ARNOLD MOORE & NEEKAMP FUNERAL HOME - Veronica Cecelia Martin Cox (Ronnie) died on May 24, at her home in Bartlesville, surrounded by her family. Ronnie was 90 years old. She was known as a devoted daughter, a kind and generous friend to many, a committed volunteer to many causes in the Bartlesville community, a dedicated member of her church, a caring mother and grandmother, and a loving and supportive partner and companion to her husband of 67 years, Glenn Cox.
Ronnie was born on December 8, 1929, in Tulsa, OK. She and her parents moved frequently for many years, and as she says, “it never bothered me, it’s just what we did.” Her favorite place that they lived was Denver, Colorado. After a couple of years in town, her parents bought a farm outside of Denver where Ronnie could roam, and she kept a pony, a dog, and rabbits. She was washing her hands on December 7, 1941, the day before her birthday, and when she came out of the washroom, she heard on the radio that Pearl Harbor had been attacked. Ronnie always retained a vivid memory of that moment. Her family started a victory garden, and her mother would take milk, cream, and vegetables into town for friends affected by rationing.
From Colorado, they moved to Boerne, Texas, where her father purchased a ranch. They lived for a while at the Ye Kendall Inn that was built in 1859; it’s now a Texas and National landmark and still stands today. Ronnie finished ninth grade in Boerne, mysteriously skipping eighth grade - she was never exactly sure how that happened! After Texas, it was back to Tulsa for a couple of years, where she attended Central High School. Another couple of moves brought her to Kerrville, Texas, during the middle of her junior year. She loved it there, making new friends, learning German dances at outdoor dance pavilions alongside the Guadalupe River, and being elected as the football queen. She graduated from Tivy High School in 1947.
Her next stop was Stephens College, a two-year college for women in Columbia, Missouri. When her father heard about her interest in Stephens, he had her sign up before she could say “Whoa.” As she put it, “He wanted to make sure I got off to college and stopped having all this fun running around.” Little did she know that while she was at Stephens, her future husband was just 30 miles away, attending Central College in Fayette, Missouri. Ronnie loved Stephens; she made close friends and was happy to be in the same place for two years after so much moving around. Stephens had 10 ideals that they selected a girl to represent every year. Ronnie was chosen as “Courtesy,” which has always seemed fitting to her many friends.
Ronnie still had fond memories of Texas, and that led her to enroll at Southern Methodist University (SMU) for her junior year. Along with three other transfers from Stephens, she lived in a one-room apartment (with only 13 inches of closet space!). Ronnie joined the Delta Gamma sorority, and one of her sorority sisters arranged a blind date for Ronnie with Glenn Cox, a fellow transfer student. They went to an Alan Ladd movie, and Ronnie recalls that “It was a wild tale with some horses that were racing at us from all sides and I covered my eyes! Later, Glenn would tell me that he thought that was a little odd.” Maybe so, but they were both intrigued, and continued to date “off-and-on'' for several months.
During the summer between her junior and senior years, Ronnie took a geometry course (never her favorite) in Tulsa and Glenn headed to California to fight the blister rust tree infestation. Ronnie returned for her senior year at SMU and graduated with a BA degree in Sociology with a minor in Psychology. After graduation, Ronnie headed back to Tulsa and got a job at the YWCA as their director of teen programs. Meanwhile, Glenn had joined the Air Force and started pilot training. She continued their on-again, off-again romance from long distance and after much deliberation (to put it mildly), she and Glenn decided to get married as soon as he got his first commission. The commission was issued in December 1952, and Glenn became a 2nd Lieutenant and got his wings. A couple of weeks later, on January 3, 1953, Ronnie and Glenn were married at Trinity Episcopal Church in Tulsa. After the reception, they drove to Oklahoma City, and the next day Glenn reported for duty at James Conley AFB in Waco, Texas. The young couple had only 16 more moves awaiting them!
