Longtime Navigator minister and NavPress author Francis Cosgrove passed away April 11 in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Throughout his life and ministry, Francis was known for his commitment to sharing the love of Christ and discipling new believers.
Francis met The Navigators while serving with the United States Navy in the Philippines during the Korean War. In 1955, The Navigators’ founder Dawson Trotman invited him to work at the ministry’s headquarters at Glen Eyrie in Colorado Springs. During that time Francis also became an ordained Southern Baptist minister.
He met his wife, Norma, through their mutual work with The Navigators, and the couple married in 1960. Over the next 12 years, the Cosgroves served in The Navigators’ Servicemen’s Ministry at bases in several locations, including Japan, Florida, Texas, and South Carolina. In the 1970s, Francis served with Dr. D. James Kennedy at Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, where he wrote the NavPress books Essentials of Discipleship and Essentials of New Life. In 1979, the Cosgroves returned to Colorado Springs, where Francis continued to work with churches for the next 25 years, first through The Navigators’ Development Department and then with Church Discipleship Ministry. Especially gifted at building scale model brass locomotives from scratch, Francis won several national and international competitions. “Francis is one of the most unique men I‘ve ever known,” says Dave Gresham, The Navigators’ executive director of Development. “Brilliant in regard to designing furniture, cabinetry, woodworking, [he had] amazing perfectionist detail in building miniature trains.
“But primarily,” Gresham adds, “he was completely committed to Christ. From speaking to writing books, he was a true Navigator of the Dawson vintage.” The Cosgroves’ son, Rod, agrees, “Many were first introduced to Jesus Christ and many others grew deeper in their faith because of his sharing the love of Christ with them. He loved people and wanted them to find the hope he had found in friendship with God.” NavPress office manager Barb Haney recalls Francis’s sense of humor with fondness. “We had so many conversations,” says Haney. “For a while, Norma worked across the aisle from me in our Editorial department. They were both such fun.”
Francis is survived by his wife, Norma, their two adult children, and seven grandchildren. A public memorial service will take place in the Great Hall at Glen Eyrie at 3:00 p.m. on July 17.