Thomas Marcellus Coskren, O.P.
Born: November 24, 1933
Professed: August 16, 1954
Ordained: June 16, 1960
Died: December 22, 2003
Thomas Marcellus Coskren, O.P., a Dominican Friar and member of the faculty at Providence College in Providence, RI, died early Monday morning, December 22, 2003, at Mountainview Hospital in Montclair, NJ, where he was being treated for pneumonia. He had been in poor health since suffering a heart attack, and then a stroke, in 1998. He was able to continue living at St. Thomas Aquinas Priory in Providence until November, 2003, when he moved to St. Catherine of Siena Health Care Center in Caldwell, NJ, under the care of the Dominican Sisters of the Congregation of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
Father Coskren was born on November 24, 1933, in Lawrence, MA, the son of Thomas Joseph and Florence Golden Coskren. He is survived by one sister, Maryann (Mrs. Maurice) Allen of Spotsylvania, VA, and was immediately predeceased by his father, who died in Lawrence, MA, on Sunday, December 21.
After attending Catholic schools in Lawrence and Danvers, MA, Father Coskren went to Providence College, and entered the Dominican Order immediately afterwards. Following his novitiate, he was professed on August 15, 1954 at St. Stephen Priory in Dover, MA. Following a year of Philosophy at St. Rose Priory in Springfield, KY, and two further years at St. Stephen Priory in Dover, MA, Father Coskren studied Theology for four years at the Dominican House of Studies in Washington, DC, and was ordained to the Priesthood in Washington on June 15, 1960.
Father Coskren pursued graduate studies in literature at Yale University, while assigned to St. Mary Priory in New Haven, CT, and returned to Providence College to teach in 1968. He remained at the College until, after a sabbatical year, he went in 1981 to Rutgers University in New Jersey to serve as Catholic campus minister. He remained at Rutgers, leading a team of Dominican chaplains, until 1990, when he was assigned to St. Stephen Priory in Dover, MA, to do retreat work, and in 1991 he returned to the faculty of Providence College. He remained there until 2003.
Father Coskren was well regarded as a teacher of theology and literature, a pastoral mentor to students both at Providence and Rutgers, and a promoter of vocations to the Order of Preachers.
His Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated at St. Thomas Aquinas Priory Chapel on the campus of Providence College on Saturday, December 27th. The celebrant was the Provincial, V. Rev. Dominic Izzo, O.P., and the homilist was Rev. Joseph Guido, O.P. Many of his former students and colleagues were in attendance. Burial followed in the Dominican Friars’ cemetery at Providence College in Providence, RI.