Arthur E. “Gene” Cox, 90, of Granite City, Illinois, passed away at his home on Thursday, January 4, 2018.
The son of the late Clarence W. and Pauline Ann (Glass) Cox Laney. Gene was born on January 26, 1927 in Granite City. With the exception of several years residing in St. Louis, Missouri and Salt Lake City, Utah, he lived the majority of his life in Granite City where he attended Granite City Schools (Washington School, Central Junior high and Granite City Senior High School), raised his family and developed lifelong friends and relationships.
Gene worked for the U.S. Army Aviation Systems Command (ASCOM), He retired in 1981 after 30 years of dedicated service as an Inventory Management Specialist. A United States Navy Veteran, Gene proudly served his country both in World War II (1944-1946) and the Korean War (1950-1951). From 1949 - 1950, he served in the Naval Reserve. He loved the USA; the loyalty and pride he felt for our country was undeniable.
Anyone who knew Gene was fully aware of his intense love of sports. Second only to his family; sports, especially softball, baseball and football was his true passion throughout his entire life. Beginning in 1946, his softball career spanned over thirty years. He played, umpired and managed for teams that included Granite City Depot, the Engineers, Marge’s Tip Top, Umberhines, Victory A’s, Mexican Honorary Commission and both slow and fast-pitch ball for Millie and Mickey’s. In 1959, Millie and Mickey’s became the only local team ever to win a State fast-pitch title and were inducted into the Granite City Sports Hall of Fame in 1994. Later, in 2012, Gene was also inducted into the Hall of Fame where he was honored as a player, manager, umpire and was also acknowledged for his volunteer work as an usher. Gene received numerous awards and achievements throughout his athletic career, but these inductions were by far two of his greatest honors. Gene was also a loyal and devoted fan of the St. Louis Brown’s Baseball Team and regularly attended the club’s annual reunions. He enjoyed hobnobbing with the ole Brownie players and became friends with most of them, including J. W. Porter, Bud Thomas, Art Richman, Ned Garver, Ed Mickelson and Stan Musial. He was later chosen to serve on the Board of the St. Louis Brown’s Historical Group and Fan club. He was also a die-hard Notre Dame Football fan. He volunteered as an usher for the Notre Dame Football games for twenty-one years; working the stands, gates, wheelchair area and was later selected to serve as a captain.
Gene is survived by two daughters and a son-in law, Cheryl and Don Crawford of Granite City and Janice Rynearson of Utah; a grandson, Jeffree Rynearson, two granddaughters, DeeAnna Rynearson and Tyrra Hickey two great granddaughters; Charee Rynearson and Robyn Aucoin, three great grandsons, Kyler Rynearson, Braydon Allen and Noah Hutson, two great-great grandchildren, Ryker Ballard and Londyn Jean Peck; a sister, Terry Rea; a brother, Robert Cox; two sisters-in-law, Darlene Cox and Loretta Clark; five Godchildren, Craig Garrett, Darla Minnick, John Six, Lori Schneider and Julie Berviller Moran, nieces; nephews; cousins, extended family and many friends.
In addition to his parents, Gene was preceded in death by his wife, Loral; former wife and mother of his daughters, Frances (Freeman) Cox; stepfather, Hillie “Al” Laney; son-in-law, James E. Rynearson; granddaughter, Cari Ann Crawford; mother-in-law, Margaret Mueller; two brothers, Clarence W. Cox, Jr. and James E. Cox and sister-in-law, Doris White.
In celebration of his life, private services was held on Monday, January 15, 2018.
He was laid to rest at Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery in St. Louis with full military honors for his service. Reverend Mark Maynard celebrated and honored a life well lived along with Gene’s family and friends.
In lieu of floral tributes, memorial contributions can be made to Granite City Sports Hall of Fame.
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