Christopher Andrew Cousins

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Christopher Andrew Cousins

May 18, 1976 - August 15, 2018

South Paris Christopher Andrew Cousins, 42, of South Paris died suddenly on Aug. 15, 2018. He was a beloved family man, respected journalist and Oxford Hills Viking for life.
Born May 18, 1976, to Timothy Cousins and Ellie Frechette in Willimantic, Connecticut, he was a true Mainer by nature, if not by birth. He became a Maine resident before he could walk, and spent the rest of his life enjoying and extolling the state's beauty while reflecting the best values of its people.
He attended schools in the Oxford Hills district and graduated from Oxford Hills High School in 1994. He helped write and publish the student newspaper and was a member of the school's football, track, wrestling and lacrosse teams. In later years, he joked that he was "pretty fast for a fat guy," but his teammates remember him for his leadership and courage.
He played saxophone in the school band, and while being on the football team prevented him from marching in the band, he would attend marching practice whenever he could. He told classmates that he had to do it as a band requirement, but he later confided that his real motive was to spend more time with the cute girl who would later become his wife.
He graduated from Colby-Sawyer College in New London, New Hampshire, in 1998. While there, he won the Edward R. Murrow Award and the Barbara Johns Stearns Award for campus leadership. He completed a summer internship at WBZ-TV in Boston, where he met Julia Child. He did not share his recipe for chili.
Chris launched his journalism career in 1999 at the Advertiser Democrat in Norway. The editor said that they weren't looking to hire anyone, but Chris was so impressive in the interview that she had to offer him a job.
Later in 1999, he accepted his first daily newspaper job at The Times Record, for which he covered Brunswick and Bath. From 2006 to 2007, he was the Donald W. Reynold Fellow for Community Journalism at the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard University. He returned to The Times Record to become city editor, before leaving in 2008 to run the State House News Service in Augusta.
He joined the Bangor Daily News in August 2009 to cover southern Penobscot and Somerset counties. He launched the company's southern midcoast bureau and served as the newspaper's statewide education reporter before moving to political coverage. He was promoted to State House bureau chief in 2013.
In a combative environment at the State House, his objectivity, humor and humanity stood out. Elected leaders from all parties trusted him. The legislative aides, clerks, janitors and others who do the unheralded work to make government function looked forward to seeing him because his big smile and kind words demonstrated that he genuinely cared about them.
He possessed an uncanny ability to connect with people on their terms. He went out of his way to talk to people about what mattered to them even if it had nothing to do with politics or whatever he was covering and to find positive attributes about others.
He was a mentor and inspiration to dozens of young journalists. His work ethic and creative approach to journalism taught new lessons to old editors.
Chris won many state and regional awards for his brilliant writing and he could craft sentences that made stone-hearted editors bawl like babies. But words fall far short of being able to describe him. His generosity of spirit made it easy for people to talk to him about the most difficult topics.
For people he knew from his childhood through his last day, he was a best friend -- "best" not necessarily in the sense of being the closest friend but because there could be no better friend than Chris.
Chris shared more love than the world could handle. He loved to hunt, fish, camp and hike. As a Cub Scout and Boy Scout leader, he shared those passions for the Maine outdoors with his sons and with other Scouts. It was a source of great pride and joy for him.
He loved music, New England sports teams, the ocean and goats -- and not just because Tom Brady is the Greatest of All Time.
But most of all, he loved his family. He learned about plumbing, music and survival from his dad. He learned about perseverance from his mom. He proudly showed off every article his sister ever wrote about wrestling and was learning about gardening from her when he died.
Jennifer (Blais) Cousins, the high school sweetheart who became his wife, truly was his best friend and the absolute center of his universe. His sons, Caleb, 13, and Lucas, 8, were his heroes who made him prouder with each passing day.
Chris was predeceased by his father and father-in-law, Guy Blais. He is survived by his wife and sons; his mother; sister Jen Cousins and her partner, Chris Scoville; nephew Evan Smith; mother-in-law Carolyn Blais; sisters-in-law Sherry Blais, Becky Leupold and Susan Ivey; aunt Patricia Cousins and her husband, Michael Galanos; stepmother Elizabeth Cousins; and an enormous extended family of friends and admirers.
A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m., Saturday, Aug. 25, at Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School, 256 Main St., South Paris. Arrangements are by Chandler Funeral Home in South Paris.
Memorial donations to a fund created to help with his sons' future financial needs may be made payable to: Caleb and Lucas Cousins, C/O Norway Savings Bank, 261 Main Street, P.O. Box 347 Norway, ME 04268.
Published on August 20, 2018
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