Richard Tillman Coz, S.J. touched the lives of thousands
When Fr. Richard T. Coz, 86, died of cancer on New Year's Eve at the Sacred Heart Jesuit Center in Los Gatos, he left behind numerous nieces and nephews—and generations of Broncos who mourn his loss. A funeral Mass was held on Jan. 6 in the Mission Church, with John Privett, S.J., presiding and 1,000 friends, family, and former students in attendance.
Born in Fresno on Aug. 24, 1924, Coz was raised in Alameda. He worked in defense plants in Oakland and Los Angeles, served in the Navy, and entered the Jesuit Novitiate at Los Gatos in 1947. He studied theology at Alma College in Los Gatos (now the Jesuit School of Theology of Santa Clara University) and was ordained to the priesthood in 1958.
Following doctoral studies in economics at the University of North Carolina, in 1963 Coz began a 32-year association with Santa Clara: as professor of economics and, later, director of the Studies Abroad program (1970–92) based in Durham, England. Students fondly remember his lessons in "Cozonomics" and the "law of supply and demand with pizza and beer."
In addition to being a popular teacher—he was named Business School Teacher of the Year in 1990—he was a counselor, a rugby and soccer enthusiast, a photographer, a friend and mentor, and the priest who officiated at hundreds of marriages and baptisms.
His former students were inspired to start the Pause for Coz scholarship program in 2007 (see following story on the Pause for Coz). For last year's celebration, President Michael Engh, S.J., wrote to thank Coz: "You built long-lasting bonds with students and alumni that few can match. You inspired them in their studies and in their sports. And you have motivated them to do what we ask of all our graduates—to give back to the community in ways that serve others in need."
A true shepherd
With mourners gathered in the Mission Church, Fr. Coz's friend and colleague, Professor Emeritus of History Tim O'Keefe, noted that Coz "married my wife Julia and me, he blessed our first home, and he baptized our children here in the Mission Church." And, O'Keefe said, "Early in my career at Santa Clara, Fr. Coz gave me the best advice I ever received about teaching … 'When a student comes to see you,' he said, 'he comes to see you.'"
In words read at the Mass, Bucky Canales '80 described Coz as "loyal, caring, challenging, open to listening, forgiving, supportive, and a shepherd in the truest sense of the word. He kept an eye on his flock long after it had moved on to new pastures and was always there when we came home to seek comfort."
After retiring from university work in 1995, Coz returned to the high school classroom. He taught religion and business ethics at Brophy College Prep, Phoenix, followed by a nine-year association with De La Salle High School in Concord.
NEXT PAGE: Read about the Pause for Coz scholarship—a way to honor a mentor and friend.