John "Jack" Cosgrove
1934 - 2021
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JOHN D. "JACK" COSGROVE Cedar Rapids John D. "Jack" Cosgrove passed away peacefully at home on Saturday, Jan. 23, 2021. Jack was born at Mercy Hospital in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, on Dec. 14, 1934, to Walter J. and Gertrude A. (McEnany) Cosgrove. A lifelong resident of Cedar Rapids, a respected business and community leader, his most important role was loving husband of 63 years to wife, Cordelia (Dilla); father to children, Kelly, Jill, Tracey and Patrick; and beloved "Papa" to his grandchildren and great-grandchild. Jack graduated from McKinley High School in 1952. He worked his way through college, joined Army ROTC and obtained a B.S. in electrical engineering from Iowa State University in 1956. His only job after graduation was at Collins Radio (now Collins Aerospace). He served as vice president and general manager of Rockwell's Defense Division; president of Collins Defense Communications and appointed president and CEO of Rockwell Collins and a senior vice president of Rockwell International. Retiring in 1999, he was extremely proud of his leadership team and the significant growth, diversification and process improvements achieved during his 42 years at Rockwell Collins. He truly believed every employee contributed to his success and never forgot a face or a name. A passionate supporter of Iowa State academics and athletics, Jack served on numerous advisory committees and fundraising efforts including the board of trustees and the ISU Foundation board, receiving the Alumni Association's Distinguished Achievement Citation. Jack and Dilla were named ISU Parents of the Year (1986) and Cy's Favorite Alums (1996). In 2019, he was included in the inaugural class of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering's Hall of Fame. A proud Cedar Rapidian, Jack served on the Brucemore board and supported the United Way of East Central Iowa, serving as a board member and contributing to the development of the Human Services Campus. He was co-chairman of the Mercy Hospice capital campaign and served on the board of trustees for Mercy Medical, including a term as chairman. He was inducted into the Junior Achievement Business Hall of Fame. Jack was preceded in death by his parents; sisters, Rose Marie Erusha and T. Elaine Benson; in-laws, Vernon Erusha, Donald Erusha and Robert and Arlene Erusha; and infant granddaughter, Erica Tangen. He is survived by his wife, Dilla; his four children and their families, Kelly Cosgrove (Greg Tangen), children, Lauren Meiszberg (Andy) and Alex; Jill von Ebers (Paul), children, Tracy Martin, David, Daniel Brandt (Trish), great-grandson, Maxwell; Margaret, Rachel; Tracey Cosgrove (Chris Quinn) daughter, Emme and Patrick (Malora), daughters Marissa, Kathryn and Alma. Despite his many accomplishments and many friends, family was the most important thing in Jack's life and every grandchild knew that "grandchildren are special." Visitation is from 4 to 7 p.m. Friday, Jan. 29, at Cedar Memorial Funeral Home. A private Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at All Saints Catholic Church, with private interment following at St. John's Cemetery. To livestream the funeral, please go to As mandated by proclamation, social distancing must be practiced which requires a limited number of people to be allowed into the visitation at one time. The use of face masks or shields is required. Respecting the many COVID-19 restrictions, in lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to All Saints Catholic School, Xavier High School Foundation, Mercy Medical Center Foundation or Iowa State University Foundation Please leave a message or tribute to the Cosgrove family on the website under obituaries.

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Published in The Gazette on Jan. 27, 2021.
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16 entries
February 3, 2021
Condolences to the family. Jack was a good man, and when I started at Collins in 1997 he was a legend. Everyone would tell you a story about him when his name came up. :) He was kind and remembered your name (he even remembered how to spell some of the trickier ones!!). He was the embodiment of the Maya Angelou quote that, paraphrasing, says, people will forget what you say/do but, “...people will never forget how you made them feel.”
Emie Timmerman
January 31, 2021
Mr. Cosgrove and my father, John Pace, were friends. Dad had enormous respect for Jack. They worked on a number of things for ISU over the years. if dad were still here he would be writing a glowing tribute. I am standing in for him. Jack was a true gentleman and accomplished so much. Rest In Peace Mr. Cosgrove.
Steve Pace
January 29, 2021
To Jack's family, friends and colleagues,
I first came to know Jack Cosgrove through my father who was Jack's first supervisor at Collins Radio. With pride, he watched Jack's many contributions to individuals and this evolving company, including Jack's many leadership advancements over the years. In recent years, I had the privilege of serving with Jack as a Trustee for Mercy Medical Center and respective Committees of the Board. His leadership focus and contributions were significant, consistently hallmarked with a deep sensitivity to the patient(s), the family, all caregivers and support staff. His love of family, his faith, the Collins/Rockwell family, the Cedar Rapid's community and the Sisters of Mercy is a legacy that can only be received as "gift". Jack, you touched the hearts and minds of many throughout your life -- locally and globally. Mercy Blessings with prayer and deep gratitude for you, Jack, including your loving presence in our lives and your contributions to society.
