John Howard Roe, Jr. ’69

John Howard Roe, Jr., aged 77, passed away peacefully at home surrounded by his family on February 6, 2024, after a brief but valiant battle with pancreatic cancer. John was born on December 29, 1946, in Springfield, Tennessee, to John Howard Roe, Sr. and Lillian C. Roe. John grew up in Clarksville, Tennessee, graduating from Clarksville High School before attending Davidson College for his undergraduate studies. He attended Vanderbilt Law School, graduating first in his class as Founder’s Medalist in 1972.

John began his legal career in Atlanta, Georgia, and then moved to Nashville in 1974 to be closer to his hometown of Clarksville, Tennessee. In 1981, he and his colleague and friend Tom Sherrard opened the law offices of O’Hare, Sherrard & Roe, now Sherrard, Roe, Voight & Harbison, an esteemed law firm of more than 40 attorneys today. Known for his strong work ethic, his razor-sharp memory, and his expert legal acumen, John was dedicated to providing his clients not only the best legal advice, but to offering his clients a holistic approach to their business needs and goals. Over his 50-year legal career, John developed an expertise in real estate and tax law, co-authoring the Tennessee Condominium Act of 2008, but more importantly, he developed lifelong relationships and friendships with his clients and colleagues that he valued deeply.

John was committed to the organizations in which he was involved, the people for whom he cared, and the communities in which he lived. As an elementary school student, he became involved with the Boy Scouts of America, rising to the rank of Eagle Scout. He spent his summers at Camp Boxwell, where he developed lifelong friends with whom he continued to gather year after year. He remained involved in the Nashville chapter of the Boy Scouts until his passing, and is to be honored for his lifelong service to the Boy Scouts in April, 2024. In partnership with one of his best friends from high school, Jerry Clark, John purchased the abandoned 100-year-old building in which his high school was housed, and restored it into an apartment building, saving the historic structure from demolition. He also helped found the Wade Bourne Nature Center at Rotary Park in Clarksville. He was a long-time supporter of Habitat for Humanity of Greater Nashville, serving as Board Chair in 2005.

Learning to sail as a Boy Scout, John sailed during his free time throughout his life and kept his own sailboat on Percy Priest Lake until his passing. He loved the outdoors, and enjoyed backpacking, canoeing, and fishing trips with his family. A life-long student of history and an adventurer, he enjoyed traveling to places all over the world. But perhaps his favorite pastime was spending time at Moosehead, his home in Monteagle, where he enjoyed hiking, swimming, and sitting on the deck with his wife, children, and grandchildren, and friends.

John will be remembered for many wonderful qualities, but his family and friends will remember him best as someone who was intensely loyal, devoted, and generous to those he loved. John’s friends were friends for life, and he would do anything for someone he considered a close friend. He valued his family dearly, cherishing his relationships with his immediate and extended family members. He was beloved by his children, his stepchildren, his nieces and nephews, grandchildren, sister, and his wife Jane, all of whom gathered by his side in his final days to support him in his transition.

John is survived by his wife of 20 years, Jane Buchi Roe, his children Lillian (Nate) Gilmer, John (Alicia) Roe, and Alan (Tatiana) Roe; his grandchildren Emi, Lila, and Hannah Gilmer, Tasman and Amelia Brinton-Roe, and Matthew and Naomi Roe; and his sister, Lynne Wilson. He is preceded in death by his wife of 34 years, Emily Hunt Roe, his father, John Howard Roe, Sr., and his mother, Lillian C. Roe. Through his marriage to Jane, he was blessed with three additional children, Marla (Topper) Doehring, Hunter (Katty) Connelly, Will (Lauren) Connelly, and eight additional grandchildren, who survive him as well.

Services will be held at Westminster Presbyterian Church on Saturday, February 10. Visitation will be held at 2:30 p.m. with a Celebration of Life Service to be held at 4:00 p.m.

In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the American Cancer Society, or Habitat for Humanity of Greater Nashville.

John M. “Ace” Passmore, Jr. ’69

Dr. John M. “Ace” Passmore, Jr. passed away peacefully on January 17, 2024 after a valiant battle with autoimmune encephalitis, leaving behind a legacy of love and magic. Ace was born in Columbus, Georgia to June and Johnny Passmore, followed shortly by his beloved sister Diane. He was valedictorian at Columbus High, where he earned the nickname “Ace” due to his uncanny ability with card magic. Ace attended Davidson College where he met his best friend Bill Bailey and their legendary pranks became part of local lore. In 1969 he married Donna Olney, “the most beautiful and wonderful girl in the universe!” Ace attended Vanderbilt Medical School. To make ends meet, Ace and Donna developed a magic act, performing regularly in nightclubs and on TV. Their love of magic and creating wonder became a lifelong passion.

Ace and Donna moved to Indianapolis for his residency, had four amazing children, and then moved to Houston to complete a fellowship in cardiology before entering private practice at Memorial Hermann SW. He served as Chairman of Cardiology and spent decades as a dedicated Cardiology Professor, earning many teaching awards and inspiring thousands of future doctors. In 2012, Ace moved his practice to Methodist Sugar Land where he helped develop their Cardiac Center, retiring in 2017.

Ace was the most magical dad and grandpa around. He was a celebrated pianist, and visiting the Passmores often included a singalong and a magic show. His album Piano Prestidigitations continues to bring joy to his family and friends. Ace also wrote several award-winning screenplays, earning membership in the Writers Guild of America. Christmas and the spirit of giving were especially important to him, and his novel Red Stocking Society was published in 2018, sharing his philosophy of altruism, love and wonder.

