Thomas Walter Cox, 97, of Evansville, Indiana, passed away peacefully on January 14, 2019, with family at his side.
Born on September 18, 1921, in Chicago to Thomas Walter Cox, Sr. and Lola Hazel (Christmann) Cox, Thomas was raised in Chicago and graduated from Lane Technical High School there in 1939. He graduated in 1943 from the Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT) with a B.S. in electrical engineering. Thomas took postgraduate courses in machine design at Notre Dame and studied business management and economics at the IIT graduate school, at Northwestern University, and at Dartmouth University.
A sergeant in the U.S. Army, Thomas was rated as a critical specialist in ordnance, field artillery, and anti-aircraft artillery with assignments in Fort Sheridan, Illinois; the Army’s Proving Grounds in Aberdeen, Maryland; Kelly Air Base in San Antonio, Texas; and Ladd Field in Fairbanks, Alaska. In 2017, he took part in the Southern Indiana Honor Flight, a memorable day trip to Washington’s veteran memorials.
Thomas spent his career in the paper industry, initially as production manager, general manager, or regional manager for major producers of corrugated shipping containers (aka “cardboard boxes”) and later as a recruiter. He started with Container Corporation of America (then the world’s largest paper company), then worked for Weyerhaeuser’s Midwest container division, Olin Mathieson Chemical Corporation’s container division in Joliet, Illinois, and International Paper Company in Northlake, Illinois (and in their plant in Tallman, New York). He was the first person ever elected to consecutive terms as President of the Technical Association of the Pulp and Paper Industry.
Thomas and his family moved to Evansville in the fall of 1976, where he served as Vice President and General Manager of the Ohio Valley Container Corporation, with plants in three states. After that company was acquired in 1978, Thomas entered the field of placement; with his extensive contacts in the paper industry, was able to match employers with employees in many states.
Thomas was a faithful member of Evansville’s Christian Science Society, which he served for many years as First Reader and chair of its Executive Board. His wife Reta and he were undefeated novice duplicate bridge players, ranked globally. An avid sports fan, he often had two TVs on side by side so he could watch two games at once.
Thomas was predeceased by his parents, by his sister, Marilyn Otto, and by his wife Reta (Arness), with whom he celebrated 60 years of marriage in 2012. He is survived by his three children: Brian (Tina), of Silt, Colorado; Garrison (Susan), of Louisville, Kentucky; and Ellen Fuchs (Doyle), of Evansville. He is also survived by grandsons Jesse, Dylan, Tyler, and Evan Cox, by grandson Aaron Fuchs, by numerous great-grandchildren, and by a niece, Jan (Otto) Wandler.
The family is planning a private memorial service at a later date. Expressions of sympathy may be sent to the Evansville Rescue Mission, 500 E. Walnut St., Evansville, IN 47713, evansvillerescuemission.org.
Arrangements are being handled by Boone Funeral Home East Chapel – A Family Tradition Funeral Home, 5330 Washington Avenue, Evansville, IN. Condolences may be left online at boonefuneralhome.net