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Long-time local businessman Harry Cogswell dies at 94

A long-time Marietta businessman died Monday after decades of service to Washington County.

Harry Max Cogswell, 94, was founder and president of Apex Feed & Supply in Marietta. The store opened 56 years ago and office manager Rita Stollar had worked with him for 34 of those years.

“He was phenomenal,” she said. “People complain about their jobs and their bosses, but I had no complaints.”

She described Cogswell as a giving, sweet, compassionate person, but he was still a businessman.

“He was out to make money and knew how to,” she said. Stollar said he would tell her about his adventures and travels, including helping design golf courses and the doctors he helped recruit in to Marietta Memorial Hospital.

“I loved him. I don’t know what we’ll do without him,” she said.

He had been retired from Apex for about 10 years, but he still loved to come into the store and visit the customers. On two of his later birthdays, they had open houses for him.

“People came in and he loved it. He had an Ohio State chair and everyone who came through talked to him,” Stollar explained. “He was so involved in anything and everything. He was so proud of it all.”

His obituary notes the many groups he was active with included First Congregational Church, the Washington State Community College Board of Trustees, Rotary International, the Washington County Fair Board, Ohio Fair Managers Board of Directors and was a Dime Bank trustee. He was supervisor of the Washington County Soil and Water Service, American Banc Corp, the Ohio State University Extension Service Advisory Committee, the Marietta Memorial Hospital Board of Directors and was Glenwood Retirement Community Chairman, among other things.

Kevin Malcomb, vice-president of support services at Marietta Memorial, said Cogswell had served on the hospital board from 1971 to 2000. He was also part of a work group of the hospital board instrumental in bringing the Glenwood retirement community to Marietta.

“In 1995, he became the first chairman of the Glenwood board of directors,” he said, noting Cogswell was on the board until his retirement in 2007.

“Personally, he was always a great supporter of services for senior citizens in the community,” Malcomb added. “He was just a good guy. He was an absolute pleasure to work with.”

He said Cogswell was always looking for ways to strengthen the Marietta community as a whole. Glenwood was a way to keep seniors who might have to move away in Marietta.

He served on the Washington State Community College Board of Trustees for 34 continuous years, said Elizabeth Godfrey, director of marketing and public relations. He began in 1975, shortly after Washington Technical College was chartered by the Ohio Board of Regents. During the first years of his service, the college served 60 students in one building.

When the college’s current location on Colegate Drive opened in 1991 and the school was rechartered as Washington State Community College, Cogswell was serving as the board chair for the third time. By his final year on the board in 2009, the college comprised of five buildings, had more than 2,200 students enrolled, and Cogswell had served as chair six times and vice-chair three times.

He was honored with the Founders Award by the Ohio Association of Community Colleges in September 2009 for his 34 years of service and dedication to Washington State Community College and the community.

“With the passing of Harry Cogswell, the community loses a valued, engaged leader. He served Washington State Community College for many years on our Board of Trustees and had a profound influence on what the college is today,” said President Dr. Vicky Wood. “Washington State benefited from his strong background in agriculture and education and his passion for supporting our community. His faithful contributions to the WSCC Foundation impacted the lives of many students. On behalf of the college, I would like to extend condolences to his family.”

Cogswell is survived by three sons, Benjamin of Lowell, Daniel of Marietta, and Russell of Marietta; five grandchildren, and five great-grandchildren.

Visitation will be held from 2-4 p.m. and 6-8 p.m. at Cawley & Peoples Funeral Home in Marietta. His funeral will be 11 a.m. Saturday at the funeral home, with burial to follow in Oak Grove Cemetery.

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