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Pause for Coz

Monday, Jan. 3, 2011

We begin the new year with some sad news -- and with gratitude for a man who lived his life well and, in turn, touched the lives of thousands.

Fr. Richard T. Coz, 86, died of cancer on December 31, 2010 in Regis Infirmary, Sacred heart Jesuit Center, Los Gatos. He was a Jesuit for 63 years, an ordained priest for 52. 

 Fr. Coz was born in Fresno on August 24, 1924. The family moved to Alameda, where Dick Coz attended St. Joseph’s High School, graduating in 1942. He then worked in defense plants in Oakland and Los Angeles before joining the Navy.

After his discharge in 1946, he attended the University of San Francisco for a year and entered the Jesuit Novitiate at Los Gatos on August 14, 1947. 

 Following studies at Los Gatos and Spokane, Coz was assigned to Bellarmine College Prep, San Jose, where he taught Latin and English.

He recalled, “That year at Bellarmine [1954-55] was one of the happiest years of my life. I still have former students as friends.” Theology studies were made at Alma College, Los Gatos, and Coz was ordained to the priesthood on June 13, 1958.

Upon completion of his priestly training, Fr. Coz pursued doctoral studies in economics at the University of North Carolina. In 1963 he began a 32 year association with Santa Clara University as professor of economics and director of the Studies Abroad program (1970-92) based in Durham, England.

He was a very popular teacher (he was named Business School Teacher of the Year, 1990), a counselor, a rugby and soccer enthusiast, a photographer, a friend and mentor, and the priest who officiated at hundreds of marriages and baptisms.

In 2007, SCU alumni established a scholarship fund in honor of Fr. Coz. The “Pause for Coz” was wildly successful, an indication of the love and esteem in which he was held. (Here at SCM, we were at work on a story about the Pause for Coz effort for the spring edition.)

After retiring from university work in 1995, Fr. Coz returned to the high school classroom.

He taught religion and business ethics at Brophy College Prep, Phoenix (1995-98), followed by a nine year association with De La Salle High School in Concord, where he taught religion and served as campus minister to both the school and the Brothers’ communities.

“Our boys have a fond appreciation for Fr. Coz’s presence and ministry,” wrote an administrator, “He is truly a cornerstone of our Kairos retreat program…As an instructor, we are thankful for all he does every day and would be much poorer without his presence.”

Following a stroke in 2007, he went to Sacred Heart Jesuit Center, Los Gatos, where he kept in contact with former students and faculty colleagues through correspondence and a steady stream of visitors.

Fr. Coz is survived by numerous nephews and nieces and his countless Santa Clara and De La Salle friends.

A Funeral Mass will be held on Thursday, January 6 at 7:30 PM in the Mission Church, Santa Clara University, 500 El Camino Real, Santa Clara.

Committal service will take place at Santa Clara Mission Cemetery on Friday, January 7 at 10:00 AM.

Donations in memory of Fr. Coz may be made to the Fr. Coz Endowed Scholarship Fund at Santa Clara University. 

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