from Steve Featherstone

Shared by Judith Cosgrove on 8th April 2017

Jack was one of the truly great people in the world.  In fact, I can only think of one other person that I've met that included the same combination of brilliance, decency, loyalty, and a sincere curiosity for the people and world around him.

Either late last summer or early in the fall Jack called and left a message for my mother.  The caregivers let me know that Jack had called and provided me with his number.  I called him back and wwe chatted for a good 20 minutes.  We had a good talk regarding Jennie and Russell, as well as his two grandsons.  He asked about my wife and kids, too.  We laughed about the camping trip  we took to Marshall, along with Russell, many years ago.  I feel fortunate I was able to have that one last conversation with him.  Jack meant a great deal to me, and that last call gives me a sense of closure.

Growing up I was lucky to come into contact with some amazing people due to my father's Stanford and Wharton connections.  However, Jack was always my favorite.  The world is a smaller place without him, and he is just the type of person the world needs more of at this time.

Fond memories

Shared by Don Davis on 4th April 2017

Jack Cosgrove was a man whose knowledge, generosity and humor enriched all who knew him.

I knew him as the owner, with his wife Alice, of the Mansion at #3 Altree Court in Atherton. In the late 60s I briefly met Jack and Alice at their house near Peninsula School. Among the people who frolicked after hours at that beautiful old school grounds with it's huge rope swing were Andy Breffitt, Gordon Seagraves and Timas Samuelson, Alice's daughter.
After my sojourn on the East Coast selling art in Science Fiction conventions, I reconnected with Andy in October 1973 and he took me over to the Mansion where he was living. I met Jack and Alice there, and apparently made a good impression as I was offered a room on the Third Floor as someone else was then moving out. Over the next nine years I was to enjoy not only the founding of my art career there, I had the pleasure of many stimulating dinner discussions led by Jack.

Politics and news featured prominently in his table talk, but occasionally one of his legal cases would be the subject of discussion, with some of us being asked to think like a juror on this or that aspect of the case. Jack wore a beard and reminded me of a thin version of the famous portrait of Henry VIII. Once to cater to known prejudices of a judge he shaved off the beard, showing steadfast concentration on doing whatever he could to win the case.

His political savvy was only matched by his energy and drive. When President Nixon's 'enemies list' came to light Jack wrote him and asked to be placed on that list, that he pledged to do everything in his power to work against his political interests, and he cited some instances of Nixon's past bad behavior. A copy of his letter was pinned to a bulletin board downstairs.He was a Liberal Democrat in all its best connotations, always aware of the winds good and ill blowing across the land. In the years after the Mansion, we would occasionally talk of world events and politics, Jack always having insightful observations based on decades of attention.
When arch conservative Supreme Court judge Scalia died last year I called to relay the news and that made his day, prompting him into a discussion of the 'Scalawags', political profiteers of the Reconstruction era. One was likely to come away from a conversation with Jack the richer for it in knowledge.

He was generous not only with his wonderful home, but with the experiences he loved to share. A high point of my years there was a lengthy trip to Havasupi Canyon. Jack's children and their friends were there as was Andy and I, experiencing the red canyon walls, green trees, blue skies and vivid turquoise miniature fairyland waterfalls. His frequent trips across the world inspired me to travel, my 1980 Total Eclipse trip to India was my first such voyage.

An aspect I knew of only peripherally was Jack's devotion to football. He attended games, including some big ticket events. He waged nagging battles with physical problems which were faced with courage and endurance. Jack was attentive to politics to the last. As the first series of scandals emerged from the Trump Administration he explained things like the Emoluments Clause to me. His political advice was to by default vote the Democratic ticket, and unless there is good reason to do otherwise I intend to follow his advice.

I will always miss calling him up and getting his informed long view of the headlines. But his generosity and wisdom enriched my life in ways I shall always be grateful for, and his family has so much more to celebrate from their depth of sharing his life and wisdom.

From Tom Lockie

Shared by Judith Cosgrove on 1st April 2017

Jack and I met at Webb School in 1947.  I recall studying with him for the College Board exams.  He was one of the smartest - he seemed to know all the answers.  But beyond that I don't think I've ever known anyone with a more positive attitude about everything; he was always up even when he had ample reason not to be.

I have shared your note with Jack's good friend Hugh Evans.  Jack and Hughie were fraternity brothers at Stanford. (Hughie is my brother-in-law, married to my sister, Lynn.) Jack and Hughie played varsity basketball together at Webb; we watched them and we watched Jack pitch varsity baseball.

