On Monday, Feb. 22, 2021, at 8:15 a.m., Dr. James Millard Fougerousse passed away at the Cardinal Schwarzenberg Hospital in Schwarzach am Pongau, Austria. He was 76 years old.
Jim was born on Aug. 24, 1944, in Marshall, Texas, to Carl and Martha (Hughes) Fougerousse.
On Jan. 21, 1967, he married Sally Carolyn Strecker. Jim graduated from the University of Dallas in Irving, Texas, in 1967, as a German major, and received a Fulbright Fellowship Award to go to Vienna for a year. Upon his return to UD, he served as Dean of Men from 1969 to 1971, during which time he helped to found the University of Dallas Rome Program. Between 1971 and 1975, Jim worked on his Ph.D. in English Philology and Comparative Literature at the Leopold Franzens Universität in Innsbruck, Austria.
From 1976 to 1981, Dr. James Fougerousse was employed by the University of Dallas, first as Assistant to the President, then as Dean of Students, and finally as Chairman of the Foreign Language Department, while also teaching classes in literature and German. In 1981, Jim went to Rome, teaching for one year before becoming Director of the UD Rome Program, a position which he held until 1989. He then moved on to become the Dean and Director of Studies for the International Academy of Philosophy in Liechtenstein from 1989 to 1991, and the founding Director of the Austrian program for the Franciscan University of Steubenville, a title which was his from 1991 to 1999. During his time in Gaming, Austria, Jim also collaborated in establishing both the Language and Catechetical Institute and the International Theological Institute for Studies in Marriage and the Family. In 1999, he established and became the Director of a Rome program for Duquesne’s McAnulty College of Liberal Arts, and in 2001, he moved on to his final professional responsibility: Director for the Redlands University’s Salzburg program. Jim retired in 2010, and resided in Bad Gastein, Austria, until the time of his death.
Jim’s life was marked by wanderlust and story. He sought learning and fellowship above all else; his embodied love for the life of the mind was one of the things that set him apart. He was never a lofty intellectual, but rather the type of genius that revels in the controlled chaos of real life. Jim inspired everyone around him to think and converse at a higher level, sometimes by playing the devil’s advocate with a roar in his voice and a twinkle in his eye, always with a hearty laugh and a proffered beverage. He was larger-than-life. Jim’s memory for history and literature was phenomenal, as was his ability to make both academic and personal connections with peers and pupils, with popes and peasants.
Jim was very proud of having been instrumental in establishing both a study-abroad program for the University of Dallas, and the quirky tradition of celebrating Groundhog Day -- one of the most beloved holidays of the year for any UD alum. Though Jim talked often about these two achievements, he was also somewhat embarrassed by the “fame” they brought him, preferring to focus on the good they brought to others. He would have been the first to brush off the adoration with which he was viewed by many who knew his warm and sometimes outrageous charisma, profound knowledge of Western tradition, and firmly held vision that such stories are most properly learned in situ. Dearer to him was the love he was surrounded by all his life.
Dr. James Fougerousse was preceded in death by his parents, as well as his older brother Edward and sister-in-law Myra, and several other relatives and dear friends. He had many official titles over the course of his 40+ year career in academia, but the ones he held dearest were husband, father of six, grandfather of 27, great-grandfather of one (so far), and the simple abbreviation “Foug,” conferred upon him by many generations of students.
He leaves behind this great legacy: Sally, his wife of 54 years, and his six children and their families — Lisa (Fougerousse) and Jeff Mobus and their children Emily (with husband John and daughter Cecilia) Forbes-Mobus, Carolyn Mobus, James (and wife Brie) Mobus, and John Mobus; Sarah (Fougerousse) and Michael Tiller and their children Katherine, Helena, Joan, Patricia, Anna, Joseph, Gemma, and John; Sr. Mary Laetitia of the Father of Mercies, of the Poor Clare Colettines of Rockford, IL; Peter and Susie Fougerousse and their children Gabrielle, Genevieve, Sebastien, Cosette, Delilah, and Roman; Carl and Marisa Fougerousse and their children August, Oliver, Linus, and Simon; and Kristin (Fougerousse) and George McCartney and their children William, Ronan, Georgia, Viggo, and Soren. Also mourning his passing are his younger brother Richard and sister-in-law Rosemary, and many nieces and nephews, members of the extended family, and dear friends.
Dr. James Fougerousse will be buried in Gaming, Austria. The funeral will take place on March 2, 2021 in the Kirche Maria Thron in the Kartause Gaming. The services will be preceded by a period of silent prayer from 1:45pm local time, and the funeral Mass will begin at 2pm local time. The funeral procession will adjourn to the Friedhof Gaming (Gaming Cemetery) for burial immediately following the ceremony. Arrangements are under the direction of the Bestattung Aigner Gaming (Aigner Funeral Home). In his honor, please offer someone a meal and a drink, enjoy their company while having a spirited conversation about important matters, and raise your glasses in a toast!
In lieu of flowers, please consider a gift to support the Fougerousse Convivium at the Eugene Constantin Rome Campus to celebrate the life and memory of Jim and his everlasting impact on the University of Dallas, and especially its Rome program. A Mass for the repose of his soul will be held at UD's Church of the Incarnation on March 3 at 5 pm and can be viewed via livestream here.
Photo by Gabrielle Fougerousse