James “Jim” Pinckney Whitson ’66

James Pinckney Whitson, 78, of Talladega, AL passed away on November 24, 2023, of heart failure. James, known as “Jim”, was a beloved husband, father, and grandfather.

Jim received his AB in Economics at Davidson College in 1966 while registered in the Reserved Officer Training Program. After graduation, Jim served as a Captain in the United States Army’s 3 D Infantry Division, stationed in Würzburg, Germany from 1966 to 1969. While in Germany, Jim met and married. his beloved wife, Josiane, of 51 years. Jim and Josi then returned to the US where Jim attended Harvard University Graduate School of Business Administration earning an MBA with Distinction. Upon Jim’s graduation from Harvard, they relocated to Charlotte, NC where Jim was employed by Arthur Andersen & Co and where he and Josi started their family. After eight years with Arthur Anderson, Jim moved on to join ITT Europe, Inc. in Brussels, Belgium as Director, Tax Operations. While in Brussels, Jim and the family found great joy in reconnecting with Josi’s family, traveling all over Europe and beyond, enjoying many fine meals, and being heavily involved in scouting and youth soccer. In 1985, Jim completed his assignment in Brussels and was transferred to ITT World Headquarters in New York City, where he rose to Vice President and Director of Taxes. In 1998, Jim accepted the position of Chief Tax Officer of Delphi Automotive Systems in Troy, MI and relocated to Oakland, MI where he and Josi. lived until they moved to Talladega in 2016.

Jim loved entertaining, cooking and eating fine food, enjoying great wines, and traveling far and wide. He especially loved spending time with his friends and family over a home cooked meal. Jim had a fierce intellect and a voracious appetite for learning on any subject and was a wealth of knowledge on a wide range of topics. Throughout his life, Jim loved to lend his time, talents, and knowledge to countless causes, individuals, and organizations. Even after a serious illness in 2021, Jim stayed engaged as head of Talladega’s Industrial Board and Treasurer of the Talladega Main Street non-profit organization.

He is preceded in death by his parents J. Pinckney Whitson and Sarah Totherow Whitson, stepfather J. Carson (Kit) Whitson, and his beloved wife Josiane Vanlerberghe Whitson. He is survived by his son John (Katy) Whitson of Birmingham, AL and his grandchildren Garrett Whitson and Sophie Whitson. A visitation will be held at the Whitson residence in Talladega on Friday, December 1, 2023, from 10:00 to 11:30. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in Jim’s memory to Talladega First, Inc. – Friends of the Ritz in support of the Historic Ritz Theatre, an organization which he and Josi had supported wholeheartedly.

Marcus B. (Mark) Simpson, Jr. ’67

Marcus B. (Mark) Simpson, Jr. passed away November 19, 2023 in Hendersonville, NC.

Mark was born to Marcus B. Simpson, Sr. and Nora Grace Simpson 79 years ago in Sanford, NC and grew up in Statesville, NC.   Mark had an endless curiosity about the natural world that was especially inspired by his father and by his favorite teacher, Lois Goforth.  His love of nature and especially birds led him to join the Carolina Bird Club as a teenager in the 1960’s long before it was cool to be a young birder.  Legendary CBC contributor and author Eloise Potter encouraged his interest and an accidental meeting (staring at a bird and running into the car he was following on a birding trip) with ornithologist and author Roger Tory Peterson sealed the deal.

Mark went on to study biology at Davidson College where he met fellow birders and lifetime friends Doug Pratt, Sterling Southern, and Jim Davidson.  He studied biology under renowned professor Thomas (Bugs) Daggy, who further contributed to his interest in the natural world. From there Mark continued on to medical school at UNC-Chapel Hill and completed his internship and residency at Yale and Johns Hopkins Universities.  After serving in the US Army at Walter Reed Army Medical Hospital he had a highly successful and productive career as a Pathologist, both teaching and directinghospital laboratories at Duke University, George Washington University, the University of Pittsburgh, and finally returning home to North Carolina to retire from his final position at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center.  He loved writing and was a prolific contributor to medical journals specializing in blood banking and transfusions.

As busy as his career kept him, medicine was never his only interest.  He always found time for his love of ornithology and natural history and was a frequent contributor to such publications as “the North Carolina Historical Review”, “the Archives of Natural History”, as well as decades of contributions to the quarterly publication of the Carolina Bird Club, “The Chat.”  His specialty in the birds of the Southern Appalachians culminated in his tour de force 1992 publication of Birds of the Blue Ridge Mountains (UNC Press).

Mark was preceded in death by his talented first wife, Sally Simpson, with whom he contributed articles on early whaling off the NC coast, and is survived by his second wife, Marilyn Westphal, who shared his passion for birds and the mountains and with whom he contributed articles on breeding Hermit Thrushes and Northern Saw-whet Owls in the Southern Appalachians.

Mark was a truly remarkable person who will be greatly missed by his friends and relatives, and he was a kind, loving husband and best friend to his heartbroken wife Marilyn.

