Mr. Richard R. Cosby

  • Born: August 4, 1925
  • Died: June 25, 2012
  • Location: Alexandria, Virginia

Everly-Wheatley Funeral Home

1500 West Braddock Road
Alexandria, VA 22302
Tel. (703) 998-9200

Tribute & Message From The Family

Beloved husband and father Richard Cosby died on June 25, 2012 in Alexandria, VA after losing his battle to cancer.

Richard was a teenage Polish Resistance fighter during the historic Warsaw Uprising in World War II. Severely injured, he became a Prisoner of War at a Nazi camp, who was able to escape, and was eventually saved by US forces in 1945. He then enlisted in the Polish 2nd Corps, a division of the British Army, before graduating from the University of London, Queen Mary College with a degree in Civil Engineering.

Immigrating to the United States in 1956, he began work on the construction of the Interstate Highway System throughout the Northeast. Working for Mueser Rutledge Consulting Engineers, he also helped build additions on many famous Washington DC structures including: the Dirksen Senate Office Building, the National Gallery of Art, the Library of Congress, and the Canadian Embassy.

An avid runner, Richard completed more than 30 marathons to include the Boston, New York, and United States Marine Corps marathons, winning the latter in the age 70 and older category. He also volunteered for decades, teaching swimming and CPR, for the American Red Cross and Boy Scouts.

Richard's life story was profiled in his daughter's best selling book, "Quiet Hero: Secrets From My Father's Past," and he received many accolades for his military heroism. They include the prestigious Medal of Honor Society's Major General James E. Livingston Award, The Americanism Award presented by The Daughters of The American Revolution, and a Gold Medal for Valor by the Defense Minister of Poland.

He is survived by his loving wife of 26 years, Judith Cosby; children, Alan (Katie) Cosby, Rita (Tomaczek Bednarek) Cosby, and Eric Cosby; and grandchildren, Alexandra and James Cosby.

In lieu of flowers, kindly make a contribution in Richard's name to the USO's Operation Enduring Care Program or St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.

Condolence & Memory Journal


Our Buffalo Polonia cannot thank you enough Rita, for bringing to light the heroism of your Dad and his colleagues in your book. He fought for peace and now he experiences true peace in God's presence.

Posted by Joe Macielag - Tonawanda, NY - Acquaintance of Rita Cosby   August 02, 2012

To The Cosby Family
Our deepest sympathy for the loss of such a grand man and beloved father. May his legacy bring you comfort in the days and years to follow. God bless you. Love, The Mckinney Fa.

Posted by Alexis Velez Mckinney - New York, NY   August 02, 2012

If your life's worth is to be measured by the love and respect of those who surround you and your wonderful family then Dear Richard, you are truly one of the wealthiest men on God's green earth. Both Monica and I share in the grief that our dear friend Rita and the entire family must feel, however we believe that celebrating this incredible mans life is much more appropriate. In addition to this, Quiet Hero will allow countless more to have a taste of what a true hero is and will allow others to use his incredible life experiences to mold their own. Rita & Tom, know how much you are loved ...... Forever and a day... Vinny & Monica

Posted by Vincent Forras - Ridgefield, CT - Cousin Vinny   August 02, 2012

Dearest Rita and family,

My sincerest condolences on the passing of your most incredible father who was not only a hero to his country but to all of us who had the pleasure of meeting him through your amazing book dedicated to his life, "Quiet Hero".

My favorite memory of your father was when I told him over the phone about the students who were now reading his book at my Alma Mater, NYU School of Social Work as well as at other universities such as Fordham and Hunter after our efforts to add it to their required reading list. I had suggested "Quiet Hero" to my former professor and dear friend, Ralph DePalo, PhD as reading for his Trauma and Crisis courses. He soon brought "Quiet Hero" in as required reading. You cannot imagine the students reactions to Richard's story of tragedy and heroism - especially military members who were taking the Social Work and Psych courses. Richard was so touched that students were learning about trauma and recovery from the story of his survival and heroism in World War II. Since then, his book has spread to other universities outside New York. It is truly an inspiration and honor to have "Quiet Hero" and its writer Richard's daughter and not so quiet heroine!! as our spokeswoman for our stress initiative on behalf of returning veterans. "Quiet Hero" has a way of opening up people to dialogue about the invisible wounds of war - whether actual war or experiences of trauma in civilian life. I told Richard that his final heroic act of sharing his traumatic story was making a major difference in people's lives and would continue to do so as it reached more and more readers.

