COSENS: Donald LeRoy “Don”, of St. Thomas, Ontario.



COSENS, Donald LeRoy “Don”, of St. Thomas, passed away at the St. Thomas Elgin General Hospital on Friday, March 15, 2019, in his 84th year.  Dearly loved father of Mark Cosens (Brigitte), and Josie Nicol (Mike), and proud grandfather of Aubrey Cosens, Sammy and Myles Nicol, all of St. Thomas.  Husband of Lynda Gloin Cosens.  Born in St. Thomas, ON, April 4, 1935, he was the son of the late Charles Roy Cosens and the late Viola Lulu (née Smith) Cosens.  His sister, Eileen (Harold) Jackson predeceased him.  Don will be missed by his loved dog, Buddy.

The funeral service will be held at the Masonic Centre of Elgin, 42703 Fruit Ridge Line, St. Thomas on Friday, March 22nd at 3:00 p.m., with interment to follow in Union Cemetery. Relatives and friends will be received by the family at the Masonic Centre on Thursday, March 21st from 3:30-6:30 p.m. and prior to the funeral service from 1:00-3:00 p.m.  A Masonic Memorial Service under the auspices of St. David’s Lodge #302, A.F. & A.M. will be held at the Masonic Centre on Thursday at 6:45 p.m. (Open to the public).  Flowers respectfully declined.  Memorial donations to Shriners Hospitals for Children or St. Thomas Animal Aide will be gratefully acknowledged. Arrangements entrusted to the SIFTON FUNERAL HOME, 118 Wellington St., St. Thomas (519-631-1160).

Online condolences graciously accepted at

Don wrote the following in 2014:

“I was born in St. Thomas on April 4, 1935. I attended Myrtle Street Public School and the St. Thomas Collegiate Institute.   After leaving  S.T.C.I.,  I attended Westervelt Business School in London.

I worked in local industry (Clevite Corp.) for about three years and in 1960 became a law clerk in the firm of Stafford & Fanjoy in St. Thomas.  In October 1962, I started working at the Elgin County Registry Office and two years later was appointed Senior Deputy Registrar. After 31 years, I retired from the Registry Office in January, 1994.

In 1969, I started in the auction business, retiring from that venture in 1989. My son operates this business to this day.

I have been a member of Central United Church since 1948 and have served on both the Session and Board of Stewards.

I have been interested in history and genealogy for most of my life and belong to several local and worldwide organizations in these fields. I am a past president of both the Elgin Historical Society (1973, 1974 and 1998) and the Elgin County Genealogical Society (1994-1995.)

In 1980, I published a booklet, “The Donnelly Tragedy 1880-1980”. It was a Canadian bestseller in 1980 and eventually sold 20,000 copies. In 1980, I co-authored “St. Thomas–100 Years a City” and have assisted with several publications since. I have given upwards of 100 talks, primarily on the history of this area.

I was initiated into St. David’s Lodge No. 302 in 1956 and served as Master in 1964-65 and again in 2013-2014, thus becoming the youngest and oldest master in over 100 years. I was historian of the Lodge since the office was established in 1978 until 2002 and again from 2007 to 2013. I became a life member in 1987. I was a member of the Masonic Temple Association from 1989 to 2001 and again from 2007 to 2013 and served as president from 1993 to 1996. I am an affiliated Past Master of St. Mark’s Lodge No. 94, Port Stanley (1988), a life member of Heritage Lodge No. 730 (1981) and served as Master in 2000.  I am/was a member of Millennium Lodge No. 743   I was elected an honourary member of the Brothers Lodge ”Impotep to Flaming Star” No. 6  from the East , Ivano-Frankivak  Grand Lodge of Ukraine in 2012.