Ace is survived by his wife Donna, children Starr (Chad), Jackie (Howie), Skye (Adam), and Grant(Barbara), grandchildren Ellory, Juniper, Ines, Ondine, Lucie, and Azure, sister Diane Munden (Ron), dear brothers- and sisters-in-law, and nieces and nephews, who all love Uncle Bubba’s magic shows, piano concerts, and zest for life. The family would like to thank all of the caregivers at Methodist, Memorial Hermann, the Amazing Place, and Silverado Memory Care & Hospice for their compassionate care. After living a wonderful life, his message to family and friends is: Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations in his honor to the Autoimmune Encephalitis Alliance https://aealliance.org/ or to The Amazing Place https://www.amazingplacehouston.org/donate/.

The Passmore family will host a celebration of life on Sunday, April 14 at Evelyn’s Park in Bellaire, from 3 to 6 PM.

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.

Burkey Belser ’69

Burkey Belser was a graphic designer best known as the creator of the Nutrition Facts label mandated by the FDA, which adorns most food sold in the United States. He died on September 25, 2023 in Bethesda, Maryland, of bladder cancer at the age of 76. 

James Burkey Belser was born in Columbia, S.C., on July 8, 1947. His father was a lawyer, and his mother was an interior designer. After divorcing in 1952, his mother remarried and moved to Memphis, where he and his sister were raised.

As a boy, he loved New Yorker cartoons, and he often redrew them. He majored in English and minored in studio art at Davidson College in North Carolina, graduating in 1969.

Mr. Belser then studied French literature at the University of Montpellier in southern France, and when he returned, in 1970, he got a job as circulation director of Avant Garde, an arts and politics magazine published by Ralph Ginzburg.

He left after a year, traveling with a girlfriend to Turkey, where they embarked on a 3,300-mile journey to Kathmandu, Nepal.

Upon returning to the United States, Mr. Belser and his girlfriend stopped briefly in Washington, where artist Lou Stovall let them crash at his house. They planned to settle in Boston, but Stovall convinced them to stay, getting Mr. Belser a job as business manager of the Righteous Apple, a graphic design studio connected to New Thing Art & Architecture Center, a nonprofit.

Mr. Belser set off on his own 18 months later, teaching himself graphic design and creating samples of magazine brochures, posters and logos to show prospective clients. He made hundreds of calls, resulting in handfuls of meetings. He persisted and ultimately launched Burkey Belser Inc. in 1978, the same year he married Donna Greenfield, a government lawyer. She started a consulting company focusing on professional services, and the two entities eventually merged into Greenfield/Belser. Their design firm was an early and dominant player in legal advertising and branding, a new category of business that opened up following the Supreme Court’s 1977 ruling in Bates v. State Bar of Arizona that advertising for legal services was protected commercial speech. The firm grew to more than 40 employees and was also a leader in arts branding, book catalogue covers and corporate design. Finn Partners, a global design agency, bought Greenfield/Belser in 2016.

As an independent designer, Belser won a Gold Award at the Art Directors Club of Washington, D.C., for the 18th century styled brochure he designed for the law firm McGuire Woods & Battle. His work helped change the way law firms presented and marketed themselves. Belser was also asked to design Energy Guide labels for appliances sold in the U.S. Based on that success, he was drafted to create the now ubiquitous Nutrition Facts label found on all food sold in the U.S., a design that is now used across the world. This was quickly followed by the Drug Facts label, also in wide use.

When not creating, Belser wrote about design principles in such books as “25 Years of Legal Branding” and “Best of Corporate Identity Design.” He won a Presidential Design Award, a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Art Directors Club of Metropolitan Washington, an American Graphic Design Award, and honors from American Corporate Identity, Creativity magazine, the International Engraved Graphics Association, the Society for Marketing Professional Services, the Webby Awards, and many others. 

In addition to his wife, Donna Greenfield, survivors include two children, Mikell Belser Rice of Bethesda, Md., and James Belser of Aurora, Colo.; two grandchildren; a sister; and a half brother.

Leonard T. Tyson, Jr. ’69

Leonard T. Tyson, Jr. 76, passed away on August 26, 2023, in Columbia, SC. Leonard was the son of Leonard (Pete) Tyson and Eula Brank Tyson of Rockingham, NC. Leonard graduated from Rockingham High School and Davidson College. He played sax and keyboards in several local bands. Leonard was employed by the NC Employment Security Commission for 47 years, retiring in 2022 as a fraud investigator. Leonard was also active in youth soccer as a coach and referee.  

Leonard is survived by his wife of 48 years, Cindy of the home, his sons, Sam Tyson of Charleston, SC, and Jeremy (Stacy) Tyson of Chapin, SC, granddaughter, Britany Alexander of Columbia, SC, and sister, Raenelle (Russell) Ingram of Raeford, NC. He also leaves behind his fur babies, Zeke and Prissy.  

Leonard was preceded in death by his parents.  

Upon his retirement, Leonard and Cindy moved to Irmo, SC to be closer to their sons. Leonard loved the house and the area but especially loved being able to see the boys more often. Leonard will be remembered for his love of family, music, and sports.   

Arrangements are private. Condolences can be sent to Cindy Tyson at the family home.

South Carolina Cremation Society is assisting the family.