Ann and I had dinner with Jack and Jennie, I believe it was last October, and we all enjoyed having her there.(Ann and I had met Jennie at Amherst at a DKE party, of all places!) The restaurant was the same one (in Menlo) where Ann and I had dined, perhaps 20 ears ago, with Jack and Chandler Flickinger.  I roomed with Chan for 2 of 3 years at the law school.  I believe Jack and Chan practiced law together.

I recall Jack was very involved in the felony voting issue, and I was, frankly, skeptical that perhaps it was a Bay Area liberal thing.  But after Jack shared 2 or 3 of his briefs with me I realized that he was on the right side after all.

He was a star! 

Jack - my good brother

Shared by Bob Cosgrove on 25th March 2017


We were both known for our Lewis and Clark type spirit which led to many adventures, as far north as Yellow Knife in the Northwest Territory (almost to Iceland) via a rented car in southwest Canada.

When Jack was 16 years of age we were headed to England.  Prior to boarding the SS Queen Mary to visit mom's two sisters in Bournemouth, England, we spent a fun day exploring New York City.  Then we self toured the ship.

Other trips involved a number of state parks in the U.S.  Our rule of the road was to ignore any "no access" sign posts, regardless of any obstacles that we could move.  Curiosity took precedence.


I followed Jack from Hamilton grade school, to Polytechnic, to Web school in CA, and then to Stanford.  Jack attended Stanford Law School, then moved to the San Francisco Peninsula to start his career in law.

Jack and I have had tons of fun making wonderful memories.

I surely will miss him.

Love to Russell, Jen, Judy and all the children.

Submitted for Elisabeth McPhail

Shared by Judith Cosgrove on 13th March 2017

Judy and I had been friends from junior high.  Judy came to our very hot wedding in Sacramento in August, but jack was studying for the bar so missed our big day.  I think the first time my husband met Jack was in September of that year - 1959.   Ian was in his first year of law at Boalt.  Jack and Judy had a little apartment in San Francisco.  Jack had finished Stanford Law School with a stellar performance and was working with a very prestigious law firm in San Francisco.  Ian. by husband, had recently arrived from England and was still unacquainted with some of the most important features in American life  -  one, being the World Series. Also,  I think he was somewhat surprised to find himself studying law.  Jack was marvelous.  He was enthusiastic about the law, was encouraging, and became a bit of a mentor.  They also had a great time talking politics.  But the memory that really stands out was dear Jack, trying so hard to follow the baseball game, while being a good host and keeping up the good conversation with Ian. who was totally ignorant about American baseball and not very interested.  Thank you, Jack.   I picture the evening so clearly.      Elisabeth Johnson McPhail, and Ian

Life of the party

Shared by Rodney McDaniel on 11th March 2017

I left home about the time Judy and Jack got married, so my encounters with Jack were during infrequent visits and usually at family gatherings.  Thus I can't reflect on mountain hikes and stuff like that.  What I do remember is that he filled whatever space he was in.  He had a presence about him, aided by a good voice, that made him the center of attention, when he wished to be.  We were both liberal Democrats so it was easy to talk the politics of the day, Jack always having strong opinions strongly voiced.  Occasionally the lawyer in him would come out and he would get into legal aspects of an issue.  I usually was coming from Washington so was expected to offer an "expert" point of view on issues, but Jack usually knew as much or more than I did and always had the last word.  Hard to think of him as gone.  


Shared by Jeanette Cosgrove on 9th March 2017

Throw cold water on Goldwater! is my earliest memory of Dad, teaching me how to splash in my first water fight. It must have been the 1964 Johnson v Goldwater election year. I was two years old and knew nothing of JFK or the grassy knoll but I was learning that words could rhyme. 

There are  strange things done in the midnight sun
by the men who moil for gold;
The arctic trails have their secret tales
That would make your blood run cold....

(Robert Service) 

Dad had a loud, sometimes booming voice, and an impressive memory for language. The quotes popped up on car rides and camping trips, everything from slogans to poetry, especially Shakespeare.

The quality of mercy is not strained.
It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
Upon the place beneath. It is twice blessed:
It blesseth him that gives and him that takes.

He was very energetic and very enthusiatic, and sometimes he moved his large frame around recklessly: you had to watch out for those flying elbows and knees. I eventually learned to speed walk to keep up with his long strides.  He was forgiving about my own recklessness and never got mad if we kids spilled stuff.

His favorite memory of my early years was my first hike: Dad and I sneaked into Foothill Park the back way and walked into Wild Horse Valley with me on his shoulders part of the way. He liked to recall in later years that I declared I wanted to go because "I've never seen a valley before!" We lived in Portola Valley at the time but I was picturing a green scoop in the land like two cupped hands as in my story book. I couldn't read yet.  I don't think we saw any horses but I was happy with the cows.

