Posted on: December 5, 2023
John “Bud” Bradley Cousar Jr. died peacefully surrounded by family in his home in Charlottesville, Va., 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 9 years old, 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.