Friday, February 27, 2009

John E. Cox MD ( 1909 -1999)

John E. Cox

Longtime Saratoga resident John E. Cox, M.D., died in his home Nov. 14 at the age of 90.

Born April 10, 1909, in Toronto, Alberta, Cox and his family emigrated from Canada in 1916, at which time his father took a job as a printer at a New York City newspaper. Two years later, Cox's mother died of tuberculosis.

Cox quit school as a young teen and began working as a lithographer's assistant in New York City. He also joined the Boy Scouts, which began a lifelong dedication to the scouting movement. Cox later moved to Ridgefield Park, N.J., where he spent a number of years. In 1928, he learned he, too, had tuberculosis, so he packed up and drove with a friend to the warmer, drier climate of the Southwest.

He settled in New Mexico, where he was hired to work in a veterans hospital. After four years, he was transferred to California to work as an orderly and surgeon's assistant at the Palo Alto Veterans Hospital. By the time he was transferred to another such hospital in San Francisco, Cox decided to go back to high school, earn a diploma and then obtain a degree in medicine.

While pursuing his bachelor's degree at Stanford University, Cox met his future wife, Flora Martens, who was walking along Palm Drive on campus. A few months later, a friend set him up on a blind date that coincidentally turned out to be Flora again. The couple were married two years later, on June 21, 1941. At the time, Cox was working at a Boy Scout camp in the Sierras to help pay his college expenses and had to take his new wife there for their "first" honeymoon. Fifteen years later, he made up for it by taking Flora to Hawaii. In later years, Cox held titles including Scoutmaster and commissioner to the Northern California Boy Scouts Council and the National Council. He held the Scoutmaster's Key, the Silver Beaver and the Silver Antelope awards.

In 1944, Cox received his M.D. degree from the Stanford University Medical School, completed a residency at Santa Clara County Hospital and became a partner of Dr. Louis Mendelsohn, a longtime family practice doctor in Saratoga. He also joined the Saratoga Men's Club around this time. In 1949, the growing Cox family built their dream home on a road the city later named Jacks Road in Cox's honor. Cox was known throughout the community as a doctor who didn't mind making house calls and got to know his patients on a personal basis as a good friend.

In 1952, Cox became active in Dwight D. Eisenhower's presidential campaign. He later was elected to the Saratoga School District's Board of Education and served there for eight years. He also played a key role in the founding of the Saratoga Good Government Group, which had its genesis in the Cox living room in the mid-1950s.

At age 55, Cox had the first of five heart attacks, which forced him to retire early. This, however, gave him more time to invest in his family, community and Christian ministry. He taught high school-age youth at the Los Gatos Christian Church and served as board member for San Jose-based City Team Ministries. Most recently, he was a member of Lone Hill Church in San Jose.

Survivors include wife of 59 years, Flora Cox of Saratoga; son and daughter-in-law John E. and Marianne Cox of Northridge; daughters and sons-in-law Margaret and David Johnson of San Jose and Lotte and Jim Tasker of Scotts Valley; and grandchildren Katie and John Cox, Michele and Lotte Johnson, and Emily and Jenny Tasker.

Memorial services have been held. Donations may be made to the John E. Cox Camping Scholarship Fund in care of City Team Ministries, 2302 Zanker Road, San Jose, 95131-1137.

Saratoga News November 24, 1999

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