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Obit: Maxine Cousins Hairston

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Obit: Maxine Cousins Hairston

Posted: 25 Jul 2005 1:04PM GMT
Classification: Obituary
Edited: 20 Aug 2005 3:28PM GMT
Surnames: Hennessy, Cousins,Hairston,Cooper,,Key
Maxine Cousins Hairston, born April 9, 1922, to Louise Hennessy Cousins and Richard Clyde Cousins in Ironwood, Michigan, died July 22, 2005. She attended public schools in Ironwood and graduated from the University of Michigan with a B.A. in English in January of 1944. After college, she worked for Time, Inc. in New York City, moving from there to San Francisco in June of 1945, where she met James Walter Hairston. They were married in November 1945 and established their home on the Hairston farm at Rice's Crossing, Texas. Two children were born to them, Coles Hennessy Hairston in 1948 and Lucy Elizabeth Hairston in 1951. Their marriage ended in divorce in 1985. In 1986 she met David Cooper, Professor of Education and Linguistics at Hunter College in New York City; they were married in June of 1987. In the mid-50s, Maxine entered graduate school at the University of Texas in Austin and earned her M.A. in English in 1958. In 1963, she re-entered graduate school and received her Ph.D. in English from Texas in 1968. She started as an Instructor in the Department of English at the University that year, served as Director of Freshman English for four years, as Associate Dean of Humanities for two years, and retired as Professor of English in the Department in 1992. In 1999. Maxine re-entered the University of Texas once more, this time as a graduate student in history. She earned an M.A. in European history from the University in December 2003. She continued to take courses in history and classics. For most of her years on the faculty at the University, Maxine specialized in the teaching of expository writing. She was active in two major professional associations for the teaching of writing, the National Council of Teachers of English and the Conference on College Composition and Communication. In 1985 she was the Chair of that conference. She also published many articles in professional journals from 1976 to 1992 and authored five textbooks for teaching college composition. In 2002 several of her former graduate students published a book in her honor titled Against the Grain: A Volume in Honor of Maxine Hairston. It contained her collected articles and essays about her work and her influence in the profession. Maxine was a member of the First Unitarian Universalist Church of Austin for more than 50 years, serving twice on the Board of Trustees and on numerous other committees during those years. She was also active with Planned Parenthood of Austin, serving on its Board of Trustees for six years. She was active in Democratic politics, both locally and nationally, and in various nonprofit organizations, particularly those concerned with promoting the interests and well-being of women. She is survived by her husband, David Cooper; by her brother, Admiral Ralph W. Cousins of Newport News, Virginia; by her children, Dr. Lucy Hairston of Dallas and Coles Hairston of Austin; and by her grandson, John Coles Key. A memorial service will be held at the Unitarian Church of Austin, TX 4700 Grover Avenue on July 30, 2005, at 4:00 p.m. In lieu of flowers, a donation may be sent to Planned Parenthood of Austin in her name.

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