Gregory Milton Coggs was born June 30, 1948 to the parents of Theodore Washington and Pauline Redmond Coggs of Milwaukee, Wisconsin who preceded him in death. Gregory was raised and attended public schools in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He graduated from Marshall High School in 1966. Upon graduation, Greg was immediately accepted into Grinnell’s History Program where he became a recipient to the Thomas J. Watson Foundation Fellows program. The Fellows program provided an opportunity for Greg to travel and study abroad. Greg’s emphasis of study was based in Africa for over a year. Upon Greg’s return from Africa and graduation from Grinnell College, he was selected to be a member of the first group of minority students admitted to the University of Michigan Law School at Ann Arbor (Class of 1970). While attending law school, Gregory became a successful business entrepreneur and graduated with honors from the University of Michigan Law School with a Jurist Doctor of Law. Gregory returned to Milwaukee in 1973 to begin employment with the Law Firm of Leonard V. Brady. He remained with this law firm for eighteen months before establishing his own private practice in 1974.
In January of 1975 Gregory married his childhood sweetheart, Tyszu. To this union one son was born, Gregory Theodore affectionately known as “Teddy”. The family attended New Hope Baptist Church while residing in Milwaukee. Gregory accepted Christ at an early age while living in Milwaukee. The family relocated to Kansas City, Kansas and began their fellowship with Eighth Street Baptist Church under the Pastorate of the late Rev. I. H. Henderson, Sr., later serving under the Pastorate of the late Rev. Dr. T. Maynard Preston and the Rev. Dr. Larry B. Williams. The Coggs family later became charter members of Peace and Fellowship Community Church under the Pastorate of the late Rev. Dr. Larry B. Williams. Gregory received his call to the ministry under the guidance and supervision of the late Rev. Dr. Larry B. Williams and became an associate Minister of Peace and Fellowship Community Church in 2007. Gregory’s spiritual journey lead him to enroll at Midwestern Theological Seminary to further his calling and increase his understanding of his ministry in 2007.
A sports enthusiast with a love for racquetball and golf, Greg sponsored and cosponsored as well as coached AAU basketball teams (GMC Law) and assisted with The Running Rebels basketball team. He also coached baseball and soccer teams for intramural sports leagues. Greg believed that competitive sports would enable the youth to develop the skills that would build character and showcase their abilities to handle daily struggles that our youth face. To Gregory, this was an investment in our youth towards developing discipline and focus.
In the mid 1980’s Gregory as Legal Redress for the Kansas City, Kansas NAACP helped to establish and organize the local Arthur Ashe Tennis Clinics, as well as bring resolve to many legal and discriminatory issues facing the Kansas City, Kansas Community. Gregory maintained various memberships in the professional legal associations and organizations. He was actively involved with community endeavors, both civil and human rights and participated in rallies to dissolve Apartheid in South Africa. Green Energy Initiatives was a current consulting endeavor. Gregory and Tyszu were owners of several businesses: Tygre Print & Graphics and a cable radio station (CJKC). He was a man of his time, a “quiet giant” of justice for the community.
The journey that took so many courses was interrupted in August 2009, when Greg was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. On May2, 2010 at 7:13 p.m., Gregory M. Coggs succumbed at Kansas University Medical Center with his wife Tyszu, family and friends at his bedside.
Gregory is survived by his wife of 35 years: Tyszu, one son Gregory Theodore “Teddy”, two grandsons Damitrius and Christian, three granddaughters Genesis, Giovani, and Tiani. One grandson Kyron preceded him in death. They all loved Pa-Pa and Pa-Pa loved them too. Brothers-in-law Elder Harold C. Dwight (Peggy) and Marvin S. Robinson, II both of Kansas City, Kansas , Sisters-in-law-Carmen Frierson (Henry) of Inglewood, CA, and DeLisa Fowler-Nunley (Lowell) of Kansas City, Kansas and a host of uncles, aunts, cousins, nieces, nephews and friends.