Rose Agnes Rolls Cousins, 86, formerly of Fairmont, departed this life Sunday (July 30, 2006) at Providence Hospital in Washington, D.C., after a 10-year battle with Alzheimer's Disease.
On March 26, 1920, in Fairmont, the daughter of Ann Alberta Rolls (nee Thornton) and, Theodore Emory Rolls Sr. They named her Rose Agnes in honor of both grandmothers. She joined an older brother, T. Emory Jr.
At Dunbar High School, Rose Agnes was active in many school organizations and school athletics. Her academic ability allowed her to graduate from high school and begin college at age 16.
At West Virginia State College in Institute, Rose was active as a varsity cheerleader, acting in and directing school plays with the drama department, and learning to fly airplanes in the Civilian Pilot's Training Program.
Rose was the only young lady among eight male trainees and made history by becoming the first African American female to receive her pilot's license with this program administered by the Civil Aeronautics Authority. Some of her fellow male trainees went on to form the original nine Tuskegee Airmen.
She received her bachelor of science degree in business administration in 1940.
While in college, Rose met Theodore W. Cousins from Montclair, N.J., and they were married on Dec. 31, 1941.
Before that union ended in 1969, two daughters were born, Emorene Nicole (Nikki) and Adrianne Michele.
Although she was equipped with a college degree, Rose could not find related employment because of her race. She taught algebra at Dunbar High School and Bible School in Marion County before being hired as a secretary for a city director, becoming the first African American to hold such a position in city government in Fairmont.
In the mid 1950's, she was hired by the Monongahela Valley Association of Health Centers (Fairmont Clinic) where she became director of medical records, a position she held until her retirement in 1999.
During her life, Rose was active in politics and was a past member of the Marion County Democrat Women. She was a lifetime member of the NAACP and a civil rights activist, especially regarding employment of qualified African Americans.
In addition, she was an actress and director of plays with the Marion County Little Theater and the Fairmont State College Summer Theater, and was a member of the American Medical Records Association; Soroptimist International, and West Virginia Aeronautics Association.
Her most treasured affiliation was honorary membership in the Tuskegee Airmen Inc.
For several years, Rose was an adjunct lecturer and business education instructor at Fairmont State College.
Having a tireless spirit and energy to burn, Rose was in constant motion, at work and at play. She was an inspiration to her family and to everyone with whom she came into contact. She loved to help young women move up in their careers and in their lives.
Many cherished moments were spent with her grandchildren and great-grandson.
Her spiritual training began as a child at Trinity United Methodist Church in Fairmont where she was a member until she transferred her membership to Christ Episcopal Church.
Ms. Cousins is survived by two devoted daughters and their spouses, E. Nikki and Bob Davis of Youngstown, Ohio, and A. Michele and Bob Moore of Washington, DC; four granddaughters, Stacy and Robin Davis, both of Charlotte, N.C., Adrianne Moore of Temple Hills, Md., and Courtney Moore of Washington, D.C.; one cherished great-grandson, Christopher Michael Thomas of Temple Hills, Md.; her birthday mate/ cousin/niece, Judy Lampkin Bussey and her husband De'Andrea Bussey of Fairmont, and their son, Grant of Martinsburg, West Virginia; several cousins, including Paul Nelson Jr. and Roderick Jones, both of Fairmont.
In addition to her parents, Rose was preceded in death by her brother, T. Emory Rolls Jr.; and a granddaughter, Kristen Lea Davis.
The family will receive visitors at the Morning Star Baptist Church, 100 McKinney St. Fairmont, Sunday from 3-9 p.m. Services to celebrate her life and going home will be held Monday at 11 a.m. at the Christ Episcopal Church, 405 9th St., Fairmont, with Father Steve Swift officiating. Burial will follow at Maple Grove Cemetery.
The family plans to make contributions to the Alzheimer's Association and would be grateful for others to make the same gesture.
Arrangements are entrusted to the JG Lampkin Funeral Home in Fairmont.
Courtesy Post in honor of her memory.