Saying goodbye to a great aviation couple Phil and Elle Coussens
January 19, 2019
Such sad news for family, friends and patients of Dr. Phil Coussens and his RN wife, Ellen Coussens, who both passed away within days of each other during Christmas week. They often attended Plane Crazy Saturday at Mojave Air & Spaceport.
Philip Cameron Coussens was born in Los Angeles on July 28, 1927 and passed away at his home in Rosamond Skypark on Dec. 24, 2018.
Ellen June Coussens was born on March 26, 1939 in Sidney, MT and passed away at home in Rosamond on Dec. 28, 2018. Elle had been battling cancer for years.
She moved with her family to Spokane, Wash. in the early 1940s where she attended Lewis and Clark High School and later Eastern Washington University in Cheney, Wash. Ellen moved to Lancaster, Calif. in 1960 and received her Registered Nurse degree in 1967. Ellen later received a Bachelor of Science in Health Care from University of Redlands 1982. Ellen married Phil C. Coussens, MD on May 16, 1970. They had been married for 48 years.
Phil received his BSc. in Pre-Med from the University of California Los Angeles in 1952, and went on to achieve his Doctor of Medicine from the University of California San Francisco in 1956 before beginning his rotating internship at the Los Angeles County General Hospital. In 1957 Dr. Coussens joined the medical staff at Antelope Valley Hospital where he served as Chief of Staff from 1970 to 1972 and again in 1976. He was appointed to Active Senior Staff in 1992.
He began his private family medical practice in Palmdale in 1957 and moved his office to Lancaster in 1966.
Dr. Coussens and Ellen Coussens, designed and built a new office in Lancaster in 1972 and remained there until they retired in 2014. He was a Senior Aviation Medical Examiner and their office provided FAA medical examinations to local aviators for many years.
Elle was a member of the Antelope Valley Ninety-Nines and joined in May 1989, shortly after earning her pilot certificate. Since then she had been an extremely active and proactive chapter member. She often attended South-West Section meetings, managed the food preparation for the Annual A.V. Ninety-Nines Poker Runs and hosted the annual Holiday parties. She was a stalwart member and delighted in sharing her love of flying with her granddaughter, Lindsay Plein.
Phil had his single-engine, multi-engine aircraft ratings and his instrument rating.
At age 75 Phil assembled a Rotorway helicopter from a kit and flew it around the valley in his spare time. As a testament to his continued quest for knowledge, he obtained his helicopter private license at the age of 80 in his Robinson R-44!
My oldest son, Mark, often required stitches when working in the garage and when we went to see Dr. Coussens, both of them would be so absorbed in conversation about Phil's AStar or his Corvette that cleaning the wound and stitching it up seemed secondary to why we were even there.
Mark helped his dad mask and paint Phil's 427 cubic inch, 435 horsepower, tri-power (three two-barrel carbs) 1967 Corvette over 40 years ago.
Both Phil and Elle were multi-faceted and enjoyed a variety of activities. Phil was a fantastic musician and played the piano beautifully. He was also a gifted electronic engineer and held a patent in the field of early radio communication systems. He designed and built one of the world's most powerful HAM radio stations, as well as several custom high-fidelity sound systems.
Elle also enjoyed dancing, and was a member of the Boogie Woogie Mamas, a fun and talented local dance group, dedicated to helping various worthy causes in the Antelope Valley.
This talented and loving couple leave behind six children; Tami Bergerson, Jeff Jeter, David Jeter, Tom Coussens, Rob Coussens and John Coussens as well as 13 grandchildren and seven great grandchildren. Our deepest sympathies, prayers and love are extended to all of them. The family has stated that the best way to remember them is to donate to Children's Hospital of Los Angeles or Wounded Warriors.
See you on our next flight!