Donald Cox

Donald R. Cox

1927 - 2018

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Obituary of Donald Cox

Don Cox was born in Tacoma, Washington on October 3, 1927 to George and Katherine (Ils) Cox.  He moved with his parents to the Portland, Oregon area when he was a baby.  Don was very quiet (!) - so it was hard to gather his story - but we had success in what is shared below, confirmed by written records. 

He spent some of his earliest years growing up at the base of Oak Grove Blvd in Oak Grove, Oregon - just down the hill from where he would have the family home from 1960 - 2018.  He remembered walking across a frozen Willamette River in those early years.  He attended Oak Grove Grade School - as would his children later in life - for his second and third grade years. The family moved once again and he attended Powellhurst School (on 122nd Avenue in Portland) in 5th and 6th grade, where he enjoyed playing basketball.  He also attended Kellogg School (on Powell Street) while living on SE Gladstone Street around 15th Avenue - and Sellwood Grade School where he graduated in 8th grade. One of his fondest school memories was making a desk in the shop class.  He worked at Morris Brothers Grocery Store on SE 13th Avenue in Sellwood, driving groceries to homes on his bicycle.  Don went on to attend Benson High School where his primary interest was in Aviation.

As a growing boy, Don remembered his visits with his uncles Herb and Walt, as well as aunts Lottie Dill and Hattie Walmsly.  A favorite memory was riding around in a car with his cousin Ricky (Richard) Dill.  Don's brother (Ray) and sisters (Betty and Margy) were pretty independent and all did "their own thing" growing up.

Don quit school in to enlist in the U.S. Navy on January 18, 1945. He served on the troop transport ship USS Wayne.  During this time, the landing craft from the ship landed in Nagasaki, Japan on September 23, 1945 after the atomic bomb had been dropped - to disembark Marines.  Don noted that he was the first US soldier to set foot on Japanese soil after the bombing - because he was the one who stepped off the landing craft after the door was lowered in order to assist a General ashore. On this ship he traveled to Eniwetok, Guam, Saipan, Japan, Philippines and returned US Navy veterans to San Diego as part of "Operation Magic Carpet." When Don was discharged from the Navy on July 5, 1946, he immediately signed up for the    U. S. Army with his friend, Wayne Isaccson. They were in boot camp together at Fort Ord and spent summers in Alaska doing topographical survey work for "classified terrain" with the 2nd Platoon, 537th Engineer Base Survey Co.  Don rose to the rank of corporal and was awarded the World War II Victory Medal and the Asiatic Pacific Area Campaign Medal.

After the service, Don worked for Pacific Telephone & Telegraph, laying coaxial cable from California to Portland. From there he went to work for General Motors parts division and was working there when he and Judy were married.

Don's first car was a green Buick, followed by a green Mercury which he let his brother Ray use when Don was in the Army.  He then bought a 1952 Ford, which was the car he had when he and Judy met.  Don liked to roller skate at Oaks Park and owned his own skates.  He often got together with Del and Art Rambo.  Del played guitar, Art played violin, friend Wayne Isaccson played accordian and Delbert Steele would join in to sing with all of them - country music - Don's favorite.  Don met Judy while she and her mom were working at Del & Dollie's Cafe in Sellwood (near corner of SE13th and Tacoma). He gave her an engagement ring one night and she "just took it" - Judy says he never asked her to marry him - he just assumed she knew what it meant.  They were married on July 8, 1954 in Judy's hometown of Detroit Lakes, Minnesota.

Don also worked for Alpenrose Dairy as a delivery man and for Hudson House - a grocery warehouse based in the north part of Milwaukie/South Sellwood. While living in Detroit Lakes, Minnesota for a couple years, he drove a grain truck.  Later, he worked for Canteen Corp, Timfab - and after retiring from Timfab - he worked for the Lambert's at the Trustworthy Hardware store on SE Division.

Don also worked for Alpenrose Dairy as a delivery man and for Hudson House - a grocery warehouse based in the north part of Milwaukie/South Sellwood. While living in Detroit Lakes, Minnesota for a couple years, he drove a grain truck.  Later, he worked for Canteen Corp, Timfab - and after retiring from Timfab - he worked for the Lambert's at the Trustworthy Hardware store on SE Division.

Don was an active member of Immanuel Lutheran Church in the Sellwood neighborhood where he was baptized and confirmed as a young adult.  He sang baritone in the church choir for many years, as well as being the head usher.  He was a "money counter" with Ken Trinklein for several years - counting, recording and depositing the offerings.  He was a part of the Evangelism Explosion program and served on Immanuel's Worship Committee for many years. Don also participated in the congregation's men's group on Saturday mornings.

Social groups connected with Immanuel were a big part of Don's life.  He and Judy were a part of the "Card Club" that would meet monthly at various members homes to play cards (and drink beer!) and continued for many years and created lasting friendships.

Don was also involved in two bowling teams made up of church members.  The first team was sponsored by Wilhelm Funeral Home for which he bowled for many years at Milwaukie Bowl in the Century League on Tuesday nights.  Later, he formed a second team and had two sons - Don, Jr. and Dave on the team, along with Tony Greco and a non-church related bowler named Dave.  The team went by the name "DDT" - which stood for Don's Dave's and Tony.  That team won the Century League championship one year!

Don was a strong family man - and supported his children's church, school, music and sports activities.  He took his sons to Beaver baseball games in the 1960's and to the Blazers when they arrived in the NBA in 1970.  He supported sons in baseball, basketball and football by getting them to practices, assisting coaches and being a part of the Rex Putnam High School Dad's Club.  Don Jr. has fond memories of being taken to his Rex Putnam High home basketball games on the back of Don's Honda 90cc motorcycle - and on cold days his face not warming up until playing in the second half of those games.  Don attended all his children's piano recitals, as well as school choir and band performances.  He enjoyed fishing for northern pike with the kids on Floyd Lake in Minnesota - which the family would do annually each summer while visiting Judy's relatives. Don had a good sense of humor and was known for giving his thumb and saying "get out of my chair (or pew!) if someone was in his spot and then a smile crept across his face.  He also loved golfing with some men of the church, as well as his sons and grandsons - most often at Rivergreens in Gladstone.  Even when he became physically unable to attend sporting events in person, the family would enjoy watching the Blazers, Timbers and Minnesota Vikings on TV in the family room at his home - which was being experienced once again on the day of his passing at home, Thursday, September 27, 2018 at 8:05 p.m.

Don is survived by his wife of 64 years, Judy; children Don Cox Jr (Lynne)., Dave Cox (Tammy), Susan Bladow, Jodie Williams (Ted) and Wayne Cox (Dana); grandchildren Michael Cox (Michelle), Brandon Cox, Jordan Cox, Jonathon Cox, Matthew Cox, Kristopher Bladow, Stephen Bladow, Tyler Richmond (Jessica), Daniel Williams, Matthew Williams, Ryan Cox, Stevie Cox and Tyanna Cox; great-grandchildren Braeden Cox, Graecen Cox, Rylen Cox and Peyten Cox; many cousins, nieces and nephews.

Donations in his memory can be made to Immanuel’s preschool or social ministries efforts, hospice or your favorite charity.

Wednesday
10
October

Military Honor Service

9:00 am - 9:30 am
Wednesday, October 10, 2018
Willamette National Cemetery
11800 SE Mt Scott Blvd.
Portland, Oregon, United States
Wednesday
10
October

Memorial Service

11:00 am
Wednesday, October 10, 2018
Immanuel Lutheran Church
7810 SE 15th Avenue
Portland, Oregon, United States