He was and is a true hero in every sense of the word. His spirit will live on through his valiant life story that will continue to touch countless lives. I feel blessed to have known him.

With love,


Posted by Lorraine Cancro - Bronxville, NY - friend   August 01, 2012


Dearest Rita,

Tas and I send you our warmest wishes and share your grief. Richard Cosby was not only a model Father, but also a great American. He was an inspiration to so many, and you did such a wonderful job in bringing his patriotism and valour to the world's attention.

May his work and accomplishments serve as reference to others, and May he continue to be looked after by the Lord.

With deepest sympathies,
Amir & Tas

Posted by Amir Dossal - New York, NY - Friends of Rita and Tomaczek   July 30, 2012

I had the pleasure of having Richard as a brother-in-law for over 25 years. He was so kind and caring, always interested in learning everything he could about others, and always quick to laugh and smile. His upbeat personality and optimistic outlook on life was even more impressive once I learned of his incredible Quiet Hero story. I will miss his infectious laugh and talking to him, especially about our shared love of running. Rest in peace, Richard. Love and condolences to Judy, Eric, Rita, and Alan.

Posted by Paula Hoyt - Westford, MA - Sister-in-law   July 29, 2012

Dear Rita,

I am so sorry..

Sincere condolences to you and your family on the loss of your beloved father Lt. Richard R. Cosby (Ryszard Kossobudzki) - Our "Quiet Hero"

Bogdan Wgrzynek z rodzin, Marek Plichta z rodzin i wiele, wiele osób z caej spoecznoci polskiej

Nowy Scz

Posted by Bogdan Wgrzynek - Nowy Scz   July 27, 2012

Rita, you have my love and support during this time of grief. There are no words we can express in comfort, but know this, I'm praying for you and your family and I send forth my angels to minister to your needs at this time.
God Bless my friend and Godspeed.

Posted by Regina Mead - Monroe, CT - Friend   July 25, 2012

Dear Rita,

You have my sincere condolences on the passing of your dear father. Reading your book about his life was awe inspiring and something that I will never forget. I also treasure having met such an exceptional man. He touched so many lives, and changed history through his bravery and strong convictions. If only there were more men in the world like him - simply extraordinary.

May he rest in peace and you find solace in the memories of having been blessed with such a fine man for a father.

With love,
Barbara (Lorraine's sister)

Posted by Barbara Cancro Carr - Riverside, CT - friend   July 24, 2012

Dear Rita,
Our sincere condolences on the passing of your beloved father, Richard. Though I wasn't fortunate enough to have met him, I was blessed to be introduced to him through your brilliantly written book. Our Polish blood runs deep and I feel like I have known him for years. His deep set eyes speak volumes. God Bless you Richard, and may the good Lord guide you, your family and Tomaczek during this most difficult time. We love you guys... Donna and Mariusz

Posted by Donna Koch - Garfield, NJ - friend   July 19, 2012

Rita & Family,
Sending thoughts, prayers, sympathy and lots of hugs duirng this difficult time.

Cathy Cameron Hylinski & Family

Posted by Catherine Cameron Hylinski - Delray Beach, FL - Friend of Rita's   July 17, 2012

Dear Rita:

Sincere condolences to you and your family on the loss of your beloved father.

In Sympathy,
Elaine Graves

Posted by Elaine Graves - Washington,, DC   July 14, 2012



Every time I talked to Richard he would often surprise me and ask about minor insignificant things I might have told him about years earlier. Just shows how caring he was.

RIP Richard.

Posted by David Hoyt - Haverhill, MA - Brother In Law   July 13, 2012

Dear Rita:
I'll never forget meeting your Father for the first time. I felt such a spiritual and magical connection to him; I had gotten to know him through my connection with you in writing the book,but to meet him in person was as great as meeting the President of the United States (well...maybe not our current President!)
I'm so glad that you found one another again, and that your relationship was able to flourish in love and mutual respect. It was obvious to me that he was as proud of you, Rita-girl, as you were of him. Your book was about a hero and a heroine. The events generated after the book was published, and the sharing of your lives following the book was a beautiful story of love between the two of you. What you gave to your dad was more than he could ever have hoped for...the trip back to Poland, the reunion with his completed him. I'm so glad that you were able to jointly "write" that final chapter together. It was as important as the book itself.
And now, your Dad will be your guaardian angel, watching over you.
Love you,

Posted by Lorri Scott - New York, NY - Close friend of Rita Cosby   July 12, 2012

So sorry of your Father's passing. Please know that the gift of memory will comfort you in the times ahead. You are such a good daughter and wonderful person.

