Cox Characters
Conclusions to Confusions

Part 4: Chapter 21

 
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Marvin Wesley Cox
& Devota Hanks


by Kenny Ray Cox

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My dad, Marvin Wesley Cox, was living in Pauls Valley, Oklahoma when he married Ina Gene Edwards of Stratford, Oklahoma. He bought a small house, moved it to the rear of Papa’s farm. To supplement his income, my dad picked pecans, worked on other farms, bought and sold eggs, and raised watermelons, working as hard as he could for his bride and his new son Charles. But this was a miserable life for his young wife, and she could not take it.

While Dad was at work one day, Ina left. Grandma Cox and Maurine kept the baby until Dad remarried.

genealogical chart

Dad had not been able to go to school as much as his older brothers had. When he and younger brother Claudie were of school age, the older ones had all grown up and moved on. My dad remembered feeling he had too much work to do helping Papa to worry about his education. In fact, he was in the 4th grade seat for four consecutive years. But he had a gift for numbers and was determined to succeed.

It was quite clear that something had to change, so Dad traveled to Texas to work for his older brother Emanuel at construction jobs. Next he worked at Townley’s Dairy in Oklahoma City, with Allen, who lived there for a while, only to find he did not want to do that. In Tulsa, he found another job that was not for him, digging manholes.

It was in a grocery store in Tulsa that Marvin found the work he was most suited for, as he really knew his onions and taters.

He came back to Oklahoma City about 1937, to take a job at "Honest John’s Grocery," the Poor Man’s Friend. He became the produce manager.

This job had an added bonus, for Dad met Mom while she was shopping.

 


Photograph 63:
Devota Hanks

Marvin Wesley Cox married Anna Devota Hanks on the 22nd day of April in 1938. Devota worked as a driver for the Oklahoma League for the Blind. They rented a small house one half block from the store, and Charles came to live with them. Life was certainly better now. Dad had a good job and a new wife, and his son was once again with him.

On the 29th day of June in 1940, a really big event happened. I was born. On the 11th day of August in 1941, Billy was born. At each birth, Maurine was there with Mom. What would we have done without her help?

Photograph 64: Marvin and Devota Cox 1943
Their first grocery store.
Billy (l.), Kenney (r.)

My dad bought his first grocery store, on credit, Bert’s Corner Grocery on Central Avenue and SE 15th Street in Oklahoma City. He signed a rental agreement for the building and fixtures; signed a note for the stock, and put all he had, $111.00 in the cash register for change.

Business was good during the war years. Dad could buy things that were rationed, using his connections with Honest John owners. As I recall, they were D. A. Stricklin and Red Smalley. Red taught Dad how to buy low, sell quickly, and then do it again. Dad’s motto became "A fast nickel beats a slow dime...anytime."

Another business man, Bill Cornelius, convinced him to become a partner and buy an Honest John Store located at 800 NE 4th St. Dad and Bill changed the name to B & M Market. Dad sold the Central Avenue Store to a man named Rose.

Meanwhile Marvin had invested in some real estate. He bought two rental houses at 322 and. 324 SE 15th mainly to move my Hanks grandparents from Hartford, Arkansas to Oklahoma City. They were both in failing health, but were able to care for us boys while mom and Dad worked. By this time, Charles had gone to live with his mother and her new husband. It was easy for our grandparents to care for Billy and me, since we were such good kids. (?)

Dad bought a nice, large house on the SW corner of 15th and Byers. He had started building a 2-car garage out of cement blocks when he and his partner decided to dissolve their partnership. Consequently, the garage became a store.

My dad asked his brother E. V. how to redo the walls and convert to a larger building. I remember his reply. E. V. never said a word, just backed his one ton flat bed truck around, backed into the garage, and drove right through the back wall. E. V. Cox was a character and the E. V. Cox Construction Company, continues to "build Oklahoma."

The store opened without a name and business was good from the first day. A name contest was held and a crippled man suggested By-Er-Rite and won $10.00 worth of groceries. By-Er-Rite-was a little gold mine. I can remember stacks of money on our new Duncan Phyfe dining table. This same table that Billy and I used to dust with socks on our hands in preparation for the Sunday get-togethers is still being used in my house.

