He was the husband of the late Dr. Effie Natsis Coughanowr, former professor of Classics at Villanova University, who passed away in 1998.
Born and raised in Brazil, he was the son of the late Ray Leroy Coughanowr and Annie Burdon Coughanowr.
His curiosity and drive manifested themselves early on, in a multitude of hobbies and projects, including photography, chemistry, model trains and a small business using his printing press. His academic excellence was complemented by his talent on the violin.
Dr. Coughanowr received a scholarship to attend Rose Polytechnic (now Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology) and graduated first in his class with the Heminway medal.
He pursued his studies in chemical engineering, earning a Masters from the University of Pennsylvania, then working for two years for Standard Oil of Indiana, and returning to school for the Ph.D. at the University of Illinois.
There, he met and married his wife, Effie, who had come from Greece on a Fulbright scholarship to do her doctoral work.
Taking a teaching position at Purdue University, Dr. Coughanowr turned his research efforts to the field of chemical engineering process control and wrote one of the first textbooks on the subject. "Process Systems Analysis and Control" became one of the most popular undergraduate textbooks on process control and came out earlier this year in its third edition, co-authored by Dr. Steven E. LeBlanc.
Last November, the American Institute of Chemical Engineers recognized at a special centenary function Dr. Coughanowr's contribution to the chemical engineering profession as one of 30 authors of groundbreaking chemical engineering books.
In 1967, Dr. Coughanowr accepted the position as head of the Chemical Engineering Department at Drexel University, which he held for 21 years, retiring in 1999 as Professor Emeritus. During that period, he modernized the department by developing new teaching and research laboratories and emphasized high quality research and teaching. Under his leadership, the department expanded both in size and scope and laid the foundation for growth in national stature that it enjoys today. Dr. Coughanowr was a dedicated faculty member who led the department by his example of excellence in teaching and research.
He traveled the world with his wife, taking sabbaticals in Switzerland, New Zealand and Australia. As well as enjoying intellectual pursuits, such as history, opera and theater, he built a house in the Poconos, with the help of a college student and his eldest daughter. In recent years, he attended the Academy of Lifelong Learning in Wilimington, Del., taking a variety of courses ranging from political and medical issues to Tai Chi.
He was a member of the Royal Scottish Country Dance Society, eventually teaching in one of the dance classes at Crosslands, where he participated in many other committees as well.
He is survived by daughters Corinne, Paris, France, and Christine, Hobart, Tasmania, in Australia, son David, Sandwich, Mass., grandsons Corey, Matthew, Erik, Julian and Eric, granddaughter Emily, nephew John, Brazil, and niece Carol Ann, Rockville.
A memorial service will take place at 2 p.m., Sunday, Sept. 27, 2009, at Crosslands retirement community, 1660 E. Street Rd., (Rt. 926), Kennett Square, Penn. Interment will be private.
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made in Dr. Coughanowr's memory to Drexel University/Donald Coughanowr Fund, in care of Office of Institutional Development, 3141 Chestnut St., 01-310, Philadelphia, Penn., 19104, or to the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, Office of Development, 5500 Wabash Ave., Terre Haute, Ind., 47803.
Arrangements are being handled by Kuzo and Grieco Funeral Home of Kennett Square, Penn. To send an online condolence, visit www.griecofuneralhomes.com.