Dear Members of the Country Day Community,
It is with a heavy heart that I share the news of the passing of former Cincinnati Country Day School Headmaster John C. Raushenbush at the age of 86. John died Saturday after a short illness and was surrounded by the love of his family during his final days.
John was an important leader in the history of Country Day, serving as the school’s eighth headmaster from 1977 – 1994. He oversaw a period of growth and ascendancy, with CCDS firmly establishing itself as one of the leading independent schools in the Midwest. During his 17-year tenure, Country Day created its early childhood program, established a separate Middle School division, started a development office, helped to found the Summerbridge (now Breakthrough) program, made major new investments in the arts and technology, and enjoyed what many consider to be the golden age of Country Day athletics.
But above all, John presided over an era of unmatched academic excellence. This reputation was due in no small part to John’s hiring of numerous legendary teachers who would go on to inspire generations of CCDS students.
All four of John’s children graduated from Country Day – Christine Raushenbush Saudek ’80, Robin Raushenbush Koval ’82, Lisa Raushenbush Pettengill ’85, and Tom Raushenbush ’88 – as did three of his grandchildren – Grace Pettengill ’17, John Pettengill ’18, and Sam Pettengill ’21. My condolences go out to them as well as John’s wife, Marcia, who served the school as a kindergarten teacher and as a constant strength that guided John throughout his life.
John’s manifold contributions to CCDS extended well beyond his tenure as headmaster. Never the retiring type, John continued to shape the independent school landscape after his headship at Country Day. John became the executive director at the Ohio Association of Independent Schools (OAIS), where he helped preserve private schools’ independence to operate according to each school’s mission. And even into retirement to his beloved Colorado, John remained a presence in the Country Day community, providing counsel to a succession of subsequent heads of school, attending events, serving as chair of the annual fund grandparent committee, and offering generous support to fundraising endeavors. I was privileged to know John as both a student and head of school, and I will not soon forget John’s kindness and mentorship.
Cincinnati Country Day School will always be indebted to John Raushenbush. His legacy remains visible to this day.
There will be no local service, but a private memorial will be held for family members in Breckenridge. In grateful recognition of John’s contributions to Country Day, the school’s flag will be flown at half-staff.
John will be dearly missed by his many friends at CCDS, and our thoughts are with his family during this difficult time.
Robert M. Zimmerman ’98
Head of School
If you have an anecdote, photo, or reflection to share about John, we would love to hear from you. We plan to share everything we collect with his family and our community in the coming weeks and months.