Ruth Hubbard Cousins loved, nurtured, and was "the Boss" of two families: Psi Chi plus her daughters, three grandchildren, and eight great-grandchildren. Mom "went around causing sunrises," (N. Mohney, 2007) despite numerous personal challenges. She left her family farm in Georgia to attend college in Manhattan, where she met and married our father. He later served in the South Pacific during World War II, leaving Mom and baby Carol in Georgia. After the war, Dad worked at Duke University where Mom resumed her education after Joan was born.
Our mother almost died from hepatitis after moving to Washington, D.C., in 1952. Following a long recovery, she earned a degree from George Washington University (DC) and joined Psi Chi. In 1958, she accepted a temporary, part-time position as Psi Chi's Executive Secretary while continuing her education. During the next two years, her husband and mother died, leaving Mom with two daughters to raise. She worked full-time to grow Psi Chi and take care of her family, handling another crisis when 16-year-old Joan almost died in a car accident.
Mom instilled her love of education in us and felt proud when we earned our college degrees. In the 80's, Mom was diagnosed with breast cancer. Both families (ours and Psi Chi) nurtured and supported her while she recovered. When Psi Chi needed to leave APA's building a few years later, the office relocated to Chattanooga so Mom could be near her family and Psi Chi could reduce expenses.
After retiring, Mom continued "causing sunrises" by working on genealogy, community history, and Psi Beta projects. One of Mom's happiest moments (besides the births of her offspring) came when her special Psi Chi "wayward sons" Stephen Davis and Joseph Horvat dedicated their 1998 book "...To 'Mom' from her wayward sons." In addition, her "errant sons" John Hogan and Harold Takooshian brought her great joy with many letters, cards, and phone calls throughout the years. Although Mom was diagnosed with Alzheimer's five years ago, she enjoyed laughing, helping, and being with people until the day before she died in our arms.
—Daughters, Carol Cousins Tracy and Joan Hubbard Cousins References
Horvat, J., & Davis, S. (1998). Doing Psychological Research.
Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.
Mohney, N. (2007, January 20). A friend who went around causing sunrises. Chattanooga Times Free Press,
Spring 2007 issue of Eye on Psi Chi (Vol. 11, No. 3, p. 3), published by Psi Chi, The National Honor Society in Psychology (Chattanooga, TN). Copyright, 2007, Psi Chi, The National Honor Society in Psychology. All rights reserved.