Leroy Cox of Amarillo, formerly of Friona, passed away on February 26, 2014.
A graveside service will be held at 3:00 p.m., Saturday, March 1, 2014, at Llano Cemetery in Amarillo. Arrangements are by Boxwell Brothers Funeral Directors, 2800 Paramount Blvd.
Leroy was born December 13, 1945 in Clovis, New Mexico to Ralph and Marie Cox. He lived first in Texico and then Lazbuddie, Texas. Leroy grew up with lots of room to run, play, and work on the ranch and was known to be ornery. As a child, he once put his preschool-aged future wife on a Shetland pony and let it run. His children grew up hearing about when he pressed a dime against the roof of his mouth and it got stuck, when he rolled down a hill inside corrugation piping, when he rolled his sister’s hair up into a giant knot on a hairbrush, and many other mischievous tales.
At age 11, he accepted Jesus as his savior and was baptized.
After graduating from Lazbuddie High School, he served in the United States Army and then several years in the Air Force Reserves Medical Service. From his service experiences, he retained an impressive commanding voice and a cunning interest in handling medical issues, from removing stitches to treating tick bites. He then lived on the family farm/ranch for a few years before he moved to Canyon and received a bachelor’s degree from West Texas State University.
After being stranded in a vehicle in a snowstorm with only his mother’s chocolate chip cookies to eat, he retained a serious affection for such cookies for the rest of his life.
On December 2, 1977, he and Terri Lynn Wilson were married at the chapel of the First Baptist Church in Amarillo. Having known each other since childhood, their first date consisted of prairie dog hunting. They settled in Amarillo, where Terri was teaching school and Leroy was employed first in investments and later with a savings and loan.
The couple welcomed a daughter, Carrie, in 1980 and a son, Clint, in 1983.
In 1984, the family moved to Friona and started a successful business, Hometown Hardware. Leroy taught his children invaluable customer service skills from very young ages as he taught them to wait on customers, stock shelves, design displays, make change, and run the cash register. He threaded pipe, mixed paint, cut glass, invented solutions to problems, keyed locks, and picked up an impressive amount of hardware-related Spanish. Many will fondly remember the Dum-Dum lollipops that he handed out to children who came into the store. Clint enjoyed spending time working on a dune buggy and a tractor with him and learning other tricks of the trade. He and Clint also shared an appreciation for firearms.
Leroy retained his humorous streak as an adult, finding particular delight in blonde jokes, gag gifts, and Aggie jokes. He referred to his children and grandchildren by pet nicknames. Being colorblind, he loved pointing out rabbits and other wildlife in fields when no one else could see them. When Carrie was in high school, he delighted in jumping out to scare her from around corners, dissolving into an infectious laugh.
When the store had been freshly painted, it was vandalized with spray paint graffiti overnight. Thanks to his consistent early-morning arrival at work, he painted over the graffiti before sunrise and it never saw the light of day; he laughed about what the “artist” must have thought for weeks.
Leroy placed a very high value on the academic progress of his children, and held them to lofty standards. He wanted his children to be capable–to marry out of free choice, and not out of need. When the kids were teenagers, he made it clear to them that if they were ever “in a tight,” they were free to make up any lie or excuse necessary regarding him in order to get back to a safe and responsible situation. He wanted to be “the heavy” whenever he was needed. Every day, he told his daughter she was pretty, but he did not allow her to drive until she could change her own tire.
Leroy’s granddaughters brought him great joy. Two refer to him as “Grandpa Oreo,” for his tendency to arrive with Oreos or M&Ms at most appearances. His family enjoyed watching his eyes sparkle as he watched the grandchildren play.
Three years ago, Leroy retired and sold Hometown Hardware. He became an excellent knitter’s helper, serving as a great ball-winder for his wife Terri and taking interest in her passion for fiber arts. In December 2012, construction on their new home was completed and they made the much-anticipated move to Amarillo to be close to their children and grandchildren.
He was preceded in death by his wife of 35 years, Terri Cox, in June; and his parents, Ralph and Marie Cox.
Survivors include his daughter Carrie and husband Travis Zinck of Amarillo; son Clint and wife Amber Cox of Amarillo; three granddaughters, Azelynn Zinck, Mayzie Zinck, and Mikaelah Cox of Amarillo; one grandson, Parker Sturgess of Amarillo; his brother R.H. and wife Sandra Cox of Amarillo; his sister Patsy Cox Shankles and husband Gary of Lubbock; and many extended family members.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorials to Caring Bridge (http://www.caringbridge.org/waystogive) or a charity of your choice