Obituary for Raymond R. Cox
Raymond R. Cox, 66, of Northfield, MN, died Friday, November 3 at his home in Northfield, surrounded by family. Ray was diagnosed with cancer seven years ago and fought longer and harder than anyone could imagine was possible, though this strength and determination was typical of him. From his birth, in Stockton, California on June 26, 1951, to his death, he was loving, hardworking, and optimistic. The third of six children born to Marjorie (Herrmann) and William Gould Cox, he was a loyal and devoted brother and son. The family moved to Northfield in 1961 where he quickly felt part […]
Raymond R. Cox, 66, of Northfield, MN, died Friday, November 3 at his home in Northfield, surrounded by family. Ray was diagnosed with cancer seven years ago and fought longer and harder than anyone could imagine was possible, though this strength and determination was typical of him. From his birth, in Stockton, California on June 26, 1951, to his death, he was loving, hardworking, and optimistic. The third of six children born to Marjorie (Herrmann) and William Gould Cox, he was a loyal and devoted brother and son. The family moved to Northfield in 1961 where he quickly felt part of the community. Throughout his teen and young adult years he worked many different jobs from farms and gas stations to funeral homes and furniture delivery. He graduated from NHS in 1969 and wrote a check to Ripon College for every penny he had in order to start his college education that fall. He transferred to St. Olaf in 1971, where he majored in Biology. While attending St. Olaf he met “the cutest, smartest girl,” Ellen (Bjork), in British Literature class and they married in 1975.
He and Ellen had three children. He always knew he wanted to be present and involved in family life and made sure his family knew they were his highest priority. His main goals in life were to be a good husband and father and to provide for his family. He accomplished those goals exceedingly well and was a good community member and public servant as well.
He worked construction, eventually joining – and later becoming owner of – Northfield Construction Company. He got great satisfaction from helping to create strong and beautiful homes and buildings in the community. As a business owner, he valued his employees, treated them well, and was fortunate enough to have many of them for a long time.
The organizations and boards that Ray gave his time and energy to were numerous. These included 15 years on the Northfield School Board, two terms in the MN House of Representatives, Rotary Club, Northfield Planning Commission, and more. Ray had a profound impact within the Northfield community but also the State of Minnesota. These communities will forever be better for the work that he did and the thoughtful consideration he gave to every issue that came before him. In a life of public service there is no such thing as pleasing everyone, but with Ray as an advocate for the communities that he served, they could be confident that he arrived at his decisions with careful thought and consideration. There was an innate desire for him to leave this world a better place for his children and grandchildren and part of how he did that was through his public service.
Ray was a devoted member of the First United Church of Christ, where he taught Sunday school, served as a truste and volunteered on numerous church committees. In particular, he gave his time and professional expertise during significant renovations. Just this year, he was still working with the facilities committee.
Though Ray was a man of many talents and roles, those that were most important to him were husband, father, and grandfather. His favorite things in his grandfathering phase of life were nurturing gifts in his grandchildren by reading to them, drawing with them, creating wood structures with them at his wood shop, playing games of make-believe, watching them sing, dance and do puppet shows, and above all making them feel loved and feel that this world was a good place where there were so very many things to enjoy and be thankful for.
Left to honor Ray and remember his love are his wife of 42 years, Ellen Cox, his three children, Tristan (Beth), Marja (Sam) Steinberg, Diana (Mike) Stepanek, and seven grandchildren, Charlotte and Christopher Cox, Leo, Winston and Calvin Steinberg, and Teagan and Daxton Stepanek; siblings Tom Cox (Emily Damron), Jennifer Cox Johnson (Bill Johnson), Robert Cox (Kathryn Jamison), Sarah (Ross) Currier, and Virginia (Bob) Kearney. He was preceded in death by his father and mother.
A funeral service will be held on Saturday, November 25th at 10:30 am at the First United Church of Christ in Northfield. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made in Ray’s name to the UCC, the Community Action Center, or HealthFinders. biermanfuneralhome.com