KOUNOSU, Shigeru (Sam)

Posted: February 16th, 2023

KOUNOSU SHIGERU (SAM) KOUNOSU, of Lethbridge, passed away on Monday, February 6, 2023 at the age of 94 years, after a short hospitalization for pneumonia. The family is saddened by his death.
Sam is survived by son Ken and daughter Leah and by brothers Osamu and Makoto of Japan.
He was predeceased by wife Heidi, brothers Atsushi and Satoru, and sister Takako.
Sam was born on August 23, 1928 in Tokyo. After graduating from a teachers’ college, he taught at an elementary school for a few years. During his time as a science teacher, he also started a school choir, with the choir ultimately going to win a prefectural competition, to the great surprise of many people.
Sam returned to the University of Tsukuba to study physics, graduating with a Master’s degree. He went on to complete a PhD in Physics at the University of Pennsylvania, followed by postdoctoral research at Princeton. Sam came to Canada in 1967, to take up a teaching position at the University of Lethbridge in the year of its foundation.
After retirement, Sam’s first project was to build a summer cottage in Kaslo, British Columbia. He and Hideko (Heidi) spent a number of happy summers in Kaslo, growing vegetables and enjoying the hot springs.
Sam was very independently minded. To the end, he was playing Go (game) with friends and online. After contracting COPD, his range of mobility narrowed but he still enjoyed a good debate, particularly setting the cat among the pigeons.
A private service for family and close friends is being planned at this time, in keeping with what Sam would have wished. The family declines koden or flowers. If you wish, please make a donation to the charity of your choice.

To send a condolence, please visit www.cornerstonefuneralhome.com

One Condolence for “KOUNOSU, Shigeru (Sam)”

  1. Terry Ingoldsby says:

    I only just learned of Sam’s passing, about six months ago. Let me start by saying that Sam was, without any question, the smartest man I ever had the fortune of meeting!

    I was a physics student at U of L back in the late 1970s and early 1980s (I took a couple year break mid-way through my degree). Sam was not only a professor and mentor, but someone I considered a friend and who was always concerned about me (and many other students). I lived not far from Sam in the early 1980s, and used to pick him up on my way to university, dropping him at the door and going to park – only to see him later in class.

    Sam’s mind was amazing. He tried many times to get a variety of students to imagine hypercubes. He could do it, but none of us could. I still remember being in a math class (taught by the math department) and being asked to show the solution to a problem on the board. I had been stumped on the problem, but Sam showed me how to solve it. I put my solution up and the math professor scratched his head and said, “That is the right answer, but I’m not sure you can do it that way.” I indicated that Doctor Kounosu had shown me the technique. The professor responded, “Oh, that’s fine then!” I recounted this story to Sam and it was the only occasion I ever remember his acknowledging how smart he was. He told me, “Terry, I’m not a mathematician – but I’m more of a mathematician than anyone in the math department!”

    But as much as I remember and admire his brilliant intellect, I remember his kindness and sincere interest in each of his students and fellow faculty members. We will not see his kind again.

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