Cosby Jr., John Canada

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John Canada Cosby Jr., 83, died September 29, 2013, after six plus years of declining health and after a brief illness. He is survived by four children and his partner/caregiver, Richard (Dick) Eldredge. His surviving children are John Stuart Cosby and his wife, Cathy, of Norwich, Conn., Williams Cooper Cosby and his wife, Lisa Johnson, of New York City, N.Y., Ellen Parker Cosby and her partner, Dr. Charles Church, of Greensboro, N.C., Laura Elizabeth Cosby Felts and her husband W. T. Felts III, of Phoenix, Md.; three grandchildren; four great-grandchildren; four stepgrandchildren; and three stepgreat-grandchildren. Mary Stuart Parker Cosby, of Christiansburg and Hawley, Mass., the mother of their children, also survives. Cosby was born to John C. Cosby and Mildred Cooper Cosby in Greensboro, N.C., November 24, 1929, and he and his mother joined his father in Greenville, S.C., in January 1930. He graduated from Greenville High School, 1946, spent two years at Davidson College, and graduated from Furman University in 1951. In January 1951, he joined the staff at The Greenville News. He was called to active duty for the United States Navy in January 1952, and was assigned to duty in New York City where he remained until December 1953. He was confirmed in the Episcopal Church in boot camp in 1952. Responding to a life-long call to help the Episcopal Church, communicate its mission ministry to its members, he first became editor of the Piedmont Churchman, Diocese of upper South Carolina. Returning to the newspaper as second in charge of the copy desk, he remained until 1958. He became convinced that members of the church needed to learn the art of communicating with its members. He accepted a position, with his wife, as codirector of Miramar Episcopal Retreat Center, Diocese of Rhode Island, in Newport, Rhode Island from 1958 to 1961. In 1961, he accepted a position with the Department of Promotion, the Episcopal Church Executive Council in New York City, where he served as editor and Executive Secretary of the Speakers Bureau for the Diocesan Press Service. In 1968, he became Assistant Ecumenical Officer of the Episcopal Church. Part of this time he served Consultation on Church Union as seconded staff as plenary liaison officer, lasting into a number of years into the next position. In 1972, he moved to Springfield, Mass. as director of Bement Camp and Conference Center, Diocese of Western Massachusetts, until taking a sabbatical in 1980 to become the first lay male Proctor Fellow at the Episcopal Divinity School in Cambridge, Massachusetts. There he spent six months in a program of study and sharing. He finished up with Bement in 1981, after serving on the New England Board of the American Camping Association. In 1982 he became Director of the Conference Center, Browns Summit, Diocese of North Carolina. In 1983 he became Director of Huston Camp and Conference Center, Gold Bar, WA, Diocese of Olympia (Seattle). During this time he was elected to the National Board of American Camping Association. In 1988, he resigned his position at Huston, and became a lay chaplain at two Washington State prisons, and manager of prison industry in one of them. At this point his interest and gift of working with sex offenders was recognized, and he was hired part time for the Catholic Archdiocese of Seattle to work with prisoners. Also in 1988, he was elected to the board of the Church Council of Greater Seattle and accepted the position as Secretary of the Sister Churches Committee of Seattle-St. Petersburg (Russia). He helped host exchange trips and participated in three. After retiring in 1993, and moving to Floyd County, Cosby accepted the position as the Assistant to the President, Council of Christian Unity, Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) at their offices in Indianapolis where he remained for five years on a part time basis. After living in Floyd for a year, he was elected to the Board of Community Foundation of the New River Valley, where he served for ten years. In 2003 he was elected as a non-fellowship member to the board of SLAA( Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous), the largest and oldest 12-step sexual addiction fellowship in the United States. In 1994, he joined the staff of Chateau Morrisette as a part time greeter for the tasting room, where he served until 2003. Over the summer of 2012 Cosby’s status as a veteran and patient of the Veteran’s Affairs Medical Center in Salem was changed to Home Based Primary Care Unit at the Medical Center. The team is headed by a Nurse Practitioner, Carole Via, and Mary Stewart, R.N.. The R.N. makes regular visits to the home along with, as needed, a Dietician, Social Worker, an Occupational Therapist, a Psychologist, and a Pharmacist. This means that the only visits to the Center are for specialists. Thanks to some good financial advice, Cosby has benefited by a long-term insurance policy. For the past three years the household has enjoyed the service of a full service company providing Carolyn Finney, a certified nurses aide, as a daily companion, Lenore Schruetter as his Occupational Therapist and Kay Vest, Physical Therapist. His life will be celebrated and honored in a service of celebration at Christ Episcopal Church, at 3 p.m. October 20, 2013. If anyone wants to speak about John and the impact he had on their lives, they are encouraged to contact the Rev. Deborah Hunley at 540-343-0159 or at In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to The Community Foundation of the New River Valley, Floyd County Scholarship Fund, for high school graduates, P.O. Box 6009, Christiansburg, VA 24068-6009. Burial of his remains will be in Calvary Churchyard, Fletcher, N.C. at a later date. The family will greet guests after the service at a reception at Christ Episcopal Church 1101 Franklin Road, SW, Roanoke, VA 24016-4397