Ranger Greg Coco

12 02 2009

Ranger Greg Coco

In this post I wrote about a short walking tour I took at Gettysburg this past August, led by Ranger and prolific author Greg Coco.  I noted in that post that Mr. Coco offered an unusually candid and humanistic narrative as he led our group to the Widow Leister house and The Angle, admonishing us all to take time to think of all the good things we have, and not to focus on the negatives.”  Later that day, after the tour, I heard from a friend that Mr. Coco was very sick with cancer.  That news cast the things he said that day in a different light.  I chose not to write about that, because I really didn’t know the man and wouldn’t discuss his health on a public forum.  I find today that Greg Coco passed away early yesterday morning.  I have not been able to track down an obituary online.  A memorial service is scheduled at the Gettysburg NMP Visitor’s Center this coming Saturday at 4 pm.



7 responses

12 02 2009
Rea Andrew Redd

Several years ago, at the Seminary Ridge Preservation Foundation’s annual symposium, Greg Coco made a presentation that will ever be in my mind. The topic of the two day meeting was “War and Combat Motivation.” Greg Coco’s presentation had to be moved to the chapel due to room renovations. It was an apt place for his remarks. He talked of his youth in Louisiana, his experience in the Viet Nam War as a prisoner of war interrogator, his decision to move to a combat assignment and his later research on Civil War combat soldiers and post-battle Gettysburg. At times, there were pauses as he spoke of things that, he admitted, he had never previously spoken.


12 02 2009
Chris Evans

That is very sad news. I have collected many of his books and I believe that his book ‘A Strange and Blighted Land: Gettysburg, The Aftermath of a Battle’ is a true classic in the field.


13 02 2009
Tony Alfano and family

My family is truly saddened to hear of the passing of Greg Coco. We have been going to Gettysburg for many years now and have known Greg for quite a few of those years. I have his books and have discussed his writings with him on several occassions. His tours were always informative and enlightening. He was a true historian and scholar that will be missed by all those who new him, toured with him and learned from his writings. His passing will leave a tremendous void at the GNMP. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends. Thank you Greg for all the fun times.

Tony, Marie, Nikki and John


14 02 2009

A few years ago, I watched a Civil War Roundtable video that included Greg. I was intrigued by his candid style of describing particular aspects of the war and how he understood them, so I sent him a letter in hopes of hooking up with him for an hour or two. The day I arrived in Gettysburg, I had a message from Greg as I checked into Larson’s Quality Inn, and it impressed me that he would take timeout to do that. I called him back and he was gone. He called me back and I was unavailable. And so it goes. We missed connections on that trip, but I did meet him a couple of years later on a Cemetery Ridge battle walk and appreciated the combination of knowledge and straightforwardness he provided. His passing is indeed sad news, as I’m sure it is to many people whose lives he profoundly touched.


14 02 2009
Bob Reichardt

My first contact with Greg was back in 1999, when I came across a small book he had edited in 1990 on my wife’s great-grandfather, Col. R.M. Powell, 5th Texas. The book was a reprint of a newspaper article that Col. Powell wrote in 1884 for a Philadelphia newspaper, describing his experiences leading the 5th Texas at Gettysburg, plus Greg’s notes and photos. That book, and Greg, got me to wondering about Col. Powell’s life before and after Gettysburg. For instance, he was from Texas, but he died here in St. Louis, Missouri. How did he end up in St. Louis?

So….I have spent the last seven years or so doing research on Col. Powell and have published several articles for a Texas genealogy and history society, culminating this year on publishing my own biography of Col. Powell, entitled “Forever The Cause.” Greg was kind enough to review some of my earlier manuscripts, offering invaluable comments. It wasn’t until I was preparing to send him a copy of my book about three weeks ago that I found out he was very ill and that his illness was terminal.

Greg was the man that got me into writing, was always helpful when I needed advice and set me straight many times on some of the Gettysburg details. He will be missed by me and my wife very much!


14 02 2009
Geraldine Rebello

I first met Gregg while vol. at the old VC and did many of his tours even had him to lunch for gumbo when his home town friends of mine were here visiting and made it for him. He truly will be miss he was always truthful and STRAIGHT FORWARD AND ALWAYS TOLD it like it was. will always be remembered in my prayers


29 11 2017
Preview: Savas Beatie Reprints Coco | Bull Runnings

[…] from Savas Beatie are paperback reprints of two Gregory A. Coco titles, 1988’s A Vast Sea of Misery: A History and Guide to the Union and Confederate Field […]


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