Clarence E. Cox, age 92 years, a resident of Vienna, passed away Monday morning, April 3, 2017, at 4:13 AM at his home.
Clarence was born July 24, 1924 near Ozark, Illinois. He was the son of Orlan and Grace (Ross) Cox.
On May 11, 1946, Clarence was united in marriage to Eleanor “Jean” Taylor in Pinckneyville, Illinois. Together, Clarence and Jean have enjoyed almost 71 years of marriage.
In addition to his beloved wife, Clarence is survived by: his children: Sharon (her husband, Dan) Huffman of Metropolis, Sheila (her husband, Charles) Douglas of Karnak, Carol (her husband Russ) Brown of Metropolis, and Reggy (his wife, Karen) Cox of Karnak; 12 grandchildren: Sarah (her husband, Lucus) Grace, Bethany (her husband, Brandon) Fisher, Brittany (her husband, Timothy) Barton, Chad (his wife, Jodie) Douglas, Nathan (his wife Bridget) Douglas, Casey Douglas, Kyle (his wife, Andrea) Sommer, Heather Cox, Brittany (her husband, Brandon) Blackburn, Kaleb Cox, Kalissa Cox and Rachelle Cox; 16 great grandchildren – Landon Grace, Lane Grace, Chloe Fisher, Cohen Fisher, Mason Barton, Jonah Barton, Harper Barton, Jaelyn Douglas, Cambell Douglas, Charlee Jo Douglas, Madeline Douglas, Morgan Douglas, Keaton Douglas, Caden Sommer, Bentley Blackburn and Roczen Blackburn; a sister – Betty Noble of Vienna; a nephew – Ron Noble of Vienna; as well as a host of other relatives and many friends.
In addition to his parents, Clarence was preceded in death by a nephew – Terry Noble.
Clarence attended Reagan Grade School and New Burnside High School. He graduated from Vienna High School in 1942. Clarence attended Southern Illinois Normal University in Carbondale for one year prior to be drafted into the United States Army in 1943. Clarence was sent to Camp Croft South Carolina for 17 weeks training with the 03 and M-1 rifle machine gun, mortar grenades and bayonet use. He was then sent to Fort Dix New Jersey for embarkation to Manchester, England and was assigned to the 1st Division (infantry) as a replacement preparing for the invasion of Germany in World War II.
On June 6, 1944, Clarence was part of the first wave of troops to land on Omaha Beach, Normandy France. He was one of 65 that survived out of 187 in his Company E, 2nd Battalion, 16th infantry of the 1st Division and continued across France, Belgium, Germany and Czechoslovakia until Germany surrendered on May 8, 1945.
Following his honorable and distinguished service, during which time Clarence received two Purple Hearts, he returned home to resume his education. Clarence graduated from Southern Illinois University in Carbondale and obtained a Masters Degree in Education from the University of Illinois, Urbana in 1949. He taught Vocational Agriculture for a total of 38 years at Cave-in-Rock, Grayville and, including 28 years, at Joppa High School. Clarence was a staunch supporter and leader in the F.F.A. (Future Farmers of America).
Clarence, along with his father Orlan, operated the United Real Estate Agency, later Cox Real Estate, in Vienna for several years.
Clarence was a member of the Beggs-Gurley VFW Post # 5222 in Vienna. He was also a charter member of the National World War II Museum. A narrative recording of his experiences are archived in his own words at the museum. He is also commemorated with a brick engraved with his name and rank recognizing his selfless service. Clarence and Jean were faithful members of the Joppa Missionary Baptist Church.
In his spare time, Clarence was an avid outdoorsman. He enjoyed hunting and fishing. Clarence was a devoted St. Louis Cardinals baseball fan.
A service honoring the life of Clarence Cox will be conducted Thursday morning, April 6, 2017, at 11 AM at Bailey Funeral Home in Vienna. Pastor David Wright will officiate.
Burial will be in the Vienna Fraternal Cemetery. Military honors will be accorded by the Beggs-Gurley VFW Post # 5222 and the Illinois National Guard Burial Honors detail.
Visitation will be held Wednesday evening, April 5, 2017, from 5 PM – 8 PM at Bailey Funeral Home in Vienna.
Memorials may be made to the Joppa Missionary Baptist Church, P.O. Box 276, Joppa, Illinois 62953.
To share a memory of Clarence or to leave a message of condolence for his family, please visit www.baileyfh.com
Funeral arrangements have been entrusted to Bailey Funeral Home in Vienna.