In July 1998 at Toronto, I was elected District Deputy Grand Master of the St. Thomas Masonic District. I have held several chairs of District committee, and since 1999 have been District Historian.  I became a life member of Rodney Lodge No. 411 on January 8, 2003.  On March 28, 2003, Rodney Lodge No 411 amalgamated with McColl Lodge No. 386 to form West Elgin Lodge No. 386 of which I became an honourary life member.  I have served as Lodge Historian of West Elgin Lodge since its inception.  I have been a member of the St. Thomas District Masters and Wardens Association since 1963 and served a term as president in 1982.

On January 8, 2007, I was presented with my Veteran’s Jubilee Medal (and 50 year pin) by the Grand Master M.W. Bro Gary L Atkinson.  At this same meeting, my son Mark and I presented each other with our Lewis jewels.

In the Scottish Rite, I received my 14° in the London Lodge of Perfection on November 26, 1957, my 18° in the London Sovereign Chapter of Rose Croix on November 1, 1958 and my 32° in Moore Sovereign Consistory at Hamilton on May 5, 1961.  I was coroneted and Honourary Inspector General 33° Mason at Hamilton on September 9, 1977.  Currently, I am historian of both the Lodge of Perfection (1993) and the Rose Croix Chapter (1994).  I have been a member of the Library and Archives Committee of Supreme Council A.&A.S.R. of Canada since 1995 and was chairman of said committee from 1997-2010.  I am a life member the London Consistory Club of London (1957).  I was director of the 5° in London for 20 years – 1963 to 1983 and 1963 to 1983 and still a member of the degree team.  I served as Thrice Puissant Grand Master of the Lodge of perfection in 1973.

In the York Rite, I became a member of Palestine Chapter No. 54, R.A.M. in 1966 and was First Principal in 1970.  I have served as historian since 1997.  I am a life member of the Past Master’s Lodge of Port Huron (1970) and the Principal’s Association, London District No. 2 (1990).

In the Cryptic Rite, I became a member of Ninevah Council No. #3, R&S.M. in March 1967 and was installed as Thrice Illustrious master in 1994.  I became a member of Lake Erie Lodge No. 1, Royal Ark Mariners in 1975 and was Commander Noah in 1994.  I have been historian of Ninevah Council since January 5, 1997.  I received the Order of the Silver Trowel in Sarnia on May 27, 1994.  I was installed as Grand Historian of the Cryptic Rite and the Royal Ark Mariners of Ontario in May 1995 and served in that capacity until May 2002.  In 1996 and 1997 I was chairman of the committee on Fraternal Correspondence and in 1997 was named Grand Representative to California.

I was presented with the Gold Honour Award of the York Rite Sovereign College of North America (1991).  I am a member of the Grand College of Rites of the United States of America (1994) and of Great Chiefs Council No. 0 of Grand Council of Knight Masons of the U.S.A. (1996).  I am a life member of the Order of High Priesthood of Ontario (1995).

I became a life member of the Philalethes Society in 1990 and a life member of Lux Quaro Chapter of London, Ontario and served a term as president in 1999.  In 1991, I became a founding member and was the Charter President of Dr. George T. Kennedy Chapter of St. Thomas.  In 1991, I became a member-at -large of the Philaxis Society – one of the first Canadian and white members of this hitherto all-black society.

On February 15, 1992, I was inducted in Supreme Ruler’s Conclave No. 123 of Great Britain of the Order of the Secret Monitor (Washington D.C.) thereby becoming a member-at-large in the U.S.A.  When the Canadian order was established in 1994, I became a founding member and chapter officer of London Conclave no. 451 and served a term as Supreme Ruler 1999-2000.  In 2000, I was appointed Grand Standard Bearer of Grand Conclave.  I retired from this body in 2000.

In the Allied Masonic Degrees of Canada, I became a founding member and charter Senior Deacon of Arcana Council No. 215 of Lambeth, Ontario in 1990.  I was Sovereign Master of Arcana Council in 1993.  In August 2003 I was appointed Grand Tyler of A.M.D. of Canada.  I have received several degrees of the Order including Order of the Cork (1992), Knight of Constantinople (1993), Council of Honour (1993), Order of the Bath (Washington D.C., 1993), Grand Tylers of Solomon (1994), Knight Commander of the Red Branch of Eri (1995), Order of Excellent Master (Washington D.C., 1996) and order of the Thistle (2000).

