In Memory

John Couch

John Russell Couch Jr. died in Stillwater, Oklahoma, from a heart attack on June 15, 2022, at the age of 79 years. A memorial service will be held at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church in Stillwater on Saturday, November 5 at 10:30 a.m. His ashes will be interred at a later date at the Fairview Cemetery in Pryor. August 18, 1942, John was born in Oklahoma City to Mary Frances Settle Couch and John Russell Couch.

John started elementary school at Horace Mann and continued in Oklahoma City Public Schools through his graduation from Harding High School where he excelled academically, becoming a National Merit Semi-Finalist. In 1960 after his Harding graduation, he was accepted at Rice University in Houston. At that time, Rice was still tuition free for those fortunate enough to be accepted. John graduated in 1964 with a degree in philosophy, a subject he never stopped studying.

After obtaining his second philosophy degree and marrying in 1969, financial reality then set in along with his father’s encouragement, so John completed his law degree in 1970. He was inducted into Phi Delta Phi Legal Fraternity. In August of 1971, John and Julie moved to Stillwater where he started a private practice.

Although John spent most of his years practicing law, education beckoned him again when he decided to complete his doctorate in Environmental Law at OSU which he completed in 1998. He taught several courses at OSU as an adjunct professor.

Although law was his profession, John’s real love was the natural world. Most of his leisure time was spent in areas staring with the letter “B” – bicycling, birding, books and basketball. He always rode his bicycle in Stillwater. He was an expert birder having a life list of sighting 200 to 300 species of birds. He had the backseat of his car as a library filled with books – on trees, birds, wildflowers, maps. He enjoyed small-town basketball -- he especially liked attending the Frontier games. His only activity not starting with “B” was tennis. He continued participating in tennis leagues throughout his life.

John is survived by his wife Julie, daughter Mary Kate Couch Cauthen (James) and step-grand children Ty and Ben and Cara Couch (Keith Berner) and grandchildren John and Lois. He is also survived by his sister Laura Couch Love, Edmond; brother William Francis Couch, OKC; and David Robert Couch, McKinleyville, CA. Also John’s five nieces and one nephew – Holly Love Ely, OKC; Nicole Couch, McKinleyville, CA; Emily Couch Rossi, Parrish, Florida; Joanna Couch, Owasso, OK; Rebecca Couch Rodriguez, OKC; and Bryan Tutt, Edmond.

For those wanting to remember John, in lieu of Flowers, memorial contributions can be sent to: Harding Charter Preparatory High School, 1301 NE 101 Ave., Oklahoma City, OK 73131-2034; Oklahoma Nature Conservancy, ATTN: Barry Maxwell, 10425 South 82 East Ave., Suite 104, Tulsa, OK 74133-7097; or National Audubon Society, ATTN: Tribute Gifts, 225 Varick St. 74, New York, NY 10014-4304.

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06/30/22 10:44 AM #4    

Mary Ann Williams (Morrison)

So sorry about John. He was great about keeping us informed. I was looking forward to seeing at the reunion.

06/30/22 08:15 PM #5    

Bette Wheeler (Kimbrough)

My condolences to John's family. John was a friend, neighbor and always a genuinely good guy. He will be missed by everyone who knew him in our class of 60 as well as many others throughout his life.  He has been the glue that has kept our class together through his unselfish time given to our reunions and general information. My last conversation with him was such fun regarding who lived where in our neighborhood. His memory was SO much better than mine!!! 

07/03/22 06:12 PM #6    

Judy Johnson (Ruby Brown)

Like most of you, I was shocked to hear of John's sudden death. John was such a leader of our class. He managed this web site, and was instrumental in our reunions...yes our long postponed 60 th!  At every reunion a bunch of us who stayed at the Hilton Garden Inn would hang out and talk..John would join us for great conversation and was known to share a glass of wine over it.  I think our reunion this fall should be dedicated to our wonderful classmate. RIP John! You are sorely missed.

07/03/22 08:01 PM #7    

Kathy Higginbotham (McNeal)

I agree, Judy. We should have some sort of memorial for  John at the reunion.

07/05/22 12:46 PM #8    

Gloria Fowler

John was one of the reasons I looked forward to reunions (cancelled and not cancelled ones).  He was a wonderful, capable person, and I'll miss him.

07/06/22 05:15 AM #9    

Jacqueline Hamilton (Taylor)

I thought John was one of the finest people in our class. We have stayed in touch all these years. I sought his counsel on a few legal matters regarding property I inherited in Oklahoma. I knew him to be smart, kind, loyal, and fun! I am so sorry he died before our reunion. I would have loved to see him again. Jacqueline Hamilton Taylor 


07/07/22 11:02 AM #10    

Kay Beeler (Blake)

John was a special person to our class as the leader for all our reunions. He and I had kept in contact for the past several years so I was very shocked about his death. He was truly a great guy and will be missed. I hope we will remember him with a contribution to the Harding Prep School in his honor. Kay Beeler Blake



07/08/22 05:56 AM #11    

Jacqueline Hamilton (Taylor)

Good idea, Kay!

07/08/22 11:21 AM #12    

Judy Johnson (Ruby Brown)

I agree. Great idea Kay

07/11/22 06:20 PM #13    

Curtis Jones

What a shock...just lost  my best penpal ever.  As our Harding site admistrator for class 1960 he was my google search and refresher engine for my memory lapses about Harding and Horace Mann school members, plus getting me pumped up on getting me to the next reunion no matter my 3rd tri-master physique and limited mental condition.  I can only imagine the heart ache his family is enduring with his absence.  Just glad to be one of his many penpals: lots of good memories we exchanged.   Hey John! to you later....

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