April 7, 1936 – June 17, 2020
Ralph Dee Cozzens Jr. was born April 7, 1936, in Lovell to Ralph Dee Cozzens Sr. and Carrie Verniece Moncur Cozzens. He passed away peacefully in his home on Wednesday, June 17, 2020.
Dee Jr. grew up and graduated from Lovell High School in 1954. He served a two-year mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Mexico. He attended Brigham Young University and later received his master’s degree from the University of Minnesota.
His mission to Mexico was one of the highlights of his life, and he loved every minute of serving there, especially speaking the Spanish language. He loved the people and also greatly enjoyed the times he could play basketball on teams with locals and his fellow missionaries. Speaking Spanish ended up being one of his favorite pastimes for the remainder of his life, and he would seek out and talk to anyone who could speak Spanish. There were times the police station would call in the middle of the night and ask him to come translate for someone.
During his early years, he worked for Y-Tex in Cody, which gave him a chance to travel the world, something he had always wanted to do. He also worked for Pfizer Pharmaceutical Company, which led him to becoming a hospital CEO. He was CEO for several Wyoming hospitals and care centers including Cody, Powell, Lovell, Thermopolis and Fort Washakie, as well as hospitals in Amarillo and Houston, Texas, and Delta, Colo. He was able to troubleshoot and revitalize many of these places, always putting the care and comfort of the patients before anything else. He was the CEO in Lovell when the North Big Horn Hospital on Lane 12 was built.
He was extremely patriotic and loved this country. He served in the National Guard when younger. He loved and studied the U.S. Constitution and in 2014 ran independently for governor, receiving over 5,000 votes. Over his lifetime he studied the Holy Scriptures constantly and was a theologian of the highest caliber.
People, whether family or otherwise, always mattered to Dee. When he was still at home he worked side by side with his father, Ralph, who passed away while he was on his mission. He also spent many hours with his mother, Verniece, especially as she got older. He was fiercely protective of his family and friends.
Dee was always an excellent dancer. His parents taught him a love for dancing and music. Whenever he attended a dance, he made sure that he invited everyone to hit the dance floor so no one missed out. It was part of his ability to make all those around him feel important, cared about and loved.
He is survived by his wife, JoAnn Cozzens; five children, Kirt (Janet) of Powell, Chris (Jan) of North Salt Lake, Todd (Missy) of Roberts, Mont., Tyler of San Francisco and Tiffany of Idaho Falls; grandchildren Brianna, Chelsea, Brinson, Cache, Broc, Kimberly, Katie, Dylan, Carson, Shila, Zach, Seth, Sam, Noe Kate and Sarah; five great-grandchildren; brother Greg (Alisa) Cozzens of Purcellville, Va., and sister Sharon Roth of Lovell; and several nieces and nephews, who all adored him.
Funeral services will be held Friday, July 10, at 11 a.m. at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Lovell.
For those who would rather not attend in person but would like to be at the funeral join a Zoom meeting at https://us02web.zoom.us/j/9704935922pwd=RVM0MTlta3pBRmRjR1NhU2JnZU1wUT09,
Meeting ID: 970 493 5922. Password: Cozzens.
To send one of our special floral arrangements, please call Valley Flowers, 307-548-7101