Eleanor Orosan Ousley
July 8, 1926 – November 3, 2020
Mrs. Eleanor O. Ousley, known to most by “Nora”, was born July 8th, 1926 in Canton, Ohio to Andronic and Anna Orosan who were immigrants to the US from Romania.
She acquired an ear and a flair for music and, at an early age, knew that this was her life’s calling. Nora graduated high school and moved to Cincinnati, Ohio, to attend the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music, and met her future husband William L. (Lee) Ousley while there. After graduating the Conservatory, she moved to New York City, and while both Nora and Lee pursued music careers, Nora worked at Carnegie Hall as an usher and choir member and had dreams of becoming an opera star…however…her life called her in another direction. After marrying Lee they settled in Birmingham, Alabama as Lee was offered a job in the orchestra there. Nora was hired at Samford University shortly after arriving and began her stellar career there and never looked back.
As well as being married and having a career, she was also a beloved mother to 3 children, Debbie, Gary and Mitchell Ousley…and also had 6 grandchildren and 3 great grandchildren….she was ahead of her time, she was working and raising a family, in a time when that was not the norm.
Nora had an illustrious resume as a soloist in many Birmingham venues as well as in other states, and participated in Town and Gown Theatre locally. Her role as Music Professor at Samford University, was filled with triumph and she was a beloved teacher and mentor to countless young people that attended Samford. Many of her former students held a reunion each year, for many years, to honor Nora and her contribution to their lives….not only academically and musically…but as a life mentor and confidant.
Nora was a founding member of Vestavia Hills Baptist church and continued to attend services there until her late 80’s when she became unable to because of her health.
Her beautiful life ended November 3rd, 2020 at about 11am, and she will be laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery with her sweet man, as they had planned.
Due to COVID restrictions, there will be an online memorial service posted on December 1st at 11am. Please go to YouTube Channel at this link https://m.youtube.com/channel/UC01AaLnxnL-DmDPZZKue0TQ after 11am on Tuesday December 1st to see the memorial or go to the Vestavia Hills Baptist Church website: https://www.vhbc.com and there will be a link to the remembrance video for Nora.
In lieu of flowers, it has been suggested by Ms. Ousley’s family, past students and dear friends that memorial gifts be made to the scholarship bearing her name. Information needed to send a donation is as follows: Checks may be mailed to: Samford University University Advancement ,800 Lakeshore Drive, Birmingham, AL. 35242. In an enclosed note or the memo line of your check please write: Memorial Gift - Ousley Scholarship. If you’d like to make the gift online here is the link: https://www.givecampus.com/campaigns/5070/donations/new In the comment line make sure you indicate the Ousley Scholarship designation
- In lieu of flowers, it has been suggested by Ms. Ousley’s family, past students and dear friends that memorial gifts be made to the scholarship bearing her name. Information needed to send a donation is as follows:
Due to COVID restrictions, there will be an online memorial service
Tuesday, December 1, 2020
Eleanor Orosan Ousley
Jane Decker Naish
November 9, 2020
My favorite memory of Eleanor Ousley was on April 6, 1956 when she came to Albertville, AL and sang for my wedding. I was a student at Howard College when she came there to teach and immediately I found her to be a wonderful addition to the faculty and we became great friends. In later years I would see her occasionally when I visited my daughter in Birmingham. She was then an Assistant to Dr. Milburn Price and she also got to know Eleanor and enjoyed her friendship for years. I will never forget the beautiful voice with which Eleanor was blessed and any time I look back at my wedding pictures, I am reminded of her.
November 6, 2020
Eleanor was my voice teacher, my disciplinarian, my Jimmeny Cricket, my supporter, but most of all, a powerful figure in my life and my Friend.
The world is diminished without her strong spirit swirling the air around her.
I am strengthened by her memory, which i have always.
November 5, 2020
I was privileged to have Mrs. Ousley as my voice professor in the late 1980s. Words cannot express all she poured into me about singing, music, and most especially how to take on life with confidence and passion. Her influence has touched every part of my life since and I am forever grateful! A funny story- on learning that instead of graduate school I was planning to marry and follow my husband to seminary she remarked,”Oh Tricia! You’ll end up being nothing but a church soloist! What a waste!” Ha! I’m still happily married to that man and she was partially correct. However I did have some special musical adventures she would be proud of.