Charles Blanton Cousar ’55

Dr. Charles Blanton Cousar of Decatur, GA, age 81, died Dec. 10, 2014. Born in Charlottesville, VA, to the Reverend Doctor Robert Wilbur Cousar, and Nellie Irving Blanton Cousar, he grew up in Chattanooga, TN, where his father was minister of Central Presbyterian Church.

Dr. Cousar graduated from The McCallie School in 1951, and was awarded the Alumni Achievement Award in 1996. He graduated from Davidson College in 1955, where he was president of his senior class and of Phi Delta Theta fraternity, a member of Omicron Delta Kappa leadership fraternity, and elected to Who’s Who in American Colleges and Universities. A guard for the Wildcats football team, he was the fourth generation in his family to attend Davidson. September 10, 1955, he married his college sweetheart, Elizabeth (Betty) Bowen of Tallahassee, FL.

He graduated with honors in 1958 from Columbia Theological Seminary, Decatur, GA., where he was president of the student body. He served as youth minister at Decatur Presbyterian Church 1957-58, and was ordained a minister in the Presbyterian Church, U.S. in 1958. After receiving a Ph.D. in New Testament studies from the University of Aberdeen, Scotland, he returned to Columbia Seminary as assistant professor. He was elected Samuel A. Cartledge Professor of New Testament Language, Literature, and Exegesis in 1966. At Columbia, he was dean of academic affairs for seven years , acting dean twice, and acting president twice .

He retired in 2003, having taught for forty-three years. In 2006, he received Columbia’s Alumni/ae Association’s Distinguished Service Award. Dr. Cousar was visiting professor of Bible at Agnes Scott College six years, visiting professor at Union Theological Seminary, Richmond, VA., a member of the City Schools of Decatur Board of Education 1970-78, chaplain at Camp Carolina, Brevard, NC, for eight summers, a member of The McCallie School Board of Visitors, and Trinity Presbytery (PCUSA). He did sabbatical study at the University of Tuebingen, Germany, Cambridge University, and the Graduate Theological Union, Berkeley, CA.

He authored several books, including “Galatians,” a commentary in the Interpretation series; “A Theology of the Cross,” “Reading Galatians, Philippians, and 1 Thessalonians,” “The Letters of Paul,” “An Introduction to the New Testament: Witnesses to God’s New Work,” “Philippians and Philemon” in the New Testament Library. He co-authored “Texts for Preaching,” a Lectionary Commentary based on the NRSV, years A, B, and C.

In addition to his wife of 59 years, survivors include their three sons and wives, William Bowen (Bill) and Tressa Lee Cousar, Gainesville, GA; Robert Davison (Dave) and Amy Dean Cousar, Atlanta; John Blanton Cousar, his fiancée Joni Voyles and her daughter Jiorgi Garlyn, Hollywood, FL; grandchildren Robert Davison, Jr., Rachel Helen, Elizabeth Kay, and William Charles Cousar; brothers Robert Wilbur Cousar, Jr. (Sue Ann) North Captiva Island, FL.; John Burton Cousar, St. Simon’s Island. He was predeceased by his infant son, Charles Blanton Cousar, Jr., and his parents.

There will be a memorial service at Decatur Presbyterian Church, 205 Sycamore St., Decatur, Monday, December 15 at 1:00pm., followed by a reception in Slack fellowship hall. Dr. Todd Speed and Dr. Erskine Clarke will officiate.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorial gifts be sent to the Charles B. Cousar Scholarship Fund, Columbia Theological Seminary, P. O. Box 520, Decatur, GA 30031



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