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Mrs. Irene Forest Cosby entered into eternal rest on Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2013, at her residence, 3622 Dupuy Road, South Chesterfield, Va. She was held in the arms of her loved one and her hand was held by a faithful caregiver as she quietly went to sleep.

She was born in Halifax County, Va., to the late Willie Bell Spraggins Forest and John B. Forest; and she had one brother, the late Edward Forest. She is survived by her husband, William M. Cosby Jr.; one son, Chauncey Lewis (La Verne); one foster son, Nathan Blanding (Joyce); one foster daughter, Brenda L. Cosby; four grandchildren and four great-grandchildren, and a host nieces, nephews, cousins and many friends, one special, like a sister, Dr. Mary McCray.

Irene finished Campbell County High School as valedictorian; Virginia State College (now University) with a B.S. degree and M.S. degree with distinction from Ohio State University; Collegiate Professional Certificate Pre-Doctoral Program and University of Pennsylvania.

The following honors and awards have been awarded her, Alpha Kappa Mu Honor Society, Beta Kappa Chi Honor Scientific Society, Virginia State College with distinction, Kappa Omicron Phi (Home Economics Honor Society), Home Economic Student Achievement Award, Chesterfield County Volunteer Service Award, The National Pan-Hellenic Council Inc., The Distinguished Hero Award, Woman of the Year — Zion Baptist Church 2006.

Her work experiences included: Virginia State College (now University) associate professor for 30 years, dormitory counselor and hostess, assistant dean of women, summer session St. Paul's College, Ohio State University, graduate student assistant to the dean of women and director of Cooperative House.

Her unpublished research consisted of "Construction and Validation of a scale for the Measurement of Attitudes toward Home and Family" and "Attitudes of Students towards Sorority Activities at Ohio State University."

Irene's early religious training began at Hickory Road Baptist Church, and after moving to Petersburg she became affiliated with Gillfield Baptist Church. She had been a faithful member of Zion Baptist Church for a number of years.

Irene had been a loyal and dedicated member of the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc. for over 70 years. She originated and designed the Delta scarf that is worn by Deltas all over the country. She has proudly represented her sorority in many positions and on many occasions.

Irene had volunteered her services to the Virginia State University Home Ecology Alumni Association as treasurer for over 20 years, committee member which opened the kitchen at Gillfield Baptist Church, member of the Central State Volunteer Program, Summer Enrichment Program — Zion Baptist Church, and president of the Concerned Citizens of Ettrick for many years.

Irene had been a faithful and loving wife for 54 years, a nurturing and kind mother, and a supportive and understanding friend. As a teacher, she went beyond the call of duty to make sure her students received the information she was attempting to impart. She was always a lady in every sense of the word and led by example. Her smile was beautiful and even when she was ill, she always gave her visitors a radiant smile of welcome. She was loved by many, many people.

A funeral service for Mrs. Irene F. Cosby will be held 11 a.m. Monday, Feb. 11, 2013, at Zion Baptist Church, 225 Byrne St., Petersburg, Va., the Rev. Dr. Archie German, interim pastor, and the Rev. Dr. Andrew J. White Sr., eulogist. The entombment to follow at Southlawn Memorial Park.

The Delta Sigma Theta Omega Omega Ceremony and family visitation will be held from 6 to 7 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 10, 2013, at the funeral establishment.

In lieu of flowers the family repectfully asks that donations be sent to the Virginia State University Foundation for the Irene Forest Cosby Endowment. Mail to VSU Foundation, P.O. Box 9027, Virginia State University, VA 23806. Please write Irene Forest Cosby Endowment on the memo line.

Family members and friends are invited to pay final tribute to Mrs. Cosby at

Funeral arrangements entrusted to the staff of J.M. Wilkerson Funeral Establishment Inc., 102 South Ave., Petersburg, Va., 804-732-8911,
Published in The Progress-Index from Feb. 6 to Feb. 10, 2013
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