Don “Gump” Cox, Petros

Don “Gump” Cox, our adored, squirrel hunt” frontiersman, ginseng’n – mountain man, pistol tote’n, God-fearing, Patriarch, cherished father and grandpa who ruled his own world with his favorite side arm (the judge) and bowie knife left all of us rudely and unexpectedly due to “kicking it” on June 30th, 2023. He didn’t even have the decency to inform us he was leaving. The irony is that when first responders returned his flip-phone, found in his shirt pocket to Jewell, the middle daughter (whose name is usually forgotten in our family”) it was discovered that he had 400 extra minutes on his phone to occupy numerous conversations. At first, that seemed unusual as he always told us he was low on his straight talk minutes and had to get off the phone. We understand now that indeed evidence shows this was not true, we just don’t think he liked talking to anyone except Roby, his best buddy, and youngest daughter. 

We are a very punctual family due to his examples and expectations he set for us as children. OBVIOUSLY this time on dad’s part in fact was a major fail AND a heads up would have been nice BUDDY, but we’re going to go out on a limb here and assume he DID NOT WANT to use those straight talk minutes. 

Apparently, he has had enough of this world. We know this because; there could be no other reason, other than trying to avoid another presidential stolen election and to get out of paying his 2024 property taxes that just INCREASED. Dad says and I quote “there are crooks in Washington”. 

On many occasions in our dad’s youth, he spent time at brushy mountain state prison being babysat by the trustee prisoners while our grandpa worked there as a captain. At the age of 7, our dad sold opossum’s to the prisoner’s for 0.25 cents each. He then, would invest his money at Portwood store purchasing RC colas and moon pies for a nickel. Dad could rub a nickel until the buffalo screamed. We know this, because we, his children grew up screaming for any nickel we could find.

As a teenager, our dad was good at just about anything he attempted. As a University of Tennessee football recruit he was living his dream but If you are aware of our families ability to trip over air you wouldn’t be surprised to learn that during a play on the field apparently there was air he didn’t see resulting in the fracture of his collarbone, and