Jerry L. Cosgrove
June 18, 1938 – March 7, 2021
Jerry L. Cosgrove passed away peacefully on Sunday, March 7, 2021. Throughout the weekend, he was surrounded by his immediate family, who found comfort in the kinship of gathering, and the multitude of shared memories that spoke of a life well lived by a great man. A courageous entrepreneur, and a successful businessman, Jerry was foremost a generous caretaker of his family.
Born on June 18, 1938 in Petoskey, Michigan to Jenna (née Crowley) and Earl R. Cosgrove, he was raised in Lansing, Michigan, attending Resurrection Catholic School for 12 years. In 1957, when he was 19, he met his future wife, Mary Meyer, at the Palomar Roller Rink, a destination favored by the young people of both Lansing and East Lansing. They were married on January 17, 1959 at St. Thomas Aquinas Church in East Lansing, Michigan. Soon after they started their family, having a daughter and three sons. They first settled in Lansing for several years before they moved to Detroit in 1963.
As a talented illustrator, Jerry began his career at a commercial design studio in Lansing, Michigan. Later, he moved to Detroit to work at an agency specializing in the auto industry, ultimately launching his own studio. In 1970, he made the decision to leave his successful business, and moved his young family to New York City where he established a versatile design agency, Cosgrove Associates. He actually became a conduit and mentor for talent who sought to emulate his move from Michigan to Manhattan. As a visionary business owner who recognized a broader opportunity in New York, he also consistently navigated the evolution of his industry, thereby positioning himself at the forefront of technology in design. Included among his important and leading clients were Xerox, IBM, Reader’s Digest, FAO Schwarz, Citibank, and Visa among a myriad of others.
Cosgrove was a lover of New York City, and relished the pace and energy of his surroundings. Among his favorite watering holes was Elaine’s, where he spent time with colleagues and friends as a welcome patron. He was a contributing artist and a longtime member of The Society of Illustrators.
Jerry served as a youth sports coach for all three of his sons (football, basketball, baseball), and was appreciated by both his own children and their friends. In one reflection about Jerry, a friend commented, “amid the many fine parents of my Edgemont years, and among all the dads of the day, Jerry C. really stood out.”
Along with his wife Mary, Jerry was a decades long member of Fox Meadow Tennis Club, and a tennis and paddle enthusiast. The Cosgroves have lived in Edgemont, New York for more than 50 years, and thrived in the company of many fine friends.
One of the great family legacies that was sponsored by Jerry and Mary Cosgrove was known as the Surv-n-Surf, an annual summer badminton competition for friends and family that took on a surprisingly professional bent. It was a rare combination of hosts providing an understated luxury for their guests, partnered with simple and pure family fun. Friends and relatives came from around the country to attend, and Jerry’s grandchildren will state that it is one of the central experiences of their lives. It was a weekend that was more than a yearly get together, and in fact fostered lessons of acceptance and inclusion, encouraged fierce competition, and championed fair play and gracious behavior. No matter the number of years that pass, the Surv-n-Surf will remain as a storied event in the Cosgrove family’s shared experience.
Jerry is survived by his wife of 62 years, Mary Cosgrove (née Meyer) and their four children: Tracey Cosgrove (Mark McKinney), Todd Cosgrove (Kimberly Jones Cosgrove), Scott Cosgrove, and PJ Cosgrove (Jennifer Weber Cosgrove), 8 grandchildren: Marla Barker, Justin Cosgrove (Erica Fitzpatrick Cosgrove), Charlotte Cosgrove (Craig Reimer), Macklin Cosgrove, Margot Cosgrove, Patrick Cosgrove, Grace Cosgrove, and Mickey Cosgrove, and one great grandson, Carlisle William Cosgrove. He is also survived by his brother, Patrick Cosgrove (Patricia Cosgrove), and many nieces and nephews. He is predeceased by his older brother, Michael.
In lieu of flowers, please consider making a donation to your favorite charity in Jerry’s name. A celebration of Jerry Cosgrove’s life will occur on Sunday, June 6, from l:00 to 4:00 at the Cosgrove home, 50 Popham Road, Scarsdale, New York.
A celebration of Jerry Cosgrove’s life
1:00 pm - 4:00 pm
The Mullen Home
Jerry L. Cosgrove
March 16, 2021
Dear Cosgrove Family,
I am so deeply sorry for your loss. I worked for Jerry many, many years ago -- at the very beginning of my career -- and yet I have more vivid memories of my time there than anywhere else.
One of them is what led me to google his name this morning: St. Patrick's Day lunches at the Illustrator's Club. Jerry really loved to treat his employees to a special, fun time. Lucky Chan's, Pomp Duck and Circumstance, so many others.
