We here at VECAP would like to take this time to acknowledge one of the leaders in Vocational Evaluation.
Robert Hill Couch, 76
March 20, 1937 - December 2, 2013
Robert Hill Couch
Dr. Robert Hill Couch, 76, was born on March 20, 1937 in Winfield, Alabama to the late Ferman Hill Couch and Bertha Lee Milner Couch. He passed away at Bethany House in Auburn, Alabama on December 2, 2013.
Dr. Couch was a proud graduate of Winfield High School’s class of 1955. He earned his Bachelor’s and Master’s degree from the University of Montevallo and his Doctor of Education from Auburn University in 1973. Dr. Couch was the author of six books, among them are: Every Day is Easter in Alabama: The History of the Alabama Society for Crippled Children and Adults, Out of Silence and Darkness: The History of the Alabama Institute for the Deaf and Blind, Camp ASCCA-Easter Seals: Twenty Years of Magic, and a history of his hometown: Winfield Remembered.
Following his graduation from the University of Montevallo Dr. Couch taught history at Montevallo High School before starting his career in vocational rehabilitation.
Dr. Couch, as he was known to his students, started his professional career as a rehabilitation counselor with the Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services. Identified as an outstanding young professional, he was tapped to move to Auburn University to help start a new program in vocational rehabilitation. His family made that move in 1968 and Bob entered the doctoral program in counselor education. After earning his Doctorate, he joined the AU faculty, remaining until his retirement. Bob developed rehabilitation regional training and degree programs in the newly emerging rehabilitation discipline of Vocational Evaluation and became a world leader in this field. Bob was a frequently invited keynote speaker at state, regional and national rehabilitation conferences, a prolific writer of professional articles and books, and he became a revered and dynamic national leader. He was held in such high regard that he won the presidency of his national professional organization on a write-in vote. However, to his many students and colleagues to whom he demanded excellence, he will be remembered for his enthusiastic support, mentorship, and caring attitude.
Dr. Couch was a faithful and active member of Auburn United Methodist Church. He served as a leader in their Older Adult Ministry as the editor of their newsletter “The Pacesetter.” He also served as President of Harvesters and in many other church leadership positions.
Dr. Couch, along with his good friend Dr. Joe Harrington, had a keen interest in photographing many of Alabama’s 100+ year old wooden churches. For more than a decade they travelled throughout Alabama and the Southeast preserving the history of hundreds of churches. These photographs were published in the form of calendars and note cards and still enjoyed by many.
Dr. Couch also enjoyed researching and writing about his family’s genealogy. He helped organize Couches from around the country to share their research together. The fruit of his research is preserved in his book A Southern Couch Family.
Dr. Couch is survived by his loving wife of 54 years, Helen Gibbs Daniel Couch formerly of Clayton, Alabama; son Jim Couch (Ginger) of Little Rock, AR, daughter Edie Couch Beckum (Cam) of Lexington, SC, son Rob Couch (Crystal) of Prattville, AL; grandsons: Davis Tate Couch, David Gibbs Couch, Blake Robert Beckum, and Ethan Fox Couch; granddaughters: Maecy Lane Couch, Cameron Elizabeth Beckum, and Ella Louise Couch.
In lieu of flowers, donations in Dr. Couch’s honor may be made to: Auburn United Methodist Church’s MERCY Fund or the Food Pantry Fund (P.O. Box 315 Auburn, AL 36830 or my.aumc.net), or Camp ASCCA (P.O. Box 21 Jacksons Gap, AL 36861), or AER Billy Don Sims Scholarship Fund c/o Joe Helm, AER Treasurer (721 Dawn Drive Auburn, AL 36830): a scholarship benefitting those wishing to work with the visually impaired.