We love you...

Posted by Anne & Tony Lippard - Charlotte, NC - friend   July 12, 2012

I was so sorry to hear of your father's passing. Because of your book, I feel as though I knew him. He lived life to the fullest. On behalf of the entire DARE family, I want you to know that our thoughts and prayers are with you.

Posted by Charlie Parsons - Manhattan Beach, CA   July 12, 2012

Dear mrs Cosby, my sincere condolences during this painful time. I pray grace and peace over you and your precious family. I have great respect for his for his heroism and fierce patriotism in the Resistance in Poland. How he fought for his country humbles me deeply. A true hero. I thank God for his life, his love for you and children, and America.
May you find comfort during this time . As a passionate lover of this country and your husbands sacrifice, even though we have never met, I put my arms around you and weep with you all. God bless you . Sincerely and respectfully yours, Diane Venora

Posted by Diane Venora - Glendale, CA   July 12, 2012

Dear Rita,
Your Dad loved you...then and now. You made the last part of His Life--The Best Part!


Posted by Rick Kiernan - Alexandria, VA - Family Friend   July 12, 2012


I'm so sorry for the loss of your dad.I hope you can be comforted by the fact that because of you, he was justly honored during his lifetime. He certainly must have inspired you to perform the good works that you do specifically for the Drug Abuse Resistance Education (D.A.R.E.) program. We are eternally grateful for your many years of support in keeping this country's kids drug and violence free and those in over fifty other countries. God bless you and your dad.

Posted by Ronald J Brogan - Bronxville, NY - a proud friend   July 12, 2012


I'm not sure if you remember me, but I was on your radio show with Peachy Deegan regarding our family owned American made Ener-Gel Insoles. Our company is extremely patriotic (Thank You Richard!) and supports the Wounded Warrior Project. You certainly had a terrific father and I'm quite certain he is incredibly proud of you.

My dad Paul worked in an underground coal mine for 40 years and only missed 2 days of work (pneumonia). He was selected among nearly 15 men to work (based on seniority) during the worst underground mine fire in the Johnstown, PA area in the late 1970's. Unfortunately, he and the other men died within a few years after getting lung cancer. Dad ultimately died when I was a senior in high school, but as a Veteran and a Coal Miner, he was able to teach me the values of a great work ethic...which our family now applies to the insole business.

I previously worked for the Pittsburgh Steelers in their Scouting Dept. (1988-1990). I work Mike Krzyzewski's Duke basketball camp each year and I was talking to Coach K and stated, "you know coach there are two people I know that carried a rosary with them daily (my dad and Art Rooney Sr - Steelers Founder and former owner) and he said, "well you now know a 3rd person and pulled a set of rosaries out of his pocket.

Even though you and I both lost our fathers to cancer, the wonderful memories and lessons learned will passed on to future generations. Although we both miss our dads, I enjoy reflecting on the good times and the ultimate comfort of our Catholic religion allows our certainty in knowing that our dads are in a great place now with our Lord.

Take care and our prayers are with you.

Ron, Gwen, Aric, Katee, Ryen Gresko

Posted by Ron Gresko - Penn Run, PA - friend   July 11, 2012

Heroes walk among us and never speak of there heroics. Most never seek or get the recognition they deserve. Such a man was Richard R. Cosby. He could have been among the millions who go quietly into that good night but he had Rita. A daughter with the kind of love and admiration every father hopes for.
Because of her we all know the story of Mr. Cosby and his heroism. The story he, and so many like him, lived was something he would have been content to take with him on June 25th, but there was Rita. Ordinary men, doing extraordinary things, when they are called to. Standing tall when others choose to walk away.
They are among us today and we can only wish them a loved one like Rita. Because of her we all know her Dad, and we are all richer for that.
Richard and Rita are in our thoughts and prayers today. Know that the love and admiration you, Rita, had for your Dad was returned a hundred fold. What could be more comforting, at this time, than that?
With love,
Bill & Janis Corsair

Posted by Bill & Janis Corsair - New York, NY   July 11, 2012

Our hearts go out to you and your family. Your book about your dad's life documented a story that had to be told for he represents all those who did not have a voice to tell theirs. The legacy he leaves is the model for heroes of the future and a lesson in never giving up. We wish you and Tomaczek the peace in knowing that reconnecting with him enriched your lives.

Dick & Joan

Posted by Dick Boyden - Williamsburg, VA - Friend   July 11, 2012

We believe he will have eternal peace in heaven. We promise our prayers.

Wyrazy gbokiego wspóczucia.

