Al Joseph Kouri
1928 — 2018
Al Joseph (Joe) Kouri was born on August 18, 1928 in rural Chelsea, Okla., to David and Nellie (Salem) Kouri. Joe worked with his parents and brothers on their family farm, regionally famous for their watermelons and sweet potatoes.
He earned a football scholarship to Oklahoma State University as an offensive lineman. After a football injury, he joined the army where he became a boxer and he tested equipment in the Aleutian Islands. This contributed to a life-long interest in experimenting with speed and force.
He received an honorable discharge as a staff sergeant and resumed studies at A&M College in Miami, Okla., where he met his future bride. He returned to OSU where he graduated in 1951 with teaching and ag nutrition/econ degrees. He married his beloved wife, Geneva Lakey, that year at Holy Family Catholic Church in Tulsa.
Joe worked as an ag teacher in Elgin, for 1½ years. He was then hired by Ralston Purina where he worked as a district manager for 32 years. During that time, he traveled Nebraska extensively and earned many prestigious awards. He was known for his leadership and very fun-loving character. He was also a dedicated and loving husband and father. After retiring from Purina, he returned to Oklahoma to help care for relatives for a few years. He began a coal mining business there, and then sold it to return to Nebraska to be near his children and grandchildren in Lincoln.
Joe had a genuine interest in all people. He was a generous mentor for a remarkable variety of people. This came in part from his roots as a member of a poor immigrant farm family that routinely offered produce to those with even fewer resources during the Great Depression and beyond. Throughout his adult life he volunteered for the church. Joe was a talented gardener and a good cook and loved to share meals with others. He always made time for family and friends and enjoyed fishing and hunting with them. He also enjoyed stock car and “World of Outlaws” racing, football, and baseball; especially the KC Royals.
Joe was preceded in death by his parents, one sister and two brothers, one granddaughter, one grandson and one sister-in-law.
His family members include his wife; Geneva Kouri, daughter; Kathy Stokes and grandsons; Thomas and Nathan Stokes, son and daughter-in-law; Alan and Debbie Kouri and granddaughter; Julie Burcham, son; David Kouri, one sister-in-law and several great grandchildren, nieces and nephews.
Rosary was held on Thursday, May 31, at Butherus, Maser and Love Funeral Home in Lincoln. The Mass of Christian Burial was held on Friday, June 1, at St. Michael Church in Lincoln. Memorials may be given to St. Michael’s Church, 9101 S. 78th St., Lincoln, NE 68516. Condolences to www.bmlfh.com.
Al Joseph Kouri