Donald L. Cosner Sr Donald l. Cosner Sr. died Jan. 8, 2021, from complications from COVID-19. he was born June 11, 1922 in Martinsburg, WV to Lula May and Otto Ray Cosner. After graduating from Martinsburg High School, Donald attended the University of Michigan and earned both a BS in Aeronautical Engineering and a BS in Mathematics in 1945. That year he married Shirley Marie Ryan of St. Ignace, Michigan, who had just completed her BS in nursing. .
The couple moved to Middle River, Md to start a family and Donald began his career with the Glen L. Martin Company. He became a pioneer of American rocketry as a member of an elite team of engineers responsible for the Vanguard and Viking projects, some of the very first American rockets. Shirley and Don built a house in Baldwin, MD. They raised four children. When the Martin Co. moved to Colorado in 1971, the Cosners chose to stay in Maryland rather than uproot the family. Donald began a career at NASA’s Goddard Spaceflight Center in Greenbelt, MD and spent the rest of his career focusing on near-Earth satellites. Donald enjoyed woodworking, square dancing and DIY in his garage. The Cosners kept their home in Baldwin until 2010, when they moved to a retirement home in Catonsville, Maryland.
When Shirley died in 2017, Donald moved into a seniors’ home in Ayer, Massachusetts. Donald is survived by four children: Donald Cosner, Jr., Julie Rossmassler, Jill McCaffrey and Chris Cosner and his seven grandchildren: Michael Rossmassler, Laura Rossmassler, Karen Rossmassler, Scott McCaffrey, Derek McCaffrey, Ryan Cosner and Ian Cosner and his great granddaughter Leah Shelton.
A service will be held on Sunday, September 4 in the chapel of Towson Presbyterian Church at 12:30 p.m. The church is located at 400 W Chesapeake Ave., Towson, Md.