A memorial service will be held for Mark in spring 2024 in his beloved Blue Ridge Mountains.  Exact location will be announced.  All are welcome to contribute to the memory of Mark with donations to the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation or Conserving Carolina.

John “Bud” Bradley Cousar Jr. ’69

John “Bud” Bradley Cousar Jr. died peacefully surrounded by family in his home in Charlottesville, Virginia on November 17, 2023.

John was born on November 21, 1946 to John Bradley Cousar Sr. and Helen McMillian Cousar in Sumter, South Carolina. After the loss of his father when he was only nine, John went on to graduate from A.C. Flora High School in 1965 and Davidson College in 1969. Following in his father’s footsteps, John became a doctor, graduating from the University Of Virginia School Of Medicine in 1973. He practiced pathology for 38 years, serving as Director of Clinical Laboratories, Director of Hematopathology and Professor of Pathology at Vanderbilt University. In 2002, John joined the Pathology Department at the University of Virginia where he served as Professor and Director of Hematopathology as well as founding Director of the Hematopathology Fellowship Training Program until his retirement in 2011.

A culinary wizard, John could make a mean pot roast, rack of ribs, and jalapeño cornbread. He loved to fish and hunt with friends and even canoed competitively, though by his own account he was once lapped by a band of whistling girl scouts. He was deeply connected to nature and could rattle off the age, sex, and mating quirks of any bird that visited his homemade platform feeder. But John’s most accomplished art was surely comedy. Never one to miss a party, he was known for his deadpan punchlines that regularly left the room in tears of laughter.

Despite his many talents and professional accomplishments, John never boasted and always put others first. A true Southern gentleman, he was extraordinarily kind, humble, and wise, taking joy in simple, albeit eccentric, routines- compulsively mowing the grass, blurting out expletives to the “idiot” contestants on Wheel of Fortune, and staring blissfully for hours at wild turkeys with his friend Tess, the late standard poodle. Above all, John loved his family and his life’s joy was to make his wife, children, and grandchildren happy.

John is preceded in death by his sister, Helen Wells, and his parents, John Bradley Cousar Sr. and Helen McMillian Cousar. He is survived by his wife, Leslie Reed; his daughters, Lauren Cousar and Anna Mechem (Tyler); his stepsons, Reed Espinosa (Lauren) and Charlie Espinosa (Sierra); his grandsons, Milo Downie, Henry Mechem, Charlie Mechem, and Samuel Mechem; his nephew, Brad Wells (Alyssa); his sister-in-law, Jane Reed; and his first wife, Ellen Cousar.

A private family burial will be held at Panorama Natural Burial. An informal celebration of life will take place at 2 p.m. on Wednesday, November 29, 2023 at 3450 Blandemar Dr, Charlottesville, Va. In lieu of flowers, John would like you to fix a gin and tonic and enjoy yourself.

Benjamin (Ben) Cannon Jr. ’68

Benjamin (Ben) Cannon Jr. died on November 11, 2023 at the age of 76 in Chico, CA. Ben is survived by his wife Mary Cannon, Brother-in-law Lon Addams, nieces Kimberly Cronin and Stephanie Addams Jones. Nephews; Lee Addams and Joel Addams, stepchildren; Allison Craig, Hannah Boeldt and husband James Boeldt and their son Christopher James Boeldt, Alexander Craig and his wife Megan Craig. He is preceded in death by his parents Benjamin and Mary Cannon, his sister Marsha Addams and niece Lindsey Addams.

Ben was born in Statesboro, Georgia. He graduated from Davidson College in North Carolina and received his medical degree from the Medical College of Georgia in Augusta, Georgia. He completed an Internship and Residency in Internal Medicine at Madigan Army Medical Center in Tacoma Washington and furthered his education with a degree in Diagnostic Radiology at Letterman Army Medical Center in San Francisco, CA. Ben proudly served as a Colonel in the United States Army Medical Corp until 1984. He worked as an Interventional Radiologist at Chico Community Hospital, North State Radiology, and Enloe Hospital in Chico, CA.

Ben married Mary Cannon on May 5, 2012. He retired to pursue his passionate interests; golf, abalone diving off the Mendocino Coast, snorkeling, hiking, traveling, and spending time with his wife, family, and friends.

Donations can be made in his name to Doctors Without Borders or in care of Brusie Funeral Home.

Services will be held December 2, 2023 at 11:00 at Faith Lutheran Church, Chico, CA.

Jack L. Smith ’68

Jack Smith peacefully passed away surrounded by his loving family in Evergreen, Colorado.

Jack is remembered for his integrity, wry sense of humor, kindness, and his family loved his sense of adventure, dedication to loved ones, and his love of travel.

He spent 41 years as an esteemed Denver lawyer.

He is survived by wife Diane, daughter Amy, son Daniel and his wife Ursula and their 2 children.

A “Celebration of Life” will be held December 9th at 1 pm, at Olinger Crown Hill Mortuary and Cemetery, in the Chapel of Peace. 7777 W. 29th Ave. Wheat Ridge, Colorado 80033