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  Home > Communities > Hanover

10/6/06 - Posted from the Daily Record newsroom
Michael Gellas and Fran Gellas, relatives of Chris Cosgrove, join friends and family to pay their respects in Black Brook Park in Whippany to remember Cosgrove, who was killed in Iraq by a suicide bomber.

A friend of Chris Cosgrove fights back tears as many gathered in Black Brook Park in Whippany to remember Cosgrove, who was killed in Iraq by a suicide bomber.


Marine killed in Iraq was 'great kid'

Family and friends pay respects at Hanover vigil

HANOVER -- Though persistent tears blurred her vision, Dorothy Turrisi stared into the flames of candles surrounding a Tupperware altar that held photos of her late grandson.

Lance Cpl. Chris Cosgrove, a Marine who was killed Sunday by a suicide bomber at a checkpoint in Fallujah, Iraq, was "just a great kid," Turrisi said, her speech interrupted by bursts of emotion.

No matter how many grandkids you have, she said, it is always hard to lose one -- especially one she was expecting to see before the month's end.

"We were planning a welcome home party," she said. "Now we're planning a funeral."

Turrisi was among 70 friends and family members who attended a candlelight vigil for Cosgrove beneath a wooden gazebo in Black Brook park in Whippany Thursday night.

Four Marines stood behind the makeshift altar and faced a crowd whose candles set the gazebo aglow.

Nick Gregory, Chris's neighbor and childhood friend from Cedar Knolls, organized the event because he wanted to "bring about memories of a lost friend."

Like the times he and Cosgrove would go paint balling together.

"He was good," he said. "He would be the one to last to the end and capture the flag."

Cosgrove always had that Marine mindset, his friends said. Cosgrove, along with Gregory and his two brothers Chris and Matt, created war movies as kids, and Cosgrove would always be the stuntman.

"He would do anything," Matt Gregory said. "And whatever he did he gave 120 percent."

That drive carried over into school and athletics as well, his friends said. Tom Detrolio, 23, of Whippany, played football with Cosgrove in high school and said he would always go the extra mile at practice.

"He was always the one to volunteer to do something," Detrolio said, as if he were the captain of the team.

"Emotionally, he was" the captain, Detrolio said.

Friends said it wasn't just the team that he'd do anything for, it was anyone who needed help.

Kate McArdle of Cedar Knolls remembered how Cosgrove would always save a seat for her on the bus to school.

"I wasn't the most popular kid in school," she said, "but there was always a seat waiting for me on that bus."

Cosgrove's family was on their way home from Delaware Thursday night where the young Marine's body had just been returned by the military. A relative said the family was sad that they missed the ceremony, which concluded with a speech by Marine Staff Sgt. Mark Peer of Montville, a salute to the flag and a rendition of "God Bless America," sung by all present.

Fran Gellas, Cosgrove's aunt, said she came to the ceremony because she just "had to be there for Chris." But she understood that the rest of his immediate family had to be in Delaware --"to welcome him home."

Kristina Fiore can be reached at (973) 428-6621 or

God Bless LCpl. Christopher B. Cosgrove III Fri Oct 06, 2006 10:56 pm
Thank you Chris for your bravery and sacrifice in the service of the Land that I Love so very much.
You will always be an American Hero in my household.
Your family and friends are in my prayers.
Rest in Peace Marine.
Semper Fi
Friends and Family Fri Oct 06, 2006 11:15 am
In Memory of Christopher Cosgrove.

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