McGregor - John C. Cox, 80, of McGregor died Monday, March 3, 2014 at the Sanford Medical Cardiac Care Center in Fargo, N.D.
A Mass of Christian Burial was held Monday, March 10 at the Holy Family Catholic Church in McGregor, with Fr. Paul Fruth officiating. Interment was held at the Round Lake Cemetery near McGregor. Military honors were provided by the McGregor VFW and American Legion Posts.
John Charles Cox was born during the heart of the Depression in Union County, Iowa, to Ralph John and Leona Maude (Dunn) Cox on July 17, 1933. His early years were spent attending the country school and working on the family farm alongside his father, mother, and two sisters. In 1949, John enlisted in the Iowa National Guard and later was given the opportunity to re-enlist in the newly formed United States Air Force where he earned his wings as a flight engineer on the B-29 Bomber.
On February 4, 1956, he married Marjorie Ann Graff in Wichita, Kan. He continued his military service and was stationed at a number of bases in France and throughout the United States, serving as a jet mechanic and a missile maintenance technician. Later, he found his true calling as an Electronics instructor in the military technical training school, where in 1968 he was recognized as the 3362nd Technical Training Wing Outstanding Instructor of the Year.
During his military service he served on a number of base, school, and church organizations, including the NCO Club, the Rod and Gun Club, the Parent-Teacher Association, and the Boy Scouts of America. John retired after 23 years of service at the rank of Master Sergeant.
John and Marjorie moved to McGregor in the summer of 1973, where he was a very active member of the Holy Family Catholic Church serving as an usher, lector, religious educator, and acolyte.
In addition, he served on a number of different community organizations including the Arrowhead Community Development Corporation, the McGregor Area Food Shelf, the American Legion Post #0023, and the Knights of Columbus Council 4619.
He attended Itasca Community College in Grand Rapids and served as the Veteran’s Education Officer for the Northeast Minnesota Community Colleges. He also was active in local and state politics, and was elected to multiple terms on the McGregor School Board. He was honored as Minnesota Volunteer of the year in 1998.
In the spring of 1978, John graduated summa cum laude from Bemidji State University with a degree in Vocational Education. A longtime advocate of the advantages of education and giving people second chances, he turned to teaching Adult Basic Education for McGregor and Aitkin, and for the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe in East Lake, helping many students achieve their educational goals. He retired from teaching in 2008.
John always enjoyed good coffee, good food, good conversation, and a good game of cards. His two favorite greetings were “Hey, Tiger!” and “Hello, Sunshine!” When not watching car races at the track, or on television, John spent his time reading the newspaper or science fiction. He also enjoyed competing against his wife and family while watching Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune, often viewing early episodes to gain a competitive advantage.
John is survived by his beloved wife of 58 years, Marjorie Ann (Graff) Cox of McGregor; a sister, Margaret “Peggy” (Richard) Osborne of Greeley, Colo.; daughters, Jacqueline Porter of Des Moines, Iowa, Joyce (Dale) Brekke of Tamarack, Judy (George) Langhorst of Moose Lake, Jeanette Cox of Ely, Jill (Anthony) Crawford of Rosemount and Jennifer Stewart (Scott Novak) of Albertville; sons, Ralph (Mary) Cox and James Cox of Thief River Falls; grandchildren, Marjorie (Nicolas) DeJong, John (Rachel) Cox, Patrick (Jessica) Cox, Elizabeth Cox, Mathias Langhorst, Alexander Crawford, Rosella Stewart, Clinton (Annette) and Erin Porter, Chris and Michael Cox , and Alicia (Brent) Pettigrew; great-grandchildren, Aisling and Maeve Cox, Serenity and Karyna Cox, Marcus and Nyla DeJong, Christian Cox, Shane and Zach Cox, and Emma, Gaberiel, and Addison Pettigrew; as well as several brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law from the Graff family and many nieces, nephews, friends, and former students.
John was preceded in death by his parents Ralph John and Leona Maude Dunn, two sons, James Michael Cox and John Charles Cox, two grandsons, Dale Andrew Brekke and Mòises Albert Langhorst, and a sister, Virginia Ann (Gene) Roe.
May his memory be blessed.
Arrangements were with the McGregor Funeral Home. www.srtfuneral.com.