Michael Cosel left a lasting impact on the Three Village community, and his neighbors returned the favor.
A memorial cherry tree was planted on Limroy Lane at the Setauket-Port Jefferson Station Greenway Trail on Wednesday, July 8, in honor of Cosel, 69, who died in May, but his work as co-founder of the Greenway project will live on for decades to come. Some of his former colleagues joined with elected officials to make sure the roots take shape the right way.
“Mike was the person to call for the project,” said Charles McAteer, another co-founder of the Greenway. “He got many different groups involved, and was an integral part of the trail.”
McAteer said the Limroy Lane location of the memorial cherry tree was very fitting, beyond just being near the trail that Cosel had worked so hard for.
He said Cosel had always envisioned installing kiosks at various locations of the trail, so people using it for walks or bike rides could access maps or simply sit in the shade. This memorial tree, McAteer said, is located right next to one of the two kiosks of the trail, and inside the kiosk is an article remembering Cosel.
Herb Mones, a founder and trustee of the Three Village Trust, helped sow the seeds in Cosel’s name and said the late activist will be very missed, and that he always had a smile, kind words and guidance to offer others.
“There is a big gap without him, but hopefully we can fill it with flowers and continue the memory of him,” Mones said.
Ronne Cosel, Michael’s wife, said she and her husband frequented the popular North Shore trail, both riding their bikes and going for long walks throughout their 44 years as Setauket residents.
“This trail was very significant for Mike, he was very passionate about it, especially that it was accessible for everyone,” Cosel’s wife Ronne said.
Cosel is survived by his wife and their two children, a daughter and a son.
Cosel was also actively involved in community service pertaining to children with special abilities. The Cosels’ son Andrew, 43, has cerebral palsy. Ronne Cosel said accessibility was a key factor because of their son.
“He offered his expertise freely to anyone who needed it, and had a long history of community activism,” she said.