Dr. Charles R. Cozzens Sr.


JANUARY 9, 1931 – DECEMBER 14, 2021

Charles Richard Cozzens Sr., age 90, passed away peacefully on December 14, 2021 surrounded by his family and loved ones. 

Charles was born in Texas City (Galveston County), TX on January 9, 1931, to George Francis Cozzens and Lottie Ellen Benedict Cozzens. He graduated from the Agricultural and Mechanical College of Texas (Texas A&M University) and was commissioned a 2nd LT of Field Artillery US Army in 1953. He met the love of his life, Martha Ann Hetherington, while teaching vacation Bible school at First Baptist Church in Texas City. They married on December 5, 1953 and with barely 2 pennies to rub together, they made their way to Ft. Bliss, TX, and later to Camp Chaffee, AR. 

Charles, Martha, and their four young, rambunctious sons (plus a dog and cat) moved from Waco, TX to Memphis, TN after Charles accepted a teaching position at Memphis State University. He served on the faculty for over 20 years and retired as the associate dean of the Engineering and Technology Department in 1990. In addition to his career as an educator, Charles honorably served on active duty and in reserve components in the US Army for 30 years, commanding Reserve Infantry and Field Artillery units and serving in staff positions. Charles also retired as the Commandant (Colonel, O-6) of the USAR School in Memphis, TN in 1982. 

At an early age, Charles came under the conviction of the Holy Spirit and became a follower of Jesus Christ. He cherished the hymn ‘Rock of Ages’, especially the verses “Be of sin the double cure, Save from wrath and make me pure”. Over the last 80 years, Charles served in many Southern Baptist churches in numerous teaching and leadership roles. In 1990, Charles and Martha joined First Evangelical Church, Memphis, where he taught high school Sunday School and led multiple Bible studies. 

Charles was a loving husband, father, grandfather (Opah), great grandfather, brother, uncle, educator, artillery officer, farmer, hunter, carpenter, apiarist, prankster, introvert, and friend. He enjoyed farming and hunting deer on his land, planting and harvesting 5,000 oak and pine trees and thinning out the deer population. Charles loved to learn, many times engaging with others to pose atypical questions (such as asking a rabbi how to prepare kosher venison), despite his introverted tendencies. He was a man of many interests, with an incredible work ethic and high integrity. He loved to tell himself jokes and took great joy in teasing, especially his wife Martha: hiding Christmas presents and setting clocks ahead to get to church on time. Charles would do anything for a chuckle, especially at his family’s expense. 

He was preceded in death by his parents, George Francis Cozzens and Lottie Ellen Benedict Cozzens, his brothers, George and Ralph Cozzens, and his eldest granddaughter, Amanda Cozzens McElrath. 

Charles is survived by his wife of 68 years, Martha Hetherington Cozzens, sons Charles Jr. (Linda) Cozzens of Collierville, Stephen (Barbara) Cozzens of Blissfield, MI, Jeffry (Cathy) Cozzens of Bartlett, and Jonathan (Janet) Cozzens of Germantown and a sister, Margaret Ann Cozzens of Crosby, TX. Charles had 8 living grandchildren and 3 great-grandchildren. 

The family requests your presence at A Celebration of Life held in his honor at Memphis Funeral Home & Memorial Gardens, 3700 North Germantown Parkway, Bartlett, TN on December 20th at 2PM with visitation beginning at 12:30PM. 

In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to the following: Missions fund at First Evangelical Church, Texas A&M Corp of Cadets, University of Memphis Herrf College of Engineering, or the charity of your choice.

Charles was a committed and passionate blood donor, providing almost 70 gallons of blood during his lifetime. The family hopes that those who are able to give will continue Charles’s legacy by donating blood in their local community.message for the family and sign on line guestbook visit  https://www.kempffuneralhome.com/.