Sister Maurita Soukup, RSM
January 29, 2021
You were one of the first to befriend me when I moved to CR and I still remember you telling me during my interview not to worry because “...every in this room is a Cyclone fan.” You were a great person and friend. Thank you. I was blessed to know you. Rest In Peace my friend.
Tim B. Stiles
January 29, 2021
He was one of the best Leaders of Collins....He was always out and about and would wonder into your area with a big smile and always new you by your first name....He always recognized major accomplishments.
Joyce Dierks
January 28, 2021
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Petrus Sahetapy, Singapore
January 29, 2021
My deepest condolences and prayers for Jack and to his family. He met me once when I joined Rockwell Collins in 1995, then met me a few years later in a supermarket and called me by my first name and asked about my wife and kids, by name too. He was such a humble and gracious leader and I will never forget him. God Bless Jack and his Family.
Petrus Sahetapy
January 28, 2021
He was a great leader, a gentleman, a great representative of Rockwell. I was proud to work for him, and to try to carry out his vision. Blessings to his family, and to all that knew Mr. Cosgrove.
Joyce Barrington
January 28, 2021
I joined Jack's organization in 1975. It was my first week, and as I walked down a hallway, Jack happened to pass by. He greeted me by name and asked if I was being treated well. He knew me and that I was new. But my experience was just 1 in thousands of such examples of Jack and his care and personal interest in everyone. He set an example; he set the standard!! I had the honor to work in his organization for 24 years until he retired, and felt his influence continue for 20 years past that. Jack, thank you for your inspiring and uplifting leadership at Collins and in the community. Your influence helped ensured family values, high integrity, and outstanding performance. Best wishes at this time to your wife and family! - Mike (and Debby) Dupree and family
Mike (and Debby) Dupree
January 28, 2021
I had the privilege of working at Collins Radio since 1968. He never was one that used a lower employee to not smile & give a hug or handshake! He never asked I bow to his status. He’d pat me on the back and say thank you! Condolences to all of his family. His family extended to many! God Bless, Jack. I found him to be honorable and respectful.
Linda R Connor
January 28, 2021
Our deepest condolences Cosgrove family. May the love of friends and family carry you through these difficult times. Jack’s kindness and caring spirt will live on in all those he touched during his beautiful life.
Dennis and Sheri Miller
Sheri Miller
January 28, 2021
I had the pleasure of working in the Avionics and CDC Division's when Jack Cosgrove was the V.P. of Rockwell Collins, Rockwell International etc... During that time, I had never met a more genuine and kind individual that held a such an important position where I worked from 1985 to 1990.
In 1987, my father had passed suddenly and Jack was one of the first people to take me aside and offer his condolences, he will never know how much that meant to me. My heartfelt thoughts and prayers are with your family.
Sincerely, Kelly Kasow
Kelly J. Kasow
January 27, 2021
PJ, I will never forget what an honor it was for you to ask me to sit at a table with you,your wife,as well as your parents at the rollout of the first 787 Boeing airplane Collins Plaza. He remembered me and I have to say that he knew who I was then and always every time after that. I am proud to say he was a great man and created a long time legacy through his family and community service. Be proud and know he has a special place in heaven.
Becky Tr
January 27, 2021
My thoughts and prayers are with all of Jack's family as it is never easy to say goodbye to a husband, father, grandfather - especially one as caring and genuine as Jack.
I had the privilege of working with Jack toward the end of his career at Collins and walked around with him as he said goodbyes the week before he retired. He greeted every employee by name, shaking hands and asking about their work or family. While I was amazed, no one else was surprised because they had come to know and respect Jack as a leader who truly cared about every employee.
I also served on several United Way committees with Jack and my admiration grew as I saw his passion and dedication for our community.
Jack was a towering example of how to treat others and how to give back. His leadership and philanthropy touched so many lives and I’m grateful for the opportunity to have known him.
Cindy Dietz
January 27, 2021
Condolences to Jack’s family. I remember when I was at Rockwell, his smiling face and he always had time to stop and shake your hand or say hi or even ask how things were going. He was so good at names as well. I always felt like he was very approachable regardless of what your job was there And he sincerely wanted to know if you had any concerns.
Linda Clark
January 27, 2021
I started working at Rockwell in 1986 in Coralville Iowa and Jack would come each year to give our state of the company address. A co-worker and myself played in a golf tournament in Cedar Rapids for a friends company and we happened to sit at Jack's table for lunch. Jack greeted both my co-worker and myself by name. I was stunned. He was so personable and made you feel important even though we felt insignificant in comparison. He was a great leader and even better man. So sorry for the families loss. All our prayers are with you
Martin Frasher
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