Dr. Althea L. Cousins, who was a longtime Philadelphia educator, died on Saturday, Oct. 9, 2021. Cousins was 88.
Cousins spent decades working as a teacher and administrator in the School District of Philadelphia. During her extensive career from 1953-2002, she was appointed to numerous positions including elementary and junior high school teacher, school counselor, assistant principal, principal, district office administrative assistant, director of pupil personnel and post-retirement as an interim principal.
Cousins was born in New York, N.Y. on Nov. 5, 1932. She was the eldest of two children born to the late Sherman L. Kurta and Louphenia Merriman Edmiston of Selma, Alabama and New York. When she was six weeks old her family moved to Philadelphia, PA to escape the ravages of the Great Depression.
They lived with her father’s relatives the late Rev. Frederick D. Douglass and Mary B. Douglass, her paternal grandmother’s sister. The family stayed in Philadelphia or three years before returning to New York where they established a successful refrigeration company.
Althea, named for her paternal grandmother (Althea Brown) remained in the loving care of her great aunt and uncle in Philadelphia, who raised her as their child. She gave her life to the Lord Jesus Christ at an early age.
She became an active member of the Wesley AME Zion Church where her uncle, Rev. Frederick Douglass, was the pastor. In her adult life, she became one of the founding members of the Wesley Federal Credit Union and served as the president for several years.
Cousins was educated in the Philadelphia Public School System. She attended E.M. Stanton Elementary school, where she later served as an interim principal. She also attended Norris S. Barrett Junior High School and graduated in 1950 from The Philadelphia High School for Girls.
In 1953, Cousins received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Fisk University in Nashville, TN. In addition, she held various degrees and certifications from graduate and post-graduate institutions to include: Columbia-MA counseling, Temple University — MA educational administration, University of Pennsylvania, Rhode island University, and Walden University — Ph.D educational administration. She also served as an adjunct professor at West Chester University, Eastern University, Villanova University and Antioch University.
Cousins married the love of her life, Carl M. Cousins, DVM of Virginia in 1962 and was blessed with two beautiful daughters Kimberly Mary and Karen Ann Cousins. The family resided in Rosemont, PA for nearly 40 years. Althea and Carl joined Zion Baptist Church in Ardmore where she faithfully for more than 45 years. She was also blessed with four grandchildren who were the light of her life. Nothing pleased “Nana” more than to spoil her “grands.”
Cousins, fondly known as Terri to her close friends, was a people person. She was a sophisticated woman of high society with a flair of style and grace. She was enthusiastically involved with education, civic, community, and social group activities.
She held various offices and roles in several national and local service and social organizations. She served as a member of Delta Sigma Theta, Inc. Valley Forge Chapter, Philadelphia Chapter of National Smart Set, Inc., Philadelphia Chapter of Carrousels, Inc., Delaware Valley Chapter of Links, Inc., Delaware Beta Eta Bolé Archusai, PALM (Ardmore Senior Center), Presbyterian Children’s Village chapter’s agency), National Association of Pupil Personnel Services Administrators (NAPPSA), Philadelphia Association of School Administrators, Jack and Jill, Inc., Rotary, Inc., and more.
Traveling with her husband and children was a joyous part of her life. They visited the four corners of the world an shared exciting experiences with family and friends. Cousins will be remembered as a loving wife, mother, grandmother, sister, mentor, and friend. She gratefully enjoyed life to the fullest and followed her motto: “Don’t miss the moment.”
Cousins was preceded in death by her loving husband, Dr. Carl M. Cousins. She leaves to cherish her memory two daughters Dr. Kimberly Mary Cousins-Trent (David), Dr. Karen Ann Cousins-Washington (Donald), four grandchildren Kirstin Elizabeth Morris, Kayla Anne Morris, Christian Carl Brown, and Chase August Brown, step-grandson Tyler Whitlow, brother Sherman Kueta Edmiston II (Bette), three step great-grandchildren James Shaw Jr., Savannah, and Jason Shaw, nieces and nephews Sherman K. Edmiston, III, Lisa Edmiston, Kathy Cousins-Cooper (Hector), Rhoecus Cousins, Norman Cousins, Carol Cousins-Lee (Bruce), added children Vance Ellis (Linda), Dr. Regina Royster (Monique), and Donna Ross (Vincent) and a host of dearly loved cousins, relatives and friends.
Funeral services will be private do to COVID restrictions.