Shreveport, LA 71109
For the Commander, Carroll R. Michaud
January 3, 2010
The day after M. L. King was shot in April 1968 CMDR Coussons gave us (his American Diplomacy class) a much needed lecture on why this despicable act was a tragedy for our country. If you put yourself back in 1968 in the south you will find our country's leaders stepping up to the plate... CMDR Coussons hit a Home Run that day in my book.
Terry Babylon
January 3, 2010
Cuz was unique in all respects, as a friend, as a professor, as a mentor. His love for The Citadel was matched only by the love who came to know him for him.
He will be missed, big time, but is in a better Place.
Tommy Harper, '68
January 3, 2010
CPT Coussons was an eloquent inspiration for formative young men looking forward to life.

I was fortunate that he rescued me from the PoliSci department in 1980, and took me on as a Faculty Advisor in my History endeavors. CPT Coussons engrained the ideals of 'integrity of effort' to me as I grew as a cadet. His forthright authenticity was appreciated at levels that a young man of 19 could never adequately express. He never shied away from ‘telling like it was’ and following up with the challenge to improve.

Of the handful of men that have shaped me, CPT John Coussons stood at the top. I am grateful for having felt his influence.

Sir, I know the good Lord has welcomed you and you rest in His great glory.
Michael Simms '84
January 3, 2010
A fine man, and a friend and mentor to many generations of Citadel Cadets. Mary Jane and I mourn his passing and will miss his advice and wisdom.
Gene Cole, Citadel '75
January 3, 2010
During summer school, I was one of the Cadets the "CMDR" allowed into his house on Talon Court and my brother 10 years later on E Bay. Over the years, He was always a hoot and a great role model. I am a better person for having spent time with him. Saying goodbye to a man like John Coussons is such a sad part of life.
Stokes A. Van Pelt
Class of '73
Abu Dhabi, UAE
January 2, 2010
Beth, Becky and I are thinking of you and Midge at this time of the loss of your fine brother. He was a distinguished citizen of the South and your devotion to him is remarkable. I am glad to have knowm him. Love, Ronny and Becky
January 2, 2010
I did not have the privilege of having CAPT (or as when I knew him, CMDR) Coussons as a history professor, but knew him well as a TacOfficer, albeit sometimes to my detriment. I will always remember him touring the barracks on cold nights in his boat cloak!! He was tough, but eminently fair and The Citadel Family is the poorer for his passing. My thoughts are with his Family in this hard time, but please know many, many of us remember him with great respect & affection.
John Munn
Class of 1967
LtCol USMC (Ret)
John Munn '67
January 2, 2010
I am so sorry to learn of John's death--I have many warm memories of him when I was growing up; he was a younger colleague of my father (Ned Phillips) and he, and Jeff Willis, and others, spent much time at our house, always very welcome. He was a rock of support to my mother at my father's death in 1973 and to us at my mother's thirty years later. We had many political arguments but always with fun and deep affection. It has been many years since I saw him more than occasionally, but the memories will last.
Margaret Phillips
January 2, 2010
Captain John Coussons had a tremendous positive influence on thousands of Citadel cadets. As a history major, I was blest and enriched to have had him for several classes. I mourn his passing but rejoice in the life he lived and shared.
COL (Ret.) Russ Olson, Class of 1969
January 2, 2010
Amanda and I are deeply sorry to hear of John's passing. No one symbolized The Citadel better than he. He has left an indelible mark on that institution and all who knew him there, both students and faculty.
Larry Addington
January 2, 2010
I have known John Coussons for the better part of my life, first as a family friends who joined us virtually every Sunday after lunch while my father was Episcopal Chaplain at the Citadel, then as a mentor.

I have excellent memories of being spellbound by this stories, his knowledge of history, and his ability to express his thoughts in words that painted vivid pictures.

As a percocious teenager I spent a formative year living at his home while attending Charleston High School. He taught me a great deal about being a person of honor and to appreciate my heritage as a Southern gentleman. Several years later I spent two years living in his home during my time at the College of Charleston. That was equally as educational.

The constant stream of Citadel cadets through his home was a tribute to the impact Captain Coussons had on those whom he taught.

