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Charles Ernest Cox Jr., 92, passed away on August 9, 2022, of COVID-19.
A native and lifelong resident of Kingsport, Charles was the son of Charles Ernest Cox and Elsie Gertrude McClure Cox.
Charles was a 1946 graduate of Dobyns-Bennett High School. He attended East Tennessee State College for two years and graduated from the University of Tennessee in 1951 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration.
After college Charles enlisted in the US Navy in an officers training program, was commissioned and served on active duty on ships from 1953 to 1955. He served as Disbursing Officer of the USS New Jersey and Supply Officer of the USS Bordelon. He then served in the Naval Reserve and was honorably discharged as a US Naval Reservist with the rank of Lieutenant in 1961.
Charles earned his certificate as a Public Accountant and pursued a career in accounting. After practicing as a Certified Public Accountant for several years he accepted a position at the Kingsport Press in 1961. He spent the rest of his career at the Press (which later became Arcata Graphics then Quebecor Printing), serving in various financial positions, including Controller for several years, and retired in 1995. He was a member of the Tennessee Society of Certified Public Accountants, The American Institute of Accountants and the National Association of Accountants.
Charles was a member of the Kingsport Jaycees and the Kingsport Rotary Club and participated in Toastmasters. He served on the Board of directors of the Salvation Army, the Downtown Kingsport Association, and the Ridgefields Country Club.
A devout Christian his whole life, Charles was a member of First Broad Street United Methodist Church. At First Broad Street he participated in the Pairs and Spares Sunday School Class, the Methodist Men’s group, and served as an usher.
In 1958 he married Eleanor Marie Hobbs Cox and they built a wonderful, happy life together for over 53 years until she lost her life to cancer in January 2012. They built their home in Ridgefields and raised their three children there, Christine, Susan and Ernie. A devoted husband and father, he and Eleanor had an active social life and family life. They enjoyed parties, couples bridge and hosting bridge club dinner parties, and dances and other activities at Ridgefields Country Club, where they enjoyed many good times with their children. An only child, Charles was very close to his parents and after his father passed away in 1966, he included his mother in his family life and vacations until she passed away in 1976.
Charles enjoyed playing golf regularly and played with his children and Eleanor and friends. He enjoyed fishing and boating, took the family camping and did many other activities with his children and grandchildren. He provided many positive development experiences for his children, including Bible school, music, dance and acrobatics lessons, swimming, golf and tennis lessons, scouting and summer camp.
Charles had many friends throughout his life and several dear friends who affectionately called him “Charlie”. When Charles became a grandfather, Eleanor decided his grandfather name would be "Grand Cox". When his young granddaughter Lily tried to say Grand Cox it came out "Grinks" and thus he was affectionately known to the family as Grinks.
Education and achievement were important to Charles, whose mother went to college in a time when few women did and became a teacher. He provided for his children’s college education and encouraged them to complete degrees and have good careers. He advised his daughters to pursue careers so they wouldn’t “have to depend on a man” to provide for them and was proud of his children’s achievements, Christine earning a PhD from Duke University, Susan earning an MBA from East Tennessee State, and Ernie also becoming a Certified Public Accountant with his own successful business. Charles was Assistant Scoutmaster in Boy Scout Troop 50 and encouraged Ernie to earn his Eagle Scout badge. He also proudly attended his grandson Terry’s Eagle Scout ceremony.
Charles loved traveling and it was important to him for his children to experience the world outside of Kingsport. He took the family on trips to tourist attractions in the mountains, and on several memorable vacations, including a trip to the West Coast to see places such as the Grand Canyon, Tijuana Mexico, San Francisco, Disneyland, Hollywood, Yosemite and Las Vegas; to New York, Philadelphia and Disneyworld/Orlando. After he retired, he and Eleanor traveled the world, including several trips to Europe, and Scandinavia. Between his time in the Navy, trips he took with his family and with Eleanor in retirement, Charles visited over 30 countries as well as most of our States.
Charles is survived by his children, Christine Cox of Durham North Carolina, Susan Small and husband Jeffrey Small of Evans Georgia, Ernie and his wife Leanne Cox of Kingsport; grandchildren Lily Margaret McClure Rains of Durham, Caroline Elizabeth Riggs and husband Auston Riggs of Evans Georgia, Terry Lee Johnson and Thomas Lyle Johnson of Panama City Florida, and great-granddaughter Eleanor Olivia Riggs who was born on her great-grandmother Eleanor’s birthday in 2020.
Funeral services will be conducted on August 13th, 2022 at 1:30 PM at First Broad Street United Methodist Church with The Rev. Jack P. Weikel officiating. The family will receive friends following the service. Interment will follow at Oak Hill Memorial Park.
The family would like to express their appreciation to the staff of Preston Place II and Amedisys Hospice for providing Charles with excellent, loving care.
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to First Broad Street United Methodist Church, 100 East Church Circle, Kingsport, TN 37660 or to the charity of one's choice.
Saturday, August 13, 2022
Starts at 1:30pm (Eastern time)
Saturday, August 13, 2022
Starts at 2:00pm (Eastern time)
Oak Hill Memorial Park
Following receiving of friends
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