Vito A. Cosmo Jr. was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 2012, but he never allowed it to keep him from excelling as a CPA or making a significant impact on others, or let it affect his sense of humor.
In a 2013 article on Parkinson’s in The Inquirer, he spoke about how he used humor to try to put potential clients who noticed the tremor in his right arm at ease.
“You probably notice I have a tremor,” he would tell them. “It’s fine. In fact, if you don’t like my speech, go easy on the evaluation, because I have Parkinson’s.
“I try to defuse the situation with humor.”
His wife, Rosanne, said he was comfortable with his tremor.
“He would make a lot of jokes when he would give a speech,” she said. “He would really defuse the situation right away before the speech even started.”
Mr. Cosmo, 57, of Fort Washington, who recently retired as managing director of Grant Thornton LLP, died Friday, May 15, at Abington Hospital-Jefferson Health from complications related to COVID-19.
More than one million people nationwide have Parkinson’s, a degenerative movement disorder that affects motor skills, balance, speech, and sensory function.
Mr. Cosmo graduated from William Tennent High School, and received his bachelor’s degree from Albright College and master’s from Widener University. He specialized in state and local taxes, and was a partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP and a director at Exelon Corp. before moving to Grant Thornton.
He gave freely of his time. He was president of the Parkinson’s Council, a Bala Cynwyd-based organization that raises money for research, education, and quality-of-life issues. The work became a family affair, with his wife and daughter Sabrina participating in walks, golf outings, and other fund-raisers.
He was a mentor and an advocate for those coping with disabilities in the workplace. Earlier this year, he modeled clothing designed by Smart Adaptive Clothing of Philadelphia for people with disabilities. After his retirement, he gave motivational speeches to students at Gwynedd Mercy University.
“He wanted to share his knowledge and empower them,” his wife said. “The speech was so good that every student went up to Vito after and shook his hand. That’s how good he was, because Vito was real. His life was an open book. He never hid from anything. He never turned away from problems.”
One of his real passions, Rosanne said, was cooking, something that he took up early in his professional career to engage with his family on weekends.
“His mother wrote up recipes and he started learning with soups and stews, and then he just took off,” she said. “He would do French food, Italian, Mexican. He loved Italian comfort food, or just comfort food in general. He was such a good cook.
“I grew up with my mother making gravy and meatballs on a Sunday morning and then we’d eat with the family in the afternoon. Vito continued that tradition. We would always have family or friends around the dining room table.”
In addition to his wife and daughter, Mr. Cosmo is survived by his father, Vito Sr., and sisters Michele, Mary, and Joni.