Mr. Robert L. Couch Jr, age 89 of Tullahoma passed away Monday, August 18 at the Life Care Center of Tullahoma.
Robert L.”Bob” Couch, Jr. was born in the evening of Christmas Day, 1924, at 308 North Atlantic Street, Tullahoma, to Robert Laughlin Couch, Sr. and Anabel Searcy Couch. Thus began a long love affair with Tullahoma which he affectionately referred to as the “dimple of the universe.” Bob was a great student of life and especially enjoyed viewing it through the lens of a camera. He found meaning and purpose in many organizations.
Brought up in First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), he served as a teacher for teenagers and adults, board chairman, elder, and was named Elder Emeritus. A student of the Bible, he participated in the Bethel Bible Study. He attended young adult conferences of the Christian Church in Tennessee (Disciples of Christ) and later family camp, which he helped direct, for many years at the beloved Bethany Hills Camp. He loved attending church events locally, state and nationwide. He also served on the board of the Disciples Divinity House at Vanderbilt University.
Bob attended Tullahoma schools and graduated from Columbia Military Academy. He played the bass drum in the first Tullahoma High School Marching Band. After enlisting for the U.S. Navy at Camp Forrest, he attended Tulane University before being shipped to Great Lakes. He was a radar operator on the destroyer escort U.S.S. Willis and stationed at Guam. After the war, he attended the University of Tennessee at Knoxville and graduated from Middle Tennessee State College in 1949. He served as school photographer at MTSU and remained “True Blue”enjoying alumni activities and football games. In 1991 he received the Dr. Joe Nunley Award at MTSU which recognizes veterans for their service to others.
Bob was proud to be the third generation in the family business, W. J. Couch & Company, which was founded in 1893. Later renamed Couch’s, he believed in service and often chose customer needs over his own. He studied at the Eastman Kodak School and took classes with the Bell & Howell Company. His love of photography manifested itself in his taking thousands of pictures. He covered news stories for THE TULLAHOMA NEWS as well as Nashville television stations. Prior to video cameras, Bob filmed every Wildcat football game from the roof of the press box. He enjoyed helping others with their photographic needs and questions and he assisted many students in launching their careers. He helped found the Tullahoma Camera Club. He was a member of the Downtown Merchants Association and the Tullahoma Area Chamber of Commerce. The Chamber presented him with the Sustaining Member Award in 1998 and he received the first Clyde Phillips Men’s Shop Business Award in 2009. He was one of first recipients of the City of Tullahoma’s Lifetime Achievement Award.
Achieving over 63 years of perfect attendance in Rotary indicated Bob’s devotion to Rotary International. He was a member of the Tullahoma Noon Rotary Club and served as its president in 1963. He later joined with other Rotarians in chartering the Tullahoma Sunrise Rotary Club. He was named a Paul Harris Fellow and helped charter the Interact Club at Tullahoma High School.
Bob was a member of Boy Scouts and earned the first Eagle Award in Tullahoma. Subsequently, he mentored many Scouts in reaching the same goal. A strong patriot, he attended the first Boys’ State and remained active in American Legion Post 43 where he served as Commander and Historian. He was active in the Legion’s Big Brothers program, the Sons of the American Legion and the 40 & 8. He was a member of Veterans of Foreign Wars.
Bob was a 33rd degree Mason in the Scottish Rite and York Rite and a member of Al Menah Temple. He was a member of South Jackson Civic Association, Tullahoma Fine Arts Center, the Sons of Confederate Veterans, the Nathan Bedford Forrest Civil War Roundtable, Historic Preservation Society, Coffee County Historical Society, Bedford County Historical Society and Keep Coffee County Beautiful. One of his favorite pastimes was sharing history of the Civil War and Camp Forrest and numerous presentations were made.
Dorothy “Dot” Morton of Manchester was the love of his life. They married June 15, 1953 and had over 61 years of devotion, fun and hard work together. She survives along with their daughters Candy, Fran and son-in-law Jon Gray; grandson Jacob Gray and wife Cindy; sisters Searcy Hopkins and Dot Watson; all of Tullahoma. Memories will be cherished by many other family members and friends.
The family will receive visitors at Daves-Culbertson Funeral Home on Friday from 4:00-8:00 p.m.
The funeral will be held at 5:00 p.m. on Saturday at First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), at the corner of Grundy and Jackson Streets, Tullahoma.
Burial will follow at Rose Hill Memorial Gardens.
The family suggests donations may be made to First Christian Church, South Jackson Civic Center or the charity of one’s choice.