Nick Cosma, Jr.
DAMASCUS– Nick Cosma, Jr., of Damascus, Ohio passed from this world to his heavenly home on Tuesday, May 5, 2020. He was 87 and died of natural causes.
Nick was born May 12, 1932 to Romanian immigrants Nick Cosma Sr. and Mary (Ziga) Cosma in their home on the Benton Road in Salem, Ohio.
He grew up a proud Salem Quaker, attending Salem High School where he competed in varsity basketball, wearing #5. Upon graduation in 1950, he began his career alongside his father at the Eljer Company in Salem, soon transitioning to the Ohio Edison Company.
In 1953 Nick both married his high school sweetheart, Jean Snyder Cosma, and was called into service for the United States Army Signal Corps during the Korean War, where he served at Fort Bragg and attained the rank of Staff Sergeant in only two years. Upon discharge, Nick remained a proud veteran and supporter of our nation’s service members for the rest of his life.
After military service, Nick resumed work with Ohio Edison. For 20 years he braved the elements as a lineman, building high voltage electrical towers. He eventually left his climbing gear behind and donned a suit for 25 more fruitful years as the real estate department’s top Senior Right-of-Way Agent.
But his first love was farming! In fact, Nick’s very first job began at age 13 working the John Lora farm for $1.00 a day. Many was the time in later years that he reported “I would have done it for free!” He said all he ever wanted to do was own a farm.
Nick’s aspirations were realized when he and Jean bought a 133-acre property just north of Damascus in 1956. They lived there together for 49 years and raised a family of four.
Nick and Jean farmed the land with the help of their sons, Mark and Tim, raising hogs and up to 1,000 laying hens at one time. The Cosmas also cultivated many acres of sweet corn and were famous for their “honor system” of selling “right off the wagon” from an unmanned station in the yard, trusting all buyers to leave the correct amount in a simple box.
Aside from his professional accomplishments and entrepreneurial endeavors, Nick was a dedicated public servant and community leader. Possessed of seemingly limitless energy and drive, his laundry list of pursuits can only be summarized:
Nick worked annually as an electrician at the Canfield Fair, where he installed the light fixtures that still hang under the fairgrounds Grandstand.
He was heavily involved in the West Branch sports programs in which his sons participated, coaching Little Warrior’s basketball, serving as president of the West Branch Football Booster Club, and founding the West Branch Touchdown Club. Nick was also a driving force behind the construction of the West Branch High School Football Stadium in 1971.
Nick was elected by his neighbors to three terms as a Goshen Township Trustee, serving 12 years, and was instrumental in local Damascus activities for decades.
He chaired the Patriotism and Citizenship Committee of the Damascus Ruritan Club (and for a time served as the club’s President), directed programs for the Damascus Founder’s Week event, and organized John W. Peterson’s “I Love America” community choral cantata for America’s Bicentennial celebration.
Nick was a generous man with a heart for those in need. In his later years, he raised funds for the Relay for Life to fight cancer and mentored a youth as a Big Brother in the Big Brother Big Sisters’ of America program.
Spurring Nick’s sense of civic responsibility was his steadfast optimism in the promise of the American Dream.
Fluent in Romanian, Nick was very proud to be the son of immigrants (Beclean, Romania) and became well-known throughout Northeast Ohio for delivering a moving public address telling his parents’ story entitled “America as Seen Through the Eyes of an Immigrant.” Nick donated all honorariums he received over the years to the Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation.
A man of great reverence and uncompromising faith in Christ, Nick’s industry for the Lord may be his most enduring legacy.
Many will remember his years of service in numerous capacities at Phillips Christian Church: High School Sunday School teacher, Sunday School Superintendent, Deacon, Elder, even softball coach (he was known as an intense competitor himself.) Later, he and Jean volunteered faithfully as members of Greenford Christian Church, and in his last years Nick attended Salem First Friends Church with Joyce Kelly, his devoted friend and companion.
Among Nick’s other passions and interests were:
Supporting his children’s and grandchildren’s careers and endeavors.
Following Cleveland professional sports, especially the 1948 World Series Champion Cleveland Indians.
Personal fitness as a patron of the Salem Community Center.
Traveling with Jean throughout North America to sites of historical significance, as well as Alaska and Nova Scotia.
Membership in the Romanian Luel Society, Damascus Historical Society, and the Ohio Farm Bureau.
Continuous learning and personal growth. Nick was an avid reader of historical biographies and could truly be called an amateur historian of the Second World War; in middle age, Nick furthered his formal education through independent coursework at Kent State University’s Salem branch; and upon retirement, he took up downhill skiing.
And finally, his longest-lived pastime was to sit on the front porch and survey his farm as the sun set.
Nick Cosma Jr. believed in love of country, submission to God, and duty to family and community. He stood for these values each morning when he rose to “attack the day” with boldness and indefatigable energy.
Nick truly embodied zeal for life. Indeed, to many who knew him he often seemed larger than life.
His encouragement will be missed. His passion will be carried forward.
Nick is survived by:
Daughter, Deborah Cosma, Alliance
Son, Mark Cosma (Susan), Alliance
Son, Timothy Cosma (Debra), Salem
Daughter, Peggy Christy (Mike), Sebring
Eight grandchildren, 11 great-grandchildren, and three nephews.
His special friend, Joyce Kelly, of Salem.
He was preceded in death by his wife of 51 years, Jean Snyder Cosma, on March 7, 2005. She was a remarkable woman of God, and truly a saint. She supported Nick in all he did, and her loss is still grieved by all who knew her.
Sister, Mary Whitehill and brother-in-law Bob Whitehill
Sister, Rosie Cosma
A special word of thanks goes to Dr. Thomas Vrable and the loving staff at Crandall Medical Center for their care over the last 15 months, as well as to Dr. Duane Kuentz for many, many years of care and friendship.
Due to the Covid-19 outbreak, services will be held privately.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be sent to Phillips Christian Church at 35459 Salem Grange Road, Salem, OH 44460.
To view Nick’s obituary or send condolences, visit www.starkmemorial.com.