I became a member of the Ancient Arabic Order, Nobles of the Mystic Shrine at Clinton, Ontario on June 22, 1962.  I joined the Hi-Ro Shrine Club May 29, 1958. I was a director for two years – 1966 and 1967 and elected President in 2014.

I was initiated into Maple Leaf Chapter No. 3, Order of the Eastern Star April 18, 1958 and served as Worthy Patron in 1958-59.  I was a member of the ML Club (Mar 2, 1960) of past officers of Maple Leaf Chapter and served as president about 1963.

I am also a member of the Loyal Orange Lodge, joining Primrose Lodge No. 1277 in 1967.  I joined Pride of the West Lodge No. 989 St. Thomas in 1994 and served as Worshipful Master thereof from 1995-2001.  I am currently Treasurer of this Lodge.  I am a member of the Royal Scarlet Chapter, London (1995) and Covenant Preceptory No. 346 (2000).   I was a member of the Independent Order of Oddfellows in St. Thomas Lodge No. 76 (1963-1965).

I am member of the Elgin County Museum and I am currently an advisor to both the Museum and Elgin County Archives.  I am a life member of the Elgin Military Museum, the St. Thomas Coin Club (1965), the St. Thomas Stamp Club, the London Post Card Club and the Last Post Branch No. 410, Royal Canadian Legion, Port Stanley (1989).  I am a Director of the North American Railway Hall of Fame serving on the nominating committee.  I am a member of the Irish Benevolent Society of London and Middlesex (2002) and was President in 2009.

I formerly served on the Board of the Canadian Red Cross, St. Thomas being a one-time vice-president and was also, for a few years, secretary of the United Way Board of Directors.  Since 1975, I have been a member of the Board of Directors of the St.  Thomas Cemetery Company and have served as president on two occasions.   I have been a member of the St. Thomas Mausoleum Board since 1978 of which I am currently vice-president.   I am a trustee of the Talbotville Cemetery Board (2005).  I am an active member of the restoration Committee of the Old St. Thomas Church (1983-1985, 1992 to date).  I am a member of the Backus-Page Tyrconnell Heritage Society.  I am active as a member of Heritage Port (Port Stanley Historical Society) since about 1985.

In 1979, I was presented with a Civic Award by the City of St. Thomas for “Preserving and Sharing the History of St. Thomas”.

In 1985, I served as a Director of the St. Thomas Jumbo Foundation and was Vice-Chairman of the St. Thomas Jumbo Centennial Committee.  I promoted and was Editor of the Official Souvenir Program.

On February 19, 2003, I was presented with the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal by the Hon. Steve Peters M.P.P. for Elgin –Middlesex-London.

I married Lynda Karen Gloin of Yarmouth Centre, Ontario on July 20, 1968 and we have two children Mark and Josie.

Mark, of St. Thomas, has been an auctioneer since 1979 and from 2005 to 2009 was owner of the Capitol Theatre, St. Thomas.  Mark was chairman of the Downtown Development Board of the City of St. Thomas from 2008 -2010.  He was also president of the Elgin-Middlesex-London Provincial Liberal Association from 2005-2011.  Mark was married to Brigitte Grandjean, R.N. in 2003 and they have one son Aubrey William Cosens born June 25, 2005.

Josie is a professional pet groomer and is the operator of Yuppy Puppy of St. Thomas.  Josie was married to Michael Nicol of St. Thomas in 2008 and they have two children, Samuel Quinn born January 18, 2010 and Myles Alexander born May 9, 2012.  Lynda has been an independent title- searcher for many years, working out of the Elgin County Office.  She is an avid golfer and skier.”


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