Jon A. Kosty, 72, Major, U.S. Army (retired)
Jon was born July 9, 1937, in Philadelphia, Pa., to Andrew Kosty, from Czechoslovakia, and Anna Tyahla from Nesquehoning, Pa. He died on June 26, 2010, at his rustic home overlooking the Spokane River in Post Falls, under the wonderful care of Hospice of North Idaho.
Jon attended Gettysburg College, Gettysburg, Pa., where he earned a business degree. As a member of the ROTC program, he entered the Army as a 2nd Lieutenant shortly after his graduation. He met the love of his life, Gladys, in 1957, and they “went steady” for her four years of college. Upon her graduation, they married. Their wedding day, Aug. 12, 1961, was the same day the Berlin Wall was erected, and Jon was sent to France as part of the troop build-up of the Cold War. Gladys soon joined him and found, to her surprise, that he had not found a place for them to live! They took a room in a French boarding house complete with an outhouse in the backyard and so started their married life. Jon was transferred 15 times in 20 years and enjoyed assignments in the U.S., France, Germany and Iran with Gladys by his side.
In 1965, Jon volunteered to go to Vietnam to take part in the conflict there. He spent 13 months in Vietnam and received the Bronze Star for his outstanding service to his country.
In 1981, after 20 years of duty, Jon retired from the Army and settled on six acres along the Spokane River in Post Falls, in a barn-shaped house he designed. His friends always kidded him about his life of leisure and he would say, “I had a contract with Gladys — I support her the first 20 years; she supports me the next 20.” When Gladys would remind him that she also worked the first 20 years, his answer was, “That was just practice.”
At any rate, with all of his leisure time, he became an avid flower gardener, a gourmet chef, an amateur artist who dabbled in oil, water color, metal sculpture and stained glass. His greatest joy was fly fishing and he was a master of the craft. His favorite fishing spot was the Big Horn River in Fort Smith, Mont., with Gladys, his chauffeur, by his side.
In 1986, a series of health problems surfaced starting with a stroke and carotid artery surgery. In 1999, he was diagnosed with thyroid cancer — this was followed by a heart attack, cardiac arrest, quadruple bypass surgery, six stents and triple do-over bypass surgery. He handled every medical problem and procedure with dignity, patience and grace. He endeared himself to his doctors and nurses with his positive attitude. In 2010, his thyroid cancer came back with a vengeance and metastasized to his liver and spine. He couldn’t win this battle, but the cancer didn’t kill his spirit or his off-beat sense of humor. He died at home listening to the river and the birds and with his wife of 49 years by his side.
It is a difficult task to summarize the substance of a man in an obituary column. Know that he lived a life of class mixed with eccentricity. Who else would make his four-car garage look like an old Western street with storefronts complete with a School Marm’s saloon (for his wife, the teacher). Who would paint his barn-shaped home bright red? Who would love Christmas so much that he convinced his wife to leave their 16-foot tree up all year, year after year.
He was a quiet, gentle, gentleman who adored his wife, loved his home and was awe-struck by nature. He is survived by his wife and best friend, Gladys, and his buddy, Buster basset. He is also survived by his beloved sister, Elizabeth Smith, Hatfield, Pa., and numerous nieces, nephews and cousins.
Jon requested that he be cremated and that his ashes be scattered in the river in front of his house. He told his wife that “instead of attending a formal funeral service, I hope my friends and loved ones will take a walk in the woods or by a river or lake and remember me. That would be the best funeral of all.”
Gladys would like to thank Hospice of North Idaho for the unbelievable care they provided during the last three weeks of his life. His team of Kent, Terry and Todd were simply amazing with their compassion and concern. He could not have been in better hands as his life ebbed.
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be sent to Hospice of North Idaho, 9493 N. Government Way, Hayden, ID 83835.
It seems fitting to end his obituary with some lines from a sonnet by Elizabeth Barrett Browning that he and Gladys often shared:
“How do I love thee? Let me count the ways
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach…
I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life! And if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death.”
English Funeral Chapel, Post Falls, was entrusted with the final arrangements.
Please sign Jon’s guest registry and view his online memorial at www.englishfuneralchapel.com.