E. V.’s oldest son Jimmie helped in this store, and I remember when Mom played a joke on him. He had said he would NEVER drink any of the goat’s milk that we sold. So one busy Saturday, Mom had his food ready.

When he came back to the store, Mom said, "Did you eat all of your lunch and drink your milk?"

"Of course," he said.

"Well, that was goat’s milk you drank."

He was never convinced.

Mom and Dad traded two hundred pounds of sugar for a 1909 Willys-Overland four-door touring car. They went to Kansas with a trailer to get it from the people who were selling it, some of Mother’s kin from the Goodbody family.

After cleaning the spark plugs and filling it with good gas, Dad started the car by pulling it with a tractor. Then he drove it onto the trailer, brought it home, and had it restored by Puckett’s Garage on SE 29th St.

That car was the star attraction in the 89’er parade in the Capitol Hill section of Oklahoma City for several years. It is now on display in a Philadelphia Museum.

 

Photograph 65: Marvin's 1909 Overland

Appeared in The Daily Oklahoman, p.4, Jan. 7, 1948.

"Just rarin’ for a ride, are, front, Kenneth Cox 7; Harold Rogers, 16, and V.C. Bearden, 12, and back row, Charles Sanders, 9, Eugene Smith, 8, and Billy Cox, 6."

Dad was having severe migraine headaches that caused him to have occasional blackouts. This happened once while he was on the 29th Street railroad tracks. He was saved from being hit by a train by an employee at N & R Feed Store. In 1945, because of these headaches, he traded the By-Er-Rite Grocery and the big house on the corner for a motel in Hot Springs, Arkansas. While he was in Hot Springs, he took the baths and just "chilled out" for a while.

Before too long, he was back in Oklahoma City, looking for a location for a store. He tried to buy back the By-Er-Rite, but they wouldn’t sell. So he moved Grandma Hanks to another house, put the old house at the rear of the lot; moved the other rental house east near Temple Baptist Church, and proceeded to build "Cox By Er Rite Grocery." So within a two-block stretch of SE 15th Street, we had three different stores.

As Bill and I grew up, we became more and more a part of the grocery business. Dad taught us to be honest and hard working. He also taught us a trade is not a good trade unless all parties are happy.

Dad would buy more watermelons than he could possibly stock. The fruit cost more money than Dad ever had in hand; nevertheless, he managed to "pre-sell" and get them delivered to local stores. With this deal, our store’s portion of watermelons came out almost free. My younger brother, Billy, and I got in the action and sold plenty in our youth. You might say that three generations of Cox boys were "Watermelon Kings."

Photograph 66: Billy, Butch and Kenny
photo circa 1953

Mom and Dad were always helping others in one way or another. If some one was out of a job, Dad would hire him to work on a rental house, or paint, or plow the garden or do whatever else needed to be done. Mom was always collecting clothes for the kids in Gander Flats. She helped with the Sharon Mission that was sponsored by the Temple Baptist Church.

The church was a big part of our lives. The preacher always knew where Dad was if he wasn’t at church. Squirrel hunting had a code name—Sunshine Mission. When Mom was asked, "Where’s Marvin," she always smiled and said, "I believe he’s at Sunshine Mission today."

Dad had a way of getting the best—and most—work out of other people. He could chastise you with humor and that kept you from getting angry about it. Being good with numbers, he was a good Domino player. The pastor, Brother Dickson, and his wife were frequent guests at our house, but the good brother could never learn to play dominoes as well as Dad. After selling the store to Don Fox, owner of Honest-John stores, the final years of Dad’s life were spent at "Bill’s Used Car Lot," playing dominoes with his friends.

Dad passed away the 24th day of August, 1984. He was loved by all who knew him. The Exchange Baptist Church was not large enough for all those who came to his funeral. The church had 800 seats—all full. So, folks stood along walls and in the vestibule. Speakers were set on the front steps and sidewalks for those who could not enter. Dad was a real character, with real character!

Mom lived another 6 years and died on May 24th of 1990. My other two beloved surrogate parents, my Hanks grandparents, were Riley Clay Hanks, who died June 12, 1944. and Mary Anna Goodbody, who passed away on December 12, 1961.

