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 William Ernest “W. E.” Couch

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William Ernest “W. E.” Couch

  • Birth 3 Jul 1912 Hico, Hamilton County, Texas, USA
  • Death 30 Mar 1988 Denison, Grayson County, Texas, USA
  • Burial Denison, Grayson County, Texas, USA
  • Memorial ID 100255284

William Ernest Couch was born prior to World War I, lived through the Great Depression, World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War. He was an eye witnesses to history in the truest sense of the word.

William Ernest Couch was born July 3, 1912, in Hico, Texas, which is in Hamilton County. He was the oldest of the three sons of Homer Charles & Sarah Elvy Turner Couch. His younger brothers were: Wayne, born in 1914, and Orville, born in 1916.

Homer & Sarah Couch moved from Hico, Texas, to Denison, Texas, in 1918, with their three sons. Homer moved to Denison, either to go in the grocery business with Sarah Couch's brother, John Turner, or to work for the MKT Railroad.

William Ernest Couch married Marguerite Harriet Stillwell (Stilwell) in Bryan County, OK, on Oct 27, 1931. William Ernest Couch went by "Ernest" and "W. E." His wife went by the name "Margaret." Margaret met Ernest at The Denison Shoe Shop in downtown Denison where he worked. Margaret's brother, Dale Stillwell, related that she came home and told the family: "I just met the most handsome man." William Ernest Couch and Margaret Stillwell had the following children:
• Bobby Ernest Couch (b: 13 Jan 1935 d: 10 Feb 2008)
• David Couch (b: 1939 d: LIVING)

The shoe shop where Ernest Couch worked made and repaired shoes and was later purchased by his brother, Wayne. To this day, the shop is called: "Wayne's Shoe Shop." William Ernest Couch could make a very high quality pair of leather shoes, and the skills he learned at the shoe shop served him well in his future endeavors. The Great Depression started in 1929, but it lasted for over 10 years until the United States entered World War II. Ernest Couch was laid off from the shoe shop for lack of work, as no one was buying new shoes made by hand any longer. In the early 1930's, he related to his two boys, Bobby and David Couch, that he walked over 10 miles round-trip from home to pick sweet potatoes for $1 per day and all the sweet potatoes the family could eat. He was also a skilled craftsman, having built their home from the ground up, which included digging the water well by hand.

Ernest Couch observed that people who had good-sized gardens, cows, hogs, and chickens did not seem to be as impacted by the Great Depression as much as folks who did not have gardens and animals. He planted a very large garden after he built the house. The family had hogs, cows, fruit trees, and became rather self sufficient.

During the Great Depression, William Ernest Couch was hired as a janitor at the Denison Cotton Mill Company, where he was to work his way up in management to the position of Executive Vice President and Plant Manager. He probably knew more about making textiles than most cotton mill managers in the country because there were few jobs that he had not performed at the Denison Cotton Mill Company. During World War II, the company manufactured much of the duct material that was used to make tents for our troops. Because of his position in a vital defense industry, he was not drafted to fight in World War II. The Denison Cotton Mill was the very last duct material company to survive "Japanese competition," and the mill closed in 1977 on the day W. E. Couch retired. He retired from the Denison Cotton Mill Company at the age of 65.

William Ernest Couch was also a devoted member of the Denison Lion's Club. He served as President of the Club, as well as Chairman of the Texas Lion's Club Eye Bank almost until the time of his death. He was a City Councilman and Mayor Pro-Tem of Denison, Texas. All who knew him would say "he was a man of his word, and that he served his community and family well." He was a member of Sunnyside Baptist Church in Denison, Texas.

Family Members






  • Created by: Couch Genealogy
  • Added: 5 Nov 2012
  • Find A Grave Memorial 100255284
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for William Ernest “W. E.” Couch (3 Jul 1912–30 Mar 1988), Find A Grave Memorial no. 100255284, citing Fairview Cemetery, Denison, Grayson County, Texas, USA ; Maintained by Couch Genealogy (contributor 46957527) .