If there is an item out of place or a procedure slightly off in Heaven’s pro shop, that is about to be rectified. If anyone was not introduced to the wonders of the mystical game of golf on earth, let’s line them up. And if the spectral help was used to going home early, well things are about to change.
Jerry Mac Cozby, a man who could seemingly bend time to his will in an effort to help and serve as many people as he could on earth, ran out his mortal clock on Sunday at the age of 79 due to complications from pneumonia. He is already deeply missed by his loving family, a wide circle of friends and associates too numerous to count in the golf business in which he became an Oklahoma legend.
Nearly every honor you could think of was bestowed upon Cozby during and after his 41-year career as the head PGA golf professional at Hillcrest Country Club in Bartlesville. He was the 1985 PGA Professional of the Year, inducted into the PGA South Central Section Hall of Fame in 2000 , the PGA of America Hall of Fame in 2005 and the Oklahoma Golf Hall of Fame in 2016. Why? Because Cozby made everyone around him, from family to friends and the legions who learned the meaning of dedication by working for him, a better person.
Jerry Cozby was born June 9, 1941 in Breckenridge, Texas to Steve and Corene Cozby. His family moved about in the Texas oil patch and he learned the game on a hardscrabble sand greens course his father fashioned with the help of Speck Holder, father of famous Oklahoma State coach Mike Holder. He showed promise at Odessa High School and was a national champion at Odessa Junior College before transferring to Lamar, where he majored in marketing and management. He also became quite the dancer and has the ribbons to prove it. His moves were good enough to impress one Karole Lee Stanley, whom he married on Nov. 27, 1965 at St. Christopher’s Episcopal Church in Houston.
He learned the craft of service to members as an assistant to the renowned Harvey Loudermilk at Oak Hills Country Club in San Antonio from 1964 to 1968. In 1969, he took over at Hillcrest Country Club, a gorgeous Perry Maxwell design on rolling cross timbers terrain in Bartlesville and never left. Oh he retired in 2009, but his interest in the members, the course and the game never wavered.
Jerry routinely queried pros throughout Oklahoma, Texas and beyond in his quest to run the absolute best golf operation possible. He befriended vendors, salesmen, writers, architects, superintendents and anyone who shared his passion for the game and for a job well done. He knew the touring pros from Ben Hogan on down and loved it when they would visit Hillcrest.
His three sons Cary, Craig and Chance all were bitten by his passion for golf. Taxied by Karole to hundreds of tournaments, they rose to become collegiate stars at the University of Oklahoma and each has gone on to great success in different avenues of golf. Coz loved teaching the game and particularly to youngsters. He was fascinated by every aspect, from the swing to plotting strategy and enjoyed the great diversity of challenges inherent in every different course, terrain and weather condition.
Jerry’s passion for golf was trumped only by his abiding love for his family. He is survived by Karole, son Cary and his wife Stacy and their son Banks of Tulsa; son Craig, wife Cassie and their children Charlye and Canyon of Kansas City, and son Chance, wife Erica and children Campbell and Catcher of Phoenix.
Visitation is Thursday, August 27 from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. at Arnold Moore-Neekamp Funeral Home, 710 Dewey Avenue, in Bartlesville. Due to COVID 19 precautions, a public service will not be held at this time. In lieu of flowers the family asks that donations be made to the Boys and Girls Club of Bartlesville, 401 S. Seminole Ave., Bartlesville, OK 74033. Online condolences can be left at honoringmemories.com
When it’s your turn to line up at the first tee beyond the Pearly Gates, be assured Jerry Cozby will have everything in order.
“To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven” Ecclesiastes 3:1