 

Descendants of Marvin Wesley Cox and his two wives,
Ina Gene Edwards and Anna Devota Hanks

 

Marvin first married Ina Gene Edwards on 27 December 1927 in Pauls Valley, Oklahoma. They had one child, Charles, then divorced in January of 1938, see next page. Marvin’s second marriage was to Anna Devota Hanks on 22 April 1938. They had two sons, Ken and Billy. For more genealogical data on Ina Gene Edwards’ ancestry, click here.
For more genealogical data on Devota Hanks’ ancestry, click here.

Charles Wesley Cox
b. 13 Nov 1932, Pauls Valley, Garvin County, Oklahoma
m. Jo Ann Hughey, 18 Jun 1954, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Two daughters were born of this marriage:

1. Charla Ann Cox, b. 12 Jul 1960
m1 David Epley, 21 Nov 1982
      Chelsey Ann Epley, b. 11 Feb. 1984
      Chad Ryan Epley, b. 01 Jul 1987
James Douglas Bundy, 13 Dec 1990, Tulsa, Oklahoma
     Gregory Michael Bundy, b. 09 Sep 1992

2. Dana Jo Cox, b. 09 Aug 1962


Photograph 67: Charlie Cox & family
back: Jo Ann, Charlie, Charla, Doug
front: Chelsey and Chad

Don’t miss out on Chelsey’s rollicking contribution to this family history. Click here for her version about some of the horsing around in the Cox family.

 

Kenneth Ray Cox
b. 29 Jun 1940, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

m1 Terry Lynn Herren, 24 Apr 1957, Denton, Texas, div.
Five children born of this marriage:

b. 9 Mar 1940 Whittier, California

1. Timothy Ray Cox, b. 21 Apr 1958 Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

m. Lynda Kay Balch, 10 Aug 1974, Clovis, New Mexico
b. 11 Jun 1958 to Bobbie Balch and Francis Lee Wheeler
Four children:

Jason Trinity Cox, b. 02 Mar 1975
Shelly Denise Cox, b. 17 May 1977
Nathan Scott Cox, b. 14 Aug 1980
Richard Lynn Cox, b. 17 Aug 1983
child of Richard is Sierra Denise Lesly, b. 12 Aug 2000

2. James Matthew Cox, b. 09 Jan 1960, Edmond, Oklahoma

m1 Debra Sue Shaw 22 Apr 1976, divorced
b. 28 June 1959 to Robert Shaw and Emily Fay Smith
Two children:

Michelle Yvonne Cox, b. 08 Nov 1976
LeeAnne Marie Cox, b. 16 Aug 1979
child of LeeAnne is Ariel Madison Watts, b. 4 Oct 1996

m4 August 1999, Jannette Kay Cook

3. David Wesley Cox, b. 10 Sep 1961 Oklahoma, City, Oklahoma

life-partner: Jean François Pinto, 10 May 1986, Paris, France
b. 12 June 1940, France, to José Pinto and Marie "Patty" Rousseau

4. Daniel Lynn Cox, b. 02 Mar 1963 Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

m1 Adella Leigh Harville, b. 2 Dec. 1963, divorced
b. 2 Dec. 1963, Texas, to Carroll W. Harville and Clara Lee Mitchell
One child:

Cody Lynn Cox, b. 27 Oct 1983

m2 Kathy Rae Hagen, divorced

5. Steven Anthony Cox, b. 29 Mar 1966, Hollywood, California

m.1 Claudia Dyanne Eckdahl, 02 Jun 1990 in Vail, Colorado
One child:

Brittany Morgan Cox, b. 21 Aug 1993

m2 Lorrie Manes-Keim, 29 Jun 1997 in Tucson, Arizona
b. 8 Sept 1964 in Arizona, to Ronnie Mane and Connie Dunn Woodbury.
Two children:

Ryleigh Nicole Cox, b. 6 Sept 2000
Brian Steven Cox, b. 28 March 2002

m.2 Orline Vigil (a.k.a. "Lynn"; née Rodriguez)
m.3 Adena Hibdon (née Leming)
m.4 Doris Gail Monholland, 20 Jun 1979 , b. 17 Feb. 1956, Oklahoma City

