Richard Oliver Cozzens [Courtesy photo]

Richard Oliver Cozzens, age 84, passed away peacefully at home on Oct. 11.

Cozzens was born on Sept. 21, 1934, in Lovell, Wyoming, the eldest son of Golden Edward Cozzens and Wilma Louise Lynn Cozzens. He attended school in Cowley, Wyoming. While in high school, he set a track record in the Montana-Wyoming area, running the mile in 4:50. The record stood for 12 years.

Cozzens attended the University of Wyoming and graduated with honors in May of 1957 with a degree in civil engineering. While a student, Cozzens married Mary Jane Parkison on June 20, 1954. At the University of Wyoming, he was a member of Sigma Tau, an engineering honor society. As a freshman, he received the award for outstanding ROTC student and as a senior, he served as president of the engineering council as well as the American Society of Civil Engineers.

The family moved to Moab in the spring of 1957, when Richard was offered the position of assistant city engineer. He later became Moab City Engineer for a time. He also started the Cozzens Engineering & Construction Company. He was a member of the Moab volunteer fire department for several years and had a private pilot’s license. He was an active member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and served as a ward clerk, counselor in a ward bishopric, bishop and counselor in two stake presidencies. He also served as an assistant financial clerk for over 26 years.

In 1973, at the young age of 38, he became paralyzed from encephalitis and was confined to a wheelchair. However, this did not stop him from accomplishing monumental goals in his life. He completed the necessary coursework every two years in order to keep his civil engineering license active and continued to supervise every aspect of the development of numerous parcels of land.

In 2002, he and Mary Jane were selected as torchbearers for the 2002 Paralympic Games in Salt Lake City. He will always be an example to his posterity of love, faith, dedication, courage, perseverance, hard work and being joyful in every circumstance. 

He is survived by his devoted wife, Mary Jane, who loved and cared for him, and his children, David (Carri) Cozzens; Karen (Jeff) Acerson; Elaine (Larry) Wood; Paul (Mary) Cozzens; Jennifer (Randy) Nelson; and Ellen (Rick) James. He is also survived by two brothers, Edwin (Janice) of Springville and Steven (Linda) of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. He was preceded in death by his beloved daughter, Debra Kay; his parents; and two brothers, Don and Wayne. He is survived by 29 grandchildren and 30 great-grandchildren.

Funeral services will be held at noon on Wednesday, Oct. 17, at the Moab LDS Stake Center at 701 Locust Lane. A viewing will be held on the previous evening, from 6 to 8 p.m., and on the morning of the funeral, from 10 to 11:30 a.m. at the same location.

Interment will be at the Grand Valley Cemetery in Moab.

Condolences may be sent to the family at