Robert Adrian Cousino, living in Northville, Michigan, passed away on October 2, 2023, his 96th birthday. He was born in Detroit Michigan on October 2, 1927 to Elton Paul and Bessie Ann (nee Beaubien) Cousino. Robert was affectionately known as “Bob.” He went to St. Gabriel Elementary school and Holy Redeemer High School in Detroit’s southwest side. He worked as a butcher during his high school years, and with his sister Elaine started a photography service. She eventually made photography her professional career. Bob and Elaine shared a birthday. They were both born on October 2nd – two years apart.
He volunteered for the U. S. Army in 1946, and was sent to Bavaria in Germany to serve as a mechanic for the motor pool. His primary assignment was to learn the ropes quickly to allow a seasoned soldier the opportunity to head home. He also was a photographer for Stars and Stripes. He was honorably discharged in 1947.
He returned to work at H.F. Campbell Construction in a full-time capacity and served there in various field leadership roles. In 1948 he built a ranch-style house in Dearborn and married Ellen Therese (nee McGovern) in August 1949 at Holy Redeemer Church. They became early parishioners of Divine Child Catholic Parish on Silvery Lane in Dearborn. Their eldest child was the first child baptized at Divine Child. Ellen contracted polio in 1951 after their second child’s birth. She was hospitalized, received treatments, physical therapy, learned to walk again and could drive a car with modified controls designed and built by Bob. He devised supports and mobile carts for her to manage the after-effects of paralysis.
After several successful years working at H. F. Campbell, Bob had the opportunity to start his own sub-contracting construction business, R.A. Cousino, Inc. The company specialized in foundations, site development, sewer and water infrastructure and parking lots. He also developed and built commercial properties around southeastern Michigan and in several Midwestern states. Notable projects include Park Lane Tower I & 2 on the Ford Motor Company property, Warren Tank Plant, several Art Van furniture and K-Mart stores, multiple hotels, the Ford Plant in Livonia, Bon Secours Hospital in Grosse Point, schools in Novi & Livonia and many more. The Ford Motor Company featured Bob in a print advertisement in a construction trade publication on the utility of the Ford Bronco for visiting job sites off-road.
Bob & Ellen had five of their six children by 1961. The family had outgrown the house he built, so they bought a 5-bedroom home on Cherry Hill in Dearborn. After extensive remodeling, including an elevator for his wife, and replacing the fire-damaged roof, this was their home until 1989. It was the site of many parties and events of family, friends and members of organizations in which they served as volunteers.
As a young man he enjoyed time at the family cottage on Lake Erie, not far from the Enrico Fermi plant. He built a row boat as a teen and had boating interests all of his life. He was a member of the Detroit Yacht Club and served as its Commodore in 1976 – the American Bi-centennial Celebration year. He served on the Yacht Club board for several years. He had the whole family help with the assembly line of “Eggs a’ la Cousino” – at the annual Dock Breakfast. His last cruiser, a 50 ft. Chris Craft, was named “El-Bo Room”. His previous boats had been named El-Bo. He participated on the Port Huron to Mackinac Sailing Regatta many times as the chef and navigator for the crew. They were fed gourmet meals on a classic NY32, a 45 ft sail boat designed for the New York Yacht Club. Through the years they also had trips to 13 countries on 4 continents with friends and family. In their senior years, Bob & Ellen enjoyed outings in their motor home with trips to Illinois, Florida, Missouri and regional events (U of M football games) and picturesque venues in northern Michigan.
Bob and Ellen were generous donors to Divine Child Parish and School. He served on many non-profit boards and supported organizations in the community - YMCA, Optimists, Kiwanis, Divine Child Men’s Group, Phoenix Club, Catholic Central events where three of his sons attended, the VFW and supported Ellen’s extensive volunteer work with the Christ Child Society of Detroit, to name just a few.
Bob’s wife Ellen died in July 2000. In 2002 Bob married a widowed friend of Ellen’s from Divine Child Parish, Colette Parent. She and her late husband had moved to Grosse Ile years before, but kept up with friends and played couples’ bridge monthly with them for many years. Bob and Colette moved to a condominium complex in Northville to be near Colette’s sister and brother-in-law. After the passing of Ellen and Colette, Bob was active at St. Kenneth’s parish in Northville serving on the building committee and participating in many Widow & Widowers Club events.
Bob is survived by three sisters – Audrey McGinnity, Patricia Feyers, and Carolyn Anderson. He was also survived by his children and spouses - Janelle, Kenneth (Patti), Glenn, Douglas (Sharon), Colette (Eric) Simkins and Brad (Wendy). There are 32 grandchildren and 52 great-grandchildren, and many nieces and nephews and other family and good friends that have been blessed by Bob over the years.
Bob was preceded in death by his parents and sister Elaine (January 2023). Ellen, his wife of 51 years, died in July 2000. Colette Parent, his wife of 4 years, died in December 2006.
Visitation at Manns Family Funeral Home (17000 Middlebelt Road) will be on Sunday, October 8 from 3-7pm, with a Rosary Service at 5:30pm.
The church visitation at St. Kenneth Church (14951 Haggerty Road, south of Five Mile Road) begins at 10 am. Funeral Mass begins at 11am.