My first bike-riding "lesson" came along in preschool when Dad put me on the seat of his own bike, sized for his 6'2" frame, and ran down the steep driveway of our house on Golden Oak as if pushing a trike. I remember the speed, the fear, and wondering  "Is this really safe?"

And now the leather-covered sphere came hurtling through the air,
And Casey stood a-watching it in haughty grandeur there.
Close by the sturdy batsman the ball unheeded sped --
"That ain't my style" said Casey. "Strike one!" the umpire said.

He read many books to me and Russ at night, sometimes on airplanes: Robin Hood, Treasure Island, The Call of the Wild, Sherlock Holmes, The Hobbit and The Trilogy, and on and on.  All the classics of his own youth and comtemporary authors too. We would beg for more just one more chapter until his eyes gave out.

I remember his proud work on the successful effort to lower the voting age to 18 in the Vietnam era.

We the people, in order to form a more perfect union....

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth upon this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty....

Nixon was Tricky Dicky.

Come, don't be shy with me, I'll have the whole FBI with me
down at the old Watergate....

I remember being off-trail-but-not-lost  in the Sierra, watching him stride across granite outcroppings on the way to Bud Lake in Yosemite. Scouting for the cairns that marked our trail. We found our way and got a geology lesson. If only I had inherited his memory for information of all kinds....

On another backpacking trip we hiked into Havasu, a side canyon of the Grand, and camped by a blue-green pool fed by a hidden limestone aquifer. I remember walking through the village of the Havasupai, the People of the Blue-Green Waters. I ran by waterpools and pools, too amazed to be tired at the end of the day.

When we visited Dad's Aunt Mary and cousin Graham in Bournemouth, we California kids were allowed to run around playing Battledore in the rain. The English cousins were called in to put on their macs and boots but Russ and I had no macs. Dad wasn't concerned though I think we did have to keep our shoes on as a concession. 
Dad was not bound by convention in that way.
The three of us kept climbing higher and higher at St Paul's Cathedral until we escaped the other tourists, and finally there was just a ladder ascending. Someone (I recall a monk in a robe...) pointed at it, and we kids each got a turn to lift our heads outside in a strong wind and view all of London and the Thames spread out below.

I come to bury Caesar not to praise him.
The evil that men do lives after them;
The good is oft interred with their bones....

Back in the Bay Area.....I'll never forget the famous Plywood Case. I got to watch him in court during that long, long litigation about faulty plywood on a shopping center. I remember him exhibiting odd little squares of plywood. He discussed the case around the dinner table for months -- when he wasn't talking about Darwin's theories or the timeline of World War II, or something else that caught his interest.

Dad's house on East Creek in Menlo Park was a family meeting place for weekly dinners and holidays during the last 25 years of his life. I remember heading there on November 4th, 2008 to share Obama's victory speech. 
Russell's sons Kevin and Brendan came over every weekend: the games progressed from Jengo and Squares in grade school to bridge (though we never kept a running score.) Dad liked to play music very loud which often caused controversy with Mom (Judy).
His crutches often seemed to go missing or turn up underfoot, and over the years he wrapped them with copious amounts of red and blue tape. 
One day (in 2002?) Dad and I walked to the top of Windy Hill and on the way back he came crutching down the last steep incline in a mad dash astonishing the Sunday hikers.

His voting rights activism continued at East Creek with legal research and work on behalf of ex-felons who are stripped of voting rights for life (in some states).  He studied the outcome of Gore v Bush 2000 extensively, and explained the Florida recount, hanging chads, and butterfly ballots to us in detail.
His diningroom table was stacked with legal pads that had to be cleared for family dinners.

He did eventually slow down though, and enjoyed going to art galleries and sitting a long time in front of certain paintings. He was an avid listener to books on tape: novels, history, historical fiction. He was a Bernie Bro but accepted Hillary with good grace and kept a plastic Hillary doll on his kitchen table in 2016. A weird totem but he liked it.

Talking to the nurses at the hospital he reflected on his politics, explaining he used to be a Republican. They asked if the recent election had turned him into a Democrat and he said no, it was John Kennedy. 
There was so much more I could have told them about my father but I  just nodded and let him have the last word.

Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take Arms against a Sea of Troubles,
And by opposing end them....
To sleep, perchance to Dream, aye there's the rub,
for in that sleep of death, what dreams may come,
when we have shuffled off this mortal coil.


submitted for Eleanor Fakalata

Shared by Jeanette Cosgrove on 7th March 2017

"He is deeply missed. Goodbye my dearest Jack. Love from the Fakalatas. Sending my love to you Jen and Russell." - Eleanor Fakalata

Eleanor knew Jack for 25 years as a personal assistant and  devoted caregiver . She and her husband John lived at Jack's house and provided wonderful help and support during his last few years. Her  son and daughters were also frequent visitors over the years.

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