Beloved Tom Cosgrove dies unexpectedly

Many praise his accomplishments
By: Carol Feineman, Editor
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Tom Cosgrove died Feb. 8 after unexpectedly suffering a stroke the week before.

He was 67.

Since moving from Citrus Heights to downtown Lincoln in 1987, Cosgrove was committed to making Lincoln a better place to live.

The Lincoln Area Chamber of Commerce’s CEO since January 2016, Cosgrove was also a Lincoln City Councilman for 18 years and a NEC Electronics manager for 17 years.

First elected in 1994 to Lincoln City Council, Cosgrove was mayor four times.

During his last meeting as a councilman on Dec. 11, 2012, Cosgrove said he was grateful for the opportunity to work on items “that benefited the community greatly,” such as the General Plan for Lincoln and the Sacramento Region Blueprint for growth.

His council accomplishments were many in the economic development, housing, regional governance and infrastructure areas.

But perhaps what he will best be known for is the almost daily work he did in seeing that the Highway 65 Bypass opened Oct. 7, 2012 after decades of anticipation by the community. (See the adjacent story by Placer County Transportation Planning Agency executive director Celia McAdam.)

In fact, Lincoln Mayor Peter Gilbert would like the bypass to carry Cosgrove’s name.

“We are going to see if the 65 Bypass can be named in his honor,” Gilbert said. “A small token for the years of service to his community.”    

Resident Fran Neves will appreciate the bypass honor.

“We met Tom and (wife) Karen when we first moved to Lincoln in 2003. Ever since then, we have seen him working diligently and tirelessly for the city of Lincoln, in many capacities, especially with the bypass,” Neves said. “I will always remember his engaging smile and genuine compassion for all who knew him. He will be sorely missed but not forgotten. I always told him the bypass should be named after him.” 

Longtime resident Dan Cross also recognized Cosgrove’s work with the Highway 65 Bypass.

Dan Cross, who is on the Planning Commission, called Cosgrove “a dedicated family man” and “a man of very high integrity.” 

“He worked very hard for many years to see the Highway 65 bypass through to completion. He worked with various state and local officials in getting the legislation and money for the bypass,” Cross said. “I have watched and worked with Tom for many years and even those who may disagree with him seem to hold him in high esteem. He earned the respect of those with whom he worked. I will miss Tom. He was definitely one of the good guys.”

Former longtime Lincoln City Councilman Spencer Short also pointed to Cosgrove’s involvement with the bypass.

“Tom was intensely passionate about his family and the city of Lincoln. Tom’s intensity served Lincoln well in fighting for funding of the 65 bypass and for other transportation projects throughout Placer County,” Short said. “Tom understood how to be a team player while being a strong advocate for our community. Tom will definitely be missed by this community.”

Cosgrove was well-known regionally in transportation circles, Short added.

He also “helped develop high standards for our development, was very pro police, pro fire,” Short said. “Tom understood the need for well-planned infrastructure and having a vision for what we need for the future, not just getting through today.”

Cosgrove made work meaningful for the Chamber of Commerce office staff.

“I was blessed that Tom was my boss and mentor. I admired and respected him immensely,” said Alison Santiago, the chamber’s events and membership manager. “Fun to work with and committed to strong values, Tom led with a humbleness that is unlike any other I've experienced. I will genuinely miss his leadership and presence at the chamber and in my life."

Lincoln Area Chamber of Commerce President Mark Luster, who has known Cosgrove for years, said this has been a difficult week for the Lincoln community.

“On behalf of the Lincoln Area Chamber of Commerce, we mourn the passing of our friend and colleague, Tom Cosgrove. We offer our heartfelt condolences to his family.  Please join us in honoring the exemplary life of a great community leader and friend to all who knew him,” Luster said. “We hope the many reminders that surround you of how he has enriched the lives of all who have had the privilege to be associated with him will soon bring you comfort and relief of sorrow.” 

Mayor Gilbert met regularly with Cosgrove to plan partnerships between the chamber and the city.

“He had wonderful insight in how we could help make Lincoln more successful through this relationship. On top of all that, Tom was a gracious and thoughtful person,” Gilbert said. “His warm personality will be sorely missed by all his family, friends and colleagues. His memory will live on for all who knew him. Rest in peace, Tom.”

Services for Cosgrove will be in early March. The dates and times will be announced when finalized.