About the Author
AnnaLee (Cousart) Conti, daughter of Bob and AnnaMae Cousart and granddaughter of Carl and Florence Personeus, is a fifth generation ordained minister of the gospel in the Personeus family. AnnaLee grew up in Alaska and met her husband, Bob, while they were students at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. They have pastored in New York State since 1977, including pioneering a church. They have one son and five grandchildren.
AnnaLee earned a B.A. in music and elementary education at the University of Alaska, and an M.A. in Biblical Literature at the Assemblies of God Theological Seminary in Springfield, MO. For many years she wrote church school curriculum on assignment and freelance articles published in magazines, including The Pentecostal Evangel, Youth Alive, and Woman’s Touch.
For 4 years her daily devotionals appeared on the Sound of Life Radio website. She also taught elementary school and GED and adult basic education classes.
AnnaLee served as minister of Christian education in three churches, taught adult Sunday school classes for many years, sang and played the piano on the worship team, and served in state and local Women’s Ministries.
She has taught Berean Bible courses, an extension of Global University, Springfield, MO, and continues to teach classes in the New York School of Ministry, which trains pastors and teachers for ministry in local churches.
AnnaLee and her husband retired from pastoring in 2011. She now devotes more time to writing. She has completed her Alaskan Waters Trilogy, historical Christion fiction set in Alaska; Frontiers of Faith, the faith-filled story of her grandparents’ 65 years of missionary work in Alaska; and has now written her memoirs, Footsteps of Faith, the story of how she and her husband followed in her parents’ and grandparents’ footsteps in ministry.
About AnnaLee’s Husband
AnnaLee’s husband, Bob Conti, retired from pastoring Mercy Tabernacle of the Assemblies of God. As a bivocational pastor, he also served as the Chief Operations Officer of the Sound of Life Radio, where he worked for 15 years. The Sound of Life is a network of 13 Christian radio stations in the Northeast and on the World Wide Web. Here is a picture of Bob in the studio, located in Lake Katrine, NY.
About Our Son
Our son, Robert Benjamin Conti, is married to Sabrina. They have five children and live in Newburgh, NY, in the house built by his Great-Grandfather Conti. Bob teaches at Balmville Elementary School in the Newburgh Public Schools.
About Our Grandchildren
Our five grandchildren are Sophia Christine, Stephen Charles, Samuel Christian, Spencer Curtis, and Robert Quentin (“Sonny”).
Sophia graduated with honors from Adelphi University on Long Island and now lives in San Diego.
Stephen married Naomi Gockel in 2016. They recently returned from serving in Thailand for a 2-year missions commitment with Projects for Asia at Hope House, a school and orphanage for the Hill Tribes (refugees in the northern mountains of Thailand). They taught English as a second language and Bible classes, as well as doing outreaches into the Hill Tribes. They now live in Marlborough, NY.
Sam, Spencer, and Sonny are recent graduates of Newburgh Free Academy.
About AnnaLee's Parents
After 25 years of ministry in Alaska and 30 years in central Washington, the Cousarts retired from pastoring in 1997. During retirement, they attended Ellensburg Assembly of God, where Bob served as Treasurer of the Board and taught the adult Sunday school class until well into his 90s.
At the age of 80, Bob was elected Mayor of Kittitas in 2004. When the Cousarts sold their mobile home in Kittitas, where they lived for 27 years, and moved to assisted living in Ellensburg, WA, in 2007, Bob had to resign as mayor.
Bob turned 97 on New Year’s Day, 2019. He went to be with the Lord on August 23, 2019.
The Cousarts’ son, Robert Paul (Bob), along with many of their grandchildren and great-grandchildren, lives in Yakima, the next valley south of Kittitas. Their daughter, Kathleen Evelyn (Kathy) McAlpine and her husband, Tom, live in Hoven, SD.
AnnaMae’s brother, Byron Personeus, and his wife Marjory, who operated mission boats in Alaska and around Vancouver Island for more than 50 years, have both gone to be with the Lord. Their daughter, Chantal Thomas, and her family reside in Port Orchard, WA.
In April 2010, Bob Cousart was honored for 50 years of ministry as an ordained minister with the Assemblies of God. The following is a highlight of his ministry shared at the Northwest District Council of the Assemblies of God:
Ministry Highlight for Rev. Robert E. Cousart
Saved under the ministry of George Beverly Shea and called to preach, Brother Cousart was first licensed with the Methodist Church. Stationed in Ketchikan, Alaska, in the Coast Guard during World War II, he was introduced to Pentecost under the ministry of his future in-laws, pioneer Alaska missionaries, the Charles C. Personeuses. After marriage to their daughter AnnaMae, he attended Eastern Bible Institute in Greenlane, Pennsylvania, and returned to Alaska in 1948.
He was serving as a nationally appointed home missionary in Seward, Alaska, as well as president of the Seward School Board and an officer on several other state education boards when the Great Alaskan Earthquake, registering 9.2 on the Richter scale, the strongest earthquake ever in North America, struck on Good Friday in 1964. The quake ruptured the numerous oil storage tanks along the waterfront, which belched fire and black smoke for days, and along with three successive tsunamis, destroyed ninety-five percent of the town's industrial area and many homes and cut off all highway, railway, and shipping access. As president of the Seward Ministerial Association, Brother Cousart led the survivors in a combined church service that Easter morning.
That summer, with Alaska still struggling to recover from the earthquake, the Alaska Assemblies of God pastors and missionaries voted to become a sovereign district, and Brother Cousart was elected its first secretary-treasurer, a post he held until 1973. In 1966, the Cousarts were asked to pastor another town hard-hit by the earthquake, Valdez. Shortly after their arrival, the entire town had to be moved five miles when the Coast and Geodetic Survey determined that as a result of the earthquake the old town was sitting on a ledge that could break off into the bay at any time.
In 1973, the Cousarts accepted a pastorate in the Yakima area, and they ministered there and in the Kittitas Valley until their retirement. When in his eighties, Brother Cousart also served as mayor of Kittitas for two years.