Waco; San Antonio; Palm Beach, FL and Shreveport, LA, were among the first short-lived residences. Ronnie loved Palm Beach; she and Glenn rented an apartment near the beach, and she would go to the shore every day with her friends while their husbands were flying. In Shreveport, Ronnie realized she was pregnant, and she gave birth to Martin Cox. Glenn rushed back from a flight for the delivery, but Martin came a little early. Glenn made it as far as the hospital lobby, but was turned back by the nurse, an Air Force Major. Ronnie was always a little miffed by that!
Glenn was discharged in 1955 and took a job with Phillips Petroleum Company, and Ronnie and Glenn moved to Bartlesville for the first time in January 1956. They joined the First United Methodist Church, and as Ronnie had done so many times before, she settled in and made a number of very good lifelong friends. Her second child, Grant, came along in 1956. It was so crowded at Jane Phillips Hospital that she was prepped in the hall. A few more moves were soon in store, as Glenn was transferred to Kansas City, MO; Raleigh, NC; Bartlesville again, Tampa, FL; Columbus, Ohio; and then a final transfer back to Bartlesville for the third time. Ronnie was not a big fan of Columbus, but loved Tampa with its warm weather and some occasional peace and quiet while the boys played outside. And even better, also in Tampa, Ronnie gave birth to Cecelia.
After so much moving around, Ronnie relished the chance to put down roots in Bartlesville, a city she came to love. She enjoyed raising her children and encouraging and supporting their activities. Over the years, she volunteered with Bellringers, Girl Scouts, the Service League, and many other organizations, and helped to organize the Band Boosters. She served on the board of the Price Tower Art Center and on numerous committees at the First United Methodist Church. Ronnie and Glenn were inducted into the Bartlesville Hall of Fame in 2013.
Ronnie accompanied Glenn in an official capacity on several business trips, including delegations to Korea and China. Once her children were out of the nest, Ronnie enjoyed a vacation trip with Glenn to England, and she and Glenn made several memorable barge trips along the canals of France and Scotland with other friends from Bartlesville. Ronnie also had an opportunity to pursue her love of art, and she and Glenn began to collect art to decorate their Bartlesville home. Selections from their art collection have been exhibited at the Ashby-Hodge Gallery at Central Methodist University in Fayette, MO, and at the Price Tower Art Center exhibit “Talisman: Celebrating Jody Kirberger.”
Ronnie was much loved by her grandchildren. For many years, Glenn and Ronnie had a summer home in Snowmass, CO, where their children and grandchildren had a wonderful time hiking, camping, enjoying meals together, working on puzzles, and stargazing on the porch.
In 2018, Ronnie surprised her family with a written account of her life. These are Ronnie’s words, reflecting back on her journey: “Glenn and I have experienced all aspects of life. The ups and the downs. We have grieved the loss of our parents, friends, and our dear Laurie (Martin's first wife). We have shared the growing pains of raising children and learning to see life through their eyes and hearts. We have witnessed our children’s courage as they have faced their own challenges in life. Martin through his grief, Grant and Laurie through their fights with cancer, and Cece with the challenges of being a gay woman. Laurie left us with a greater appreciation for art and a respect for her beautiful outlook on life. Through Cece’s journey, and the blessing of her openly sharing her heart with us, we have been reminded that the greatest gift of all from God is love. Avery, Helen, Ella, Sam, and Mateo fill our lives with great joy every day. Each one is grounded in their parents’ values and qualities and also in their own traits that will surely serve them well in life.”
Ronnie is survived by her husband Glenn, son Martin and his wife Sherry Tucker (Dallas, TX), son Grant and his wife Elizabeth Sager (Redding, CT) daughter Cecelia (Dallas, TX), and five grandchildren, Avery, Helen, Ella, Sam, and Mateo. The family wishes to thank the many friends and devoted caregivers who provided loving care and support for Ronnie. A memorial service to celebrate Ronnie’s life will take place at First Church at a future date to be determined. Current and future services have been entrusted to Arnold Moore & Neekamp Funeral Home & Cremation Service. Family suggests that those who wish make donations in Ronnie's name to Bartlesville First Church or the Price Tower Art Center. To leave an online condolence, visit www.honoringmemories.com.