Anna, ukasz Jamro z rodzin, Gorlice, maopolska, Polska.

Posted by ukasz, Anna Jamro    July 11, 2012

My deepest sympathy to the entire Cosby family over the loss of their loved one. Richard Cosby is an inspiration to all. His heroic acts, his emotional tenacity, his love for freedom and his love of family serves as an inspiration to those left behind. Through his legacy, he provides us hope and strength in our own lives. He lives on in memory through his life well lived. Thank you, Richard Cosby, for all you did. May God Bless you always, and may your family be continually comforted by fond memories.

Posted by Karen Bune - Arlington, VA - Friend   July 11, 2012

I am so sorry for your loss and send my sincere sympathy for the entire family. You are in my thoughts and prayers.

Posted by Joan Bender - Williamsburg, VA - Friend of Rita Cosby   July 11, 2012

Though I was not fortunate enough to have met Rita's dad in person, I feel as if I knew him through her passionate words in Quiet Hero, which is one of the best patriotic books and best books of tribute I've ever seen. Richard Cosby is an American Hero and his American dream lives on in Rita through her genuine, extraordinary love for the USA that she exemplifies in her work each day.

Posted by Peachy Deegan - NY, NY - Friend   July 10, 2012


Dear Rita,

Words fall short of expressing my sorrow for your loss.
May the peace that comes from the memories of love shared comfort you now and in the days ahead.

Most Sincerely
Demetrios Katis

Posted by Demetrios Katis - Athens   July 10, 2012

I am so sorry for your loss...

Posted by Eben Bronfman - New York, NY   July 10, 2012

My heart goes out to the family as Rita Cosby has always been a dear friend to me and even though we have been miles apart due to different life styles I will always have Rita and her family in my heart. Rita has always talked highly of her father and he will be deeply missed. My prayers are with you all.
My deepest sympathys.

Maria Miller

Posted by Maria Miller - New Canaan, CT - Friend of Rita Cosby   July 10, 2012


To Rita and your entire family - I hold you and your dad in my prayers in these trying times -
(and I feel blessed for having met your father at the Polish Embassy and immersed myself in his history through 'Quiet Hero' - thank you Rita and rest in peace Ryszard Kossobudzki - Godspeed.
Love - Paul

Posted by Paul Campilii - Rye, NY - friend of Rita's   July 10, 2012

Rita, my thoughts and prayers are with you and your family members at this time. The world is blessed and a better place because of your wonderful dad. May he always continue to live on through your book. Love and Condolences from Kim and Eric Damer and family.

Posted by Kimberly Plummer - Studio City, CA - Rita's Friend   July 10, 2012


Dearest Rita,

My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family at this very sad time, the lost of your father. Thank you so much for letting me know.

Your father was a brave hero and I am glad that the Daughters of the American Revolution were able to honor him at Constitution Hall and that you shared his story with us in your book, "Quiet Hero".

He was lucky to have such a proud and loving daughter, just as you felt so priveledged to have him as a father.

With Love & Deepest Sympathy,


Posted by April Sandmeyer - New York, NY - Friend   July 09, 2012

Aloha dear Cosby Family

Our deepest sympathy to you from Joe and Gail mitchell, Maui, Hawaii

We honor Richard, as we felt we knew him through Rita and through the book, "Quiet Hero." we also have the connection that our father was in World War II in the U.S. Army Infantry and was one of the first to free prisoners from conentration camps. Our father also lived in Greenwich, Connecticut and the horros of the war affected him the rest of his life.

We attend daily morning mass at our parish, St. theresa Catholic Church in Kihei, Maui, Hawaii, and we will be offering a special mass in Richard's honor.

Our hearts and our prayers are with you Rita and your family. e love you,

Joe and Gail

Posted by Joe and Gail Mitchell - kihei, Maui,, HI - friend of Rita's   July 09, 2012

Sorry to hear of your Dad's passing.
You are in my prayers!
Marilyn Altman

Posted by Marilyn Altman - Georgetown, SC - Friend   July 09, 2012

Richard inspired his daughter Rita to be a warrior in the never ending battle to preserve freedom. He will be missed even by those of us who only knew him through Rita's words and recollections. He left a magnificent legacy, Rita herself. Richard, Rest in peace. Betsy McCaughey

Posted by Betsy McCaughey - New York City, NY - friend of Rita's   July 09, 2012

Dzienkuje za odanie siebie dla Polski. R.I.P Wojtek K z NJ

Posted by Wojciech K - NJ   July 08, 2012

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