His love for his family and friends, classmates, coworkers and the community of Panhandle were only surpassed by his love and devotion for his “bride,” Jean. His grief and loneliness following her death, just five weeks earlier, was too much for him to bare.
Born in a house across the street from the Carson County Courthouse on Feb. 1, 1921, he was a son and life-long resident of Panhandle. Wayne’s love for the community and American patriotism guided his life. He came into this world as a healthy, 12-pound bundle of joy, and he proceed to live large for the next 100 years. He stayed connected with his many Panhandle friends, family, relatives, community, former golf students and athletes, and friends from all walks of life.
Wayne’s life was that of true servanthood, and his passion and love for sports and his community consumed his very being. He embodied the life of a civic leader and never wanted any glory for himself.
Wayne was a WWII Navy veteran who served in the Pacific theater aboard the USS Casablanca. After graduating from the University of Texas with a bachelor's degree in Accounting, he was hired by the IRS as an agent where he worked for six years. He lived and worked in Amarillo, where he met and courted Clara Jean Hallmark for eight years, until she finally said, "I do." They were married on April 22, 1957, in Colorado Springs, Colo. The newlyweds moved from Amarillo to Panhandle, in 1957. At that time, Wayne went into business with his sister and opened a Ford dealership, “Metcalf Motors,” where he worked as the business manager for 10 years. In 1968, he became the Business Manager for the Panhandle Independent School District, where he retired in 1987. During his tenure there, he started the first girls golf team. He coached both girls and boys golf, over the years, and is still fondly referred to as Coach Cox by his former "students." There was rarely a sporting event he failed to attend and was publicly recognized, on several occasions, as the Panhandle Panthers #1 Fan!
He was a civic servant who served quietly and humbly over his many years in Panhandle. He grew up on his parent's farm outside of Panhandle, with no running water or electricity, until the family moved to town when he was eight years old. He attended school in Panhandle, where he played football and tennis, among other things, and graduated in 1938.
After moving back to Panhandle in later years, he served as a Scoutmaster for two schools in two cities, served on the City Council for three years, collected donations and solicited volunteers to help construct the first American Legion baseball field, coached Little League and American Legion baseball, coached Kids Incorporated boys basketball and track, coached girls and boys golf teams (taking the boys team to the State Tournament one year), spent countless hours in the press box at the football stadium filming football games and went scouting with the football coach. He started the annual Father-Son Golf Tournament, which has funded golf scholarships, every May, for graduating seniors. In 1997, Wayne was named Citizen of the Year of Panhandle. He was a founding member of the Panhandle Country Club, served one term as Club President, and helped establish the Garretson Retirement Center in Panhandle, where he actively volunteered. He was an active member of First United Methodist Church of Panhandle, where he served as a Sunday School teacher, usher, deacon and many other volunteer duties.
While Wayne loved to coach, he was also an avid and accomplished golfer, commonly shooting his age beginning in his 70’s and continuing until his 90’s. He was proud to recount his four hole-in-ones, but his favorite memories were those walks down the fairway with family and friends that he so dearly recalled.
He served because he loved his community, his friends, his family, and life.
Wayne loved people and enjoyed bridge, poker, bingo and other games, over the years. He continued to play up until his death, though he struggled to even see the cards due to his eye condition. He easily adapted to his barriers and disabilities and never complained. He quickly figured out how to order his iPhone’s Siri to call whomever he wanted to talk to, so he always stayed in touch. He even persuaded his Occupational Therapist to fetch golf balls so he could play golf behind his facility for rehab. He was a life-long Mason, a member of the local VFW, 55+ Club, Bridge Club, and enjoyed annual reunions with the crew of the USS Casablanca.
In 2016, Wayne and Jean moved to Rockwall, Texas, and later to Frisco, Texas, to be close to family. They made new friends at Parsons House Assisted Living and continued to enjoy games, tours, entertainment and special memories with family and friends.
Just as he meticulously planned every detail of his life, in his final days, he was keenly aware and engaged in his last few weeks of living. He had moved in with family and was living his BEST LIFE surrounded by his loved ones.
Wayne was preceded in death by his wife, Jean Hallmark Cox; sister, Evelyn Metcalf; brothers, Clifford Cox and Howard Cox; father, Earl Cox; and mother, Marian Jolly Cox.
Wayne is survived by his daughter, Alison and husband, David Cummings of Oak Point, Texas; son, Brent Cox and wife Sue, of Katy, Texas; grandchildren, James Cummings and wife, Kimberly, of Little Elm, Texas, Christen Cummings of Dallas, Candace and husband, Dr. Edward Carew, of Dallas, Blake Cox of Katy and Nicole Cox of Katy; seven great-grandchildren, Cooper and Logan Cummings, Erika Carew, Jenny Carew, Tori Carew and husband, Charles Oakes, Nick Carew, Matt Carew; and great-great-grandson, Kylo Carew.
A military honors burial will take place on Saturday, May 15, 2021 at 9 a.m. at Llano Cemetery in Amarillo. Following the burial, a memorial service will be held at First United Methodist Church in Panhandle at 11 a.m. Minton-Chatwell Funeral Directors and Slay Memorial Funeral Center will be assisting with the arrangements.
The family requests that memorials be made to Wayne Cox Memorial Golf Scholarship, Happy State Bank, c/o Kim Hammer, PO Box 990, Panhandle TX 79068; and First United Methodist Church of Panhandle, at fumcpanhandle.com.
On-line condolences may be shared at www.slaymemorialfuneralhome.com.