The Tar Heel Lettermen are saddened by the recent passing of Robert Vinsant “Bob” Cox, 90, a popular and colorful figure from the late-1940s Justice Era of Carolina football. Cox died peacefully on Monday, Sept. 19 at the Lower Cape Fear Hospice Center in Wilmington following a stroke.
Bob was born in Memphis on Sept. 11, 1926, to Gordon and Daisy Cox. While attending the Carolina, Bob met Catherine Carlen, whom he married in 1948. Bob is survived by his sons Randy (Libby) of Surf City; Rob (Debi) of New York; and Andrew (Nancy) of Clayton; daughters-in-law Paula Cox of Cary and Dawn Cox of Charleston; 11 grandchildren and six great grandchildren.
After serving in the Marines during World War II, he attended Carolina and was a member of the storied Tar Heel football team that included Charlie “Choo Choo” Justice as a teammate. He also was a member of UNC’s golf team.
After graduating from UNC in 1949, he began his long working history first as an assistant coach for the UNC football team, which was followed by opening The Town and Campus clothing store in Chapel Hill. Bob was the National President of the Junior Chamber of Commerce in 1959 which took the young Cox family to Tulsa, Okla. There were other career stops and moves along the way before Bob finally moved to Wilmington after Cathy passed away in 2007.
Along with his family, Bob’s greatest loves were: anything to do with his beloved Tar Heels, golf, fishing, gardening (one of his nicknames was “Rosebud” as he grew beautiful roses) and talking to anyone who would listen. Although most of his life he was a member of the Methodist church, he joined the Episcopal Church, becoming a member of St. James Episcopal Church in Wilmington.
The Cox family wants to thank all those who cared for “Pop” during his last few years. They especially want to thank the Lower Cape Fear Hospice Center who took such good care of him, making his last days comfortable and peaceful.
A memorial service will be planned in the future. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests sending donations to: The memory of Robert V. Cox, in care of Lower Cape Fear Hospice, 1919 Physicians Dr., Wilmington, NC, 28400, 910-796-7900.