William “Bill” Marion Cox, Jr., 83, passed away Thursday, June 12, 2014 at Asante Rogue Regional Medical Center in Medford, after a long battle with Parkinson’s Disease.
He was born Dec. 12, 1930 to William Marion Cox, Sr. and Ruth Eolus Cox (Barry) in Molalla. He spent his first 35 years as a resident of Lake County. He was the great-grandson of James Kane Barry, who was an early pioneer of Irish settlement in Lake County. Bill’s Dad rode saddle bronc under the stage name of Bill Brown and won first place in the 1926 Lakeview Round Up with a memorable ride on the horse named “Bally Down” His parents owned a cattle ranch on the east side of Crump Lake in Warner Valley. He began school in Adel and then later rode the bus to attend Junior High in Lakeview.
At age 13, he moved to Lakeview and began working for the Angele family, driving tractor. He worked various jobs and was driving log truck when he decided to enlist in the U.S. Air Force in 1951 during the Korean War. During his service, Bill rose to rank of Staff Sergeant and he worked on B-36 R planes. While on leave and attending a dance in Plush, he met his future wife, Colleen Patricia Powers. They were married on March 14, 1953 in Reno, Nev. While at Travis AFB, they had two children: Donald Roy and Sheryl Ann. He was honorably discharged in late 1955 and spent the winter at his parents’ ranch in Warner Valley.
After spending two years in Idaho logging, he moved the family to Lakeview in December 1958 and went to work driving log truck for Andy Smerski. Then later went to work for American Forest Products driving log truck and working in the mill. In November 1959, their third child, Teresa Lynn, was born. In April of 1961, the fourth child, Douglas Jack, arrived.
In 1964, he renovated an old dump truck, which he used for hire, to do flood clean up in the spring of 1965. Using it, he moved the family and their possessions to Central Point. He then went to work at Ted DeFord’s Truck Shop until logging season started. The next five years he worked as a timber faller for R.W. Jacks, Vanderlip, and Ira Smith. During this time, the fifth child, Rebecca Susan, arrived in 1967. In 1971, he partnered with Art Wilson, another timber faller, to form Crater Log Salvage which was later renamed Crater Log, Inc. In 1973 they added a saw mill and retail yard in White City, which operated until sold in the late 1980’s.
Changing careers in 1994, he purchased Alton Pump, Inc., a submersible pump business and operated that until his retirement at age 80 in 2011 due to his declining health from Parkinson’s disease.
Bill’s hobbies were square dancing, boating, water skiing and target shooting. Bill had a wonderful sense of humor and enjoyed making everyone laugh, even right up to the end. He loved helping others and had an extremely generous heart for all.
Bill was preceded in death by his parents; brother Donald Kenneth Cox; nephew Robert William Cox; grandson, Joshua George Paul Wirts.
He is survived by his wife, Colleen and their five children: Sons; Donald (Raelene) of White City; Doug (Tammy) of Shady Cove Daughters; Sheryl (Peter) Wirts of Medford; Teresa Stevens (Kris) of Central Point; Rebecca (Bruce) of Sam’s Valley. Grandchildren; Brian, Travis and Lori Cox; Amelia Wirts; Amber Elliott, Anna Arritola and Joseph Glenn; Tom, Michelle and Katherine Cox; Nicole Brown and Jordan Schulz. Fourteen great-grandchildren, one great-great-grandchild and three nieces.
Memorial services will be held at 11:30 a.m. on Thursday, June 19, 2014 at Conger Morris Central Point Chapel, 800 S. Front St. in Central Point. Afterwards, a light brunch will be served 1 p.m. at The Point, 311 E. Pine St., Central Point. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made in Bill’s name to Wounded Warrior Project, P.O. Box 758517, Topeka, Kansas 66675.