Jack Ellis Cox, 96, of Pine Knoll Shores, died Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018, at Carteret Landing in Morehead City.
A private service will be held at a later date.
Jack Ellis Cox was born Aug. 5, 1922, in Travelers Rest, S.C. He was the son of the late Ford Chastain Cox and Mollie Coleman Cox of West Asheville.
Jack was married to the love of his life, Margery June Monson Cox for 64 years. Jack and Margery had three children, Bruce Ellis Cox, Crista Lee Cox Shaw and retired Rear Admiral Robert Justin Cox. Jack and Margery’s family grew to three grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.
At an early age, Jack was a dedicated Boy Scout, an avid boxer and an apprentice in a local pharmacy. Enlisting in the U.S. Navy in 1940, Jack became an aviation machinist mate with VP 73 operating out of Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and Reykjavik, Iceland. With a significant knack for everything mechanical, Jack quickly became recognized as a leader and a mechanical whiz kid. He was promoted to chief petty officer in just three and a half years and was in charge of all maintenance and upkeep of all aircraft assigned to VP 73, fighting the German U-boat Wolfpack in the Northern Atlantic.
Excelling in his assigned duties with the Navy, he was selected for college education through the V-12 program. Given a choice of six universities to attend, Jack said he only wanted to go to the college that would get him the closest to his sweetheart Margery. Attending Yale University, he received his mechanical engineering degree in 1947.
As a result of a hearing loss suffered in his service in PBY’s in Iceland, he received a medical discharge from the Navy and in 1949 began a career in the lubricants development program with Shell Oil Co. After 23 years, Jack was eager to return with his family to his roots in Asheville. The family purchased a small home heating oil company in Arden, called Lamplighter Oil Co. Lamplighter became the very first Mobil Oil Distributorship in western North Carolina. Eventually, Jack became president of the N.C. Oil Jobbers Association.
In the 1960s, Jack took the family north to Long Pond in Belgrade Lakes, Maine, where they built a cedar camp, affectionately called the Cedar Chest. The Cedar Chest served as a family retreat and vacation home for 40 years. Many fish and tall stories were caught and told in this family home.
In 1980, Jack and Margery retired to Palm Harbor, Fla. As an avid golfer, he enjoyed the opportunity to play golf at their local golf courses. He proudly displayed his hole in one trophy from the Highland Lakes Golf Club in Palm Harbor.
He continued his charitable work through their church and community. Jack was a founding force behind the Kiwanis Club and the creation and construction of the senior center in Palm Harbor. Jack and Margery made possible the restoration of the original deteriorating Methodist chapel, and the move of the Palm Harbor United Methodist Church from the chapel into a church property, which allowed for the growth of the congregation and its expansive ministry.
As a devoted Christian, Jack Cox believed fervently in a life of service, and dedication to family and the nation. The love and blessings he bestowed on his family and extensive friendships is a gift many will continue to cherish.
He was preceded in death by his loving parents; his older sister, Mildred McGill; and his younger brother, Robert F. Cox.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Alzheimer’s Research Foundation or local charity of one’s choice.
Arrangements are by Brooks Funeral Home & Crematory Inc. of Morehead City. Access online obituary and internet condolences through www.brooksfuneralhomeandcrematory.com.