My fondest memories though, are traveling with Jerry. I was so young and he was my boss and the founder of the agency yet he treated me with such respect. He valued my opinion and was a wonderful mentor to me. I would always travel with days worth of food in my bag. Always. And Jerry would always tease me about it. Until the day we got stuck on a flight home from California and suddenly I didn't look so crazy. I pulled out my full gourmet meal. And one for him as well. He was most grateful -- and never teased me about it again.
May his memory be a blessing.
March 12, 2021
Working with Jerry was a complete pleasure . He was exceptionally talented and a smart businessman. He met all the crazy deadlines and brought style, grace, and a smile to every meeting and project. What fun it was to see Jerry out on the town in Manhattan, where he seemed to know everyone - the consummate and dapper host .
But most of all, Jerry was a kind and generous human being who helped so many of us along the way. A gracious and giving man who will be sorely missed.
March 12, 2021
I worked with Jerry for more than 40 years and on 3 continents. In all that time and in all those places his work was right on the mark, full of market-appropriate creativity and effectiveness. He was just as at home abroad as he was at home.
I fully expect that Jerry will forever remain the only person I know who adds ice to his beer -- an endearing quirk and another demonstration of out-of-the-box thinking!
His memory should be a blessing to his family and all who knew him.
March 12, 2021
My Uncle Cos, what a guy! Class act! I'm so sorry Aunt Mil and family for your loss. Folks don't get any better than this. The yearly "Surv n Surfs" he and my Aunt Mary hosted were events not to be missed and were the highlight of my late husband Jims & my summers. I remember one year Cos mentioned he liked Jim's white golf shirt and Jim couldn't wait to bring him one back the following year. Or maybe we sent it in the mail. Not sure but Jim loved talking to Cos and wanted to find a way to help out in any way he could. Uncle Jerry did so much to make sure everyone had a great time! Spigas...that food with family, We will never forget those Friday nights before the games began...so many good times.Again, I'm so so sorry for your loss Aunt Mary. And to all of my cousins and the rest of the Cosgrove family you are so blessed to have had a man such as Jerry Cosgrove as the head of your Clan. He will be missed! God Bless you all and we plan on celebrating Jerry Cosgrove with all of you in June. Love & hugs! Karla
March 11, 2021
Firstly, I'd just like to say I'm so sorry for the loss of Jerry.
My name is Dave Peckett, and I moved to New York in 1997 straight out of design college in the UK. I had no job and nowhere to live in New York when I arrived, I just had a portfolio case bigger than me and a hope that someone would hire me. Fortunately for me, that someone was Jerry.
I worked at Cosgrove for just over 8 years. I've now been in the design business for almost 25 years and I can say that my time spent with Jerry was the highlight of my career.
He was the best boss I've ever had. He would always say to me 'Gee Whizz Peckett' what have you done now, and then grin at me whenever he didn't like my latest design work. He used to take me out on the town and I still remember those nights out to this day, hanging out at Smith & Wollensky or having Mexican upstairs in Zarela's.
When I left New York, 2 years later, I returned, and when Jerry heard about this he held a 'homecoming party' for me and my wife. I still have the picture of the New Yorker magazine cover he gave me hanging on my wall in Ireland and I think of him everytime I look at it.
In closing ,Jerry would always say to me 'he is a swell guy' and to me that's exactly what Jerry was.
March 9, 2021
Jerry was a valued addition to the sports life of Edgemont as a coach, general enthusiast and attendee of many, many games and sporting events. He was a fine gentleman.
March 9, 2021
Having worked with Jerry for three years, I can honestly say that he truly was one of the kindest people on this earth. Always a joy to work with. A true gentle soul; a model for how to conduct business. A loss for us all. My thoughts and prayers are with him and his family. My heartfelt condolences. 😢
March 9, 2021
To the entire Cosgrove family, I am very sorry for your loss. Jerry was an incredibly special man who had a profound impact on my life, both personally and professionally. I consider myself lucky to have known him for over two decades. Over the years I watched, listened and looked up to Jerry as I admired and respected how he treated clients, conducted business, brought creativity to the table, and created a family culture in the workplace. But most of all I valued his friendship, our chats and watching him enjoy a Heineken on ice - all of which I will cherish forever. Jerry was a truly a special gentleman. RIP my friend.
March 9, 2021
I'm sorry to hear of Jerry's passing but so glad he was surrounded by his family. Jerry was a great role model and agency partner, and he will be missed. I'll think of him every year when I put my NY taxi on my Christmas tree, a gift from Jerry and his agency from decades ago.