Native Texan, Vietnam Vet, Life-long Volunteer, Professor Durhl Caussey is a Leader in Multiple Arenas, and a Proud American
As a young boy Durhl Caussey wanted to grow up to be a Cowboy like Roy Rogers. But a funny thing happened on that Happy Trail to singing fame and fortune: he became a professor, a Lions Club President, and a well-respected Republican Precinct Chair.
Born in tiny Seymour, Texas, Durhl lived out in the country and worked in cotton and wheat fields as a boy. He’s also lived in Abilene, Holliday, Fort Worth, Oak Cliff and Duncanville.
He graduated from Seymour High in 1965, then Abilene Christian College in 1970 with a BS in Education and then returned to Abilene Christian University for a Masters in 1971. After college he did some PhD work at UNT in Denton. Durhl says he reads constantly, everything from newspapers to magazines to books. And, he says, “I have learned a lot from my students, ranging from elementary students and Special Ed kids to college undergrad and graduate students.”
And he is no newcomer to politics. In 1960 in Texas, Durhl supported John F. Kennedy. Then in 1968 he supported Richard Nixon, “and have voted Republican and been active in the party since then.”
He’s spent many years working toward a greater America, because, “I love this country and its values; served in military since ROTC in college, did two tours in Vietnam. Freedom isn’t free; I stay involved in politics to preach this message to future generations.” He is currently the Republican Precinct Chair of his area.
The way to be successful in politics is simple: “Hard work and education are key ingredients.” A professor of history at Mountain View College, Durhl says, “I implore younger people to stay in school. I worked my way through college and believe in lifelong learning. I am also very tenacious.”
His life hasn’t been all hard work and studying, however. His wife, JoAnn Holt Caussey, works in Public Relations and so he’s enjoyed meeting plenty of celebrities, from Tony Curtis to Ann Margret, Jim Nabors, Larry Gatlin, and “Top Gun” actor Val “Iceman” Kilmer, among many others. And through his Republican party contacts he’s met numerous politicians and six U.S. presidents.
For fun, Durhl collects coins and stamps, focusing on ancient coins and Confederate currency.
Durhl says he’s taught all his adult life and about 20 years ago started writing general interest columns for newspapers. He enjoys writing about cars, sports, outdoor events and he’s currently working on a book. He still writes a column for his hometown newspaper and others in Texas. He also writes for an international publication, The Epoch Times, that translates his column into many different languages.
He said he got through the toughest time of his life--two tours in Vietnam and going through a divorce after 20 years of marriage—through prayer, and in Vietnam, “from listening to my sergeants.” And he never gave up. “I surrounded myself with good people; stayed in church and asked God to help me through it.”
He met the love of his life, Jo Ann Holt-Caussey, in the grocery store. It was hardly romantic: “We met when I followed her up and down the grocery aisles one Sunday afternoon in 1997, at an Albertson’s in Duncanville where I had a part-time job on weekends to supplement my teaching salary. She finally invited me to church the next Sunday morning, and to her surprise, I showed up. We dated 11 years, and finally married 10 years ago in August.”
Durhl is proud of his three grown children and five grandchildren. His kids are married and have families: Chad Caussey, 43, a chiropractor in Dallas; daughter Erica Caussey Unrau, 40, works in day care; youngest son Christopher 35, teaches American History at Coppell High School and is active in the Republican Party. “Every year we attend the State Convention together,” Durhl says.
What does the future hold? “In 10 years I’ll be 81 years old and hope to stay healthy and live a long, active life.” Durhl plans to keep writing car columns and general interest columns as long as he can and hopes to finish his book in five years and write more.
Maybe his second book will be about a singing cowboy who travels across Texas, teaching students along the way about what a great country it is that they live in.
Judy Porter writes about local heroes and nonprofits. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org