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Franklin Lafayette Cox

June 21, 1928 — August 11, 2023

Franklin Lafayette Cox

Frank Cox died peacefully on August 11, 2023, at his home at Thrive at Augusta in Martinez, Georgia. He was 95.

Frank was born in Atlanta in 1928, the son of Leon J. and Louise (Calhoun) Cox, and was raised in Atlanta, Augusta, and Decatur, graduating from Decatur High School in 1945. As part of the post-War effort, that fall he attended Japanese language school at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, where he met his much-loved future wife, Mary Grace Johnson.

Frank served for a year in the U.S. Army, spent a summer working for the United Fruit Company as a field supervisor on a banana plantation in Costa Rica, and then graduated from Clemson Agricultural College (now Clemson University) in 1949, majoring in animal husbandry. He and Mary Grace were married in 1950 and made their home in Clemson, Charleston, and Wadmalaw Island, South Carolina. He worked as an agricultural economist and research assistant for the state of South Carolina until accepting a position with Southern Bell Telephone in Atlanta in 1952.

While with Southern Bell, Frank and Mary Grace raised a family of three boys, Franklin R. (Rusty), David L., and Steven R. (Ralston). Early in his career they lived in Atlanta and Savannah, settling in Decatur in 1961.

When he was a very young boy, Frank’s mother inherited Liberty Hill, a property located along the Ogeechee River in Warren County that had been in the family since the 1860s. His father managed Liberty Hill through the Depression and into the 1960s as a livestock and cash crop farm. He was able to do so while living in Decatur with the assistance of four generations of tenant farmers from the Ficklin families, all of whom lived on the property for a time, including Lewis, his sons Sherman and John H. (Buster), Buster’s sons, John H., Jr. (Junior) and Eddie, and Junior’s large, loving, extended family.

Having been such an important part of his life, it was to this treasured Liberty Hill that Frank and Mary Grace retired in 1979 after Frank took early retirement from BellSouth (formerly Southern Bell). He became what he called a “gentleman farmer,” raising cattle, running a large haying operation, and timbering. He volunteered as a tax assessor for Warren County for several years and spent a great deal of time enjoying the life of an outdoorsman: fishing, hunting deer and quail, camping, raising hunting dogs, and just being in the woods and on the water whenever possible.

Frank and Mary Grace happily made their home at Liberty Hill for more than 30 years until Mary Grace’s death in 2011. Frank remained there until moving to Thrive at Augusta in 2019.

It was said of Frank that he never met a stranger, and that he could – and certainly would – talk to just about anybody about almost anything. He touched the lives of so many people from all walks of life during his long years. He will be sorely missed by his family and a large community of his many dear friends and neighbors, the Ficklin family among them.

Frank was predeceased by Mary Grace and Rusty (Rebecca Truax) and is survived by his sons David (Mindy Weltman) and Ralston. He is also survived by grandsons Joshua K. (Aneela Alamgir), Michael W. (Samantha Freistat), and Charles F. (Rachel Shrewsbury), step-grandson Jason Rowell (Lanae Gee), and step-granddaughter Jennifer R. Moore (Shane Moore). He was the treasured uncle of Mark, John, and Carolyn (Wester) Negley, and is survived by two great-grandchildren, Lily Cox and Zain Cox, and seven step-great-grandchildren, Phoenix and Liam Rowell, Logan Krasnow, Harper Myers, and William, Georgianna, and Charlotte Grace Moore.

Family and friends will hold a memorial service at Liberty Hill on Saturday, October 7th, at 11 a.m. Following the service, Frank’s ashes will be spread on the Ogeechee River to join those of his dearly loved Mary Grace. You may write to omothcox@gmail.com for more information.

In lieu of flowers, please consider making a contribution to Ogeechee Riverkeeper, a 501(c)3 charity that works to protect, preserve, and improve the water quality of the Ogeechee River basin ( http://ogeecheeriverkeeper.org/ ), or to a charity of your choice.
To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Franklin Lafayette Cox, please visit our flower store.

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