In the final analysis John's life, ministry, witness, and dedication to Christian principles will be his greatest gift to this world. All of us who were fortunate enough to call him a mentor, teacher, and friend are better men because of his impact on our lives.

May his soul and the soul of all the faithful departed rest in peace, and rise in glory!
Charles Cannon, III
January 2, 2010
As a cadet, I first knew Commander Coussons when he was a tactical advisor in 1966. Later just prior to graduation he helped me make a decision about military service, and I joined the Naval Reserve. I often thought of Captain Coussons during my time in the Navy, and since then. He was a fine Naval Officer and role model. He will be missed.

Jim McCaughrin LT USNRR
Cass of 1967
Bryan, TX
January 2, 2010
To the Family of Capt. Coussons: I was a member of the band from 66-69 and was never crossways with Commander Coussons in those days. I do remember how well he worked with Capt Mays. They were a team that helped the Band Company. He was close friends with G. Parks and John England and Sam Young. I was one of those in the background. My goal was to cooperate and graduate. I am thankful for his service to The Citadel and its staff and graduates. It is the legacy of men like him that set the example for many grads and from what I remember--He helped many in need.

Well done good and faithful servant.

Ray Mixon, Bd Company- Class of 69.
Cayce, SC.
January 2, 2010
John was as much a father to me as my own- an esteemed professor, Sailing Team Coach, mentor, friend, and god-father to my eldest. We all mourn the passing of and will miss more than words can covey "the Last Southern Gentleman". God Bless, Sir.

CDR W. Keith Midgette, USN, '76
Matthew B. Midgette, '07
Christopher T. Midgette, '10
Beth and Lori
Keith Midgette
January 2, 2010
John Coussons was the best teacher I had in my life. His personality and teaching method gave true light to history. I shall remember him fondly as long as I shall live. Joseph M. McDermott, The Citadel Class of 1969.
Joseph McDermott
January 2, 2010
I will alwaay emember Cpt. Coussons as a mentor,and a friend. He was a tremendous influence on me at The Citadel and I am A better man for having known him. My thoughts are with his family. Joel B. Kipphut, Class of 1969
Joel Kipphut
January 2, 2010
John Coussons was a man who impacted generations of graduates from “The Citadel, Military College of South Carolina.” Although I had limited contact with him, I judge men by what those around him think of him. Capt. Coussons was revered by all who knew him. He is a legend that will live as long as there are men and women alive who knew him. Erudition was his hallmark and education his life. The Captain is with God and the other Citadel Legends.
Rich Riel
January 2, 2010
"He was a foe without hate, a friend without treachery, a soldier without cruelty, and a victim without murmurimg. He was a public officer without vices, a private citizen without wrong, a neighbor without reproach, a Christian without hypocrisy, and a man without guilt. He was Caesar without his ambition, Frederick without his tyranny, Napoleon without his selfishness, and Washington without his reward." Godspeed Captain Coussons.
January 2, 2010
Captain John Coussons was an officer, gentleman, mentor and good friend to generations of cadets. His passing leaves many of us with a void in our hearts. RIP, John and know that you will be missed.

LTC(R)Al Jacobs
Class of 1969
Homerville, GA
January 2, 2010
Beth, our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. I [Charlie] have very fond memories of my visits with John during my trips to The Citadel in the 1980's.
Jean & Charlie Moore
January 2, 2010
I was in The Citadel class of 1968 and knew Commander John Coussons very well as did my wife during the years following graduation. We enjoyed time together, often at Reverend Charles Cannon's residence during school years. To his family we offer our condolences.
Buford R. (Randy) Witt
January 2, 2010
May your hearts be filled with wonderful memories of John and his remarkable life...
Martha Belton
January 2, 2010
I am saddened by the news of Cuz's death. I spent 2 summers at "Cuz's Boarding School" in 71 and 72.He left me a lifetime of knowledge and opened my eyes to History and Charleston architecture. I will never forget his sincere kindness to those less fortunate and his unwavering duty to his church, his family, and The Citadel. Class of '73
Dan Boyd
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