Cecil Franklin Cox
David A. Cox
It was on August 7, 1933, that Cecil Franklin Cox was born to Willard C. and Lillian Thigpen Cox in Florence, Alabama. He had two brothers Willard M. Cox and Charles E. Cox. Daddy’s mother, Lillian, passed away when he as about two years old, his father then married Mary Gray, who raised him and his brothers. This marriage of Willard C. Cox and Mary Gray brought an older sister, Frances into the family. The years of daddy’s childhood were very important to him and shaped him greatly. The early years of his life the family attended the East Florence church, and Cecil’s father served as a deacon for the church there. As the children in the family were growing up, the family moved out on Mars Hill Road.
In 1947, Mars Hill Bible School began, and Daddy entered as a ninth grader. He graduated from Mars Hill in 1951. Daddy attended Harding College and Freed-Hardman College after high school. In college, Cecil major was in Bible and a minor in music. On June 12, 1954, Cecil married Jacqueline Morris, who he met during his days at Mars Hill. To this union for children was born: Anita Ranell Wllis, Randell Morris Cox, Michael Alan Cox and David Anthony Cox.
It was in 1951 as a senior in high school that daddy began preaching. He preached by appointment during that year in several churches in Lauderdale County. During his college days at Harding, he preached nearly every Sunday in churches in Northeast Arkansas. While he was at Freed-Hardeman, he would drive back home and preach for the Center Star church and the church at Leighton. In 1954 after his marriage, daddy and mother moved in Mount Hope, Alabama where he preached for the church there for a period. Then in 1955, they made a move to Hanceville, Alabama to work with the church there. After nearly a year at Hanceville, daddy began work with the Fairview church near Collinwood, Tennessee. He remained there nearly a year and a half, before beginning work with the Waterloo church in Waterloo, Alabama. The time of his stays at these works were very brief. I asked him about that one time and daddy told me that it was due to the issues that confronted the church over the church support of institutions. Daddy took a stand in opposition to the church being involved the support of human institutions. The decision of churches to put the human institutions into their budgets divided many brethren and families, and such was the case with daddy. The stand was not easy as many that Daddy had known for years took the other view of the issue. In September 1958, Daddy began work with the church in Belgreen, Alabama. He continued there for two and half years. After this fondly remembered stay at Belgreen, the family moved to Bessemer, Alabama as daddy began work with the 5th Avenue church. Daddy work there continued for two and half years. The next moved took the Cox family to Richmond, Virginia as daddy began work with the West End church. All the children were together and grew, and the work at West End experienced good growth during these five years. In 1968, Daddy decided that a move back closer to home and his parents would be good. The family settled in Russellville. Daddy would preach the next 30 years in and around Russellville. He spent five years with the Eastside church in Russellville. Then two years with the church in Waco. In December 1975, Daddy would begin working with the Centerview church. He would remain in this work for 23 years. During his time at Belgreen the church at Centerview began to meet and he had preached for the church during those early days as well. In January 1999, Daddy would begin working with the Needmore church in Haleyville, Alabama and remained there until he retired from full-time, local work in February 2008. After “retiring” from full-time preaching, daddy and mother moved to Rogersville and were members of the Anderson church. Daddy preached and taught classes here. He served the congregation as one of the elders for four years until April 2014.
Through the years, Daddy’s work in preaching the gospel took him throughout the southeastern United States. He loved the work of teaching and preaching. He loved the truth and desired to teach it to all that he could. During his years of preaching, he did radio and television evangelism at different times and places. Through the years, Daddy published bulletins at every congregation with which he worked. Daddy believed in the value of teaching from the printed page, and he did much work in that regard. Daddy love for the study of God’s word caused a great admiration for books and the help they could be in learning the truth. In addition to the teaching of God’s Word, Daddy also taught many singing schools for congregations throughout the years.
I will be forever grateful for the daddy and the lessons and values that he taught me. Daddy’s love for the Lord, his love for the people of God and his love for the truth will always be remembered.