6. Christopher Paul Cox (adopted by Ken) b. 08 Apr 1975

m.1 15 Jan 1994, Rebecca Hennington
m.2 01 Nov 1997, Jessica Laura Joslin One child:
Jencie Elizabeth Cox, b. 21 Oct 1998

William Keith Cox
b. 11 Aug 1941, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
m. Joan Marie Whitlock, 19 Feb. 1961, Oklahoma City
Two children:

1. Brenda Lee Cox, b. 07 Dec 1962
m. Steve Herschel Moore 04 Jun 1982, Oklahoma City, b. 18 Nov 1959
Two children:
      Tyler Cale Moore
, b. 13 Jan 1991 (adopted)
      Alexis Michele Moore, b. 12 March 1995 (adopted)

2 Anita Lynn Cox, b. 20 Oct 1969
m. JoEl Kimball, May 1984, b. 28 Oct 1958 Oklahoma City
Six children:
     Mary Elizabeth Kimball, b. 12 Feb. 1985
     David Wesley Kimball, b. 09 Jun 1986
     Daniel Aaron Kimball, b. 07 Jun 1988
     Paul Isaac Kimball, b. 25 Apr 1990
     James Kelvin Kimball, b. 31 Mar 1992
     JoAnna Lee Kimball, b. 28 Mar 1994

Photograph Group: Bill and Joan Cox family portraits

Joan and Bill Cox
Joan & Bill Cox (1995)



Steve & Brenda Moore (above)
and their children:
Alexis (left) and Tyler (below)
Anita & Joel Kimball
and their children (below)


The Kimball Kids:
James, Daniel, Paul, Mary, JoAnna, David

Don’t miss out on Mary’s delightful contribution to this family history. Click here to go her contribution and learn more about her Grandpa Bill. And if you haven’t read it already, click here to go to her contribution and see what their Grandma Joan has to say about Great-Grandpa Marvin. For elements on the Kimball’s at the Alamo, and family history, go to Part 5.

 

A sampling of Devota Hanks Cox’s poetry and prose:

I may not go and scatter flowers
where you are sleeping ’neath the sun and dew
But if one lies in pain through weary hours
I send the flowers there, dear heart, for you.

Life claims our best, you
would not have me waste a single
day in selfish idle woe.
I fancy that I hear you bid me haste,
lest I should sadly falter as I go.


Perchance so much now seems incomplete
was left for me in my poor way to do.
And I shall love to tell you when we meet
that I have done your errands, dear, for you.

For You, Marvin

The things you loved, I have not laid away
to mould in the darkness, year by year.
The songs you sang, the books you read each day,
are all about me, intimate and dear.
I do not keep your chair a thing apart,
lonely and empty, desolate to view.
But if one comes weary sick at heart,
I seat him there and comfort him for you.
I do not go apart in grief and weep,
For I have know your tenderness and care.
Such memories are joys that we may keep;
and so, I pray for those whose lives are bare.

Thanksgiving 1986

Thanksgiving Day, says the dictionary, is a giving of thanks to God for the blessings He has given us during the past year.
It is usually a day spent with family and loved ones and enjoying the harvest of the past year.
But this year was different with me.
I simply wanted to spend it alone with just Jesus and the memory of bygone years when Dad was still with us.
I wanted to go to his grave if the weather permitted and it did; it is a beautiful day.
I just wanted to stand there by his grave and relive our married life
until God saw fit to take him to the place that He had prepared for him.

Wonder what it is like?
Wouldn’t you like to know?
According to the gospel, we’ve never seen anything to equal its beauty.
And I’m. sure that he is enjoying that blessed rest God has promised, and that he so deserved.
As I think back over our lives together from where I first met him at the Honest John’s Grocery Store at 501 S Harvey, OKC,
I almost tremble when I think of the good times and the bad that we shared with each other.
Yes, there were some bad days, but the good outnumbered them by far.

And I go on

I do not know what God has planned to come to me today.
I only know that He has promised me to be my stay.
And that His hand has mapped out all the way that I must go.
I do not know the road o’er which my feet must run the race.
But I do know, though rough it be,
though steep in many a place,
that He has said "Sufficient is my grace." *
And I go on.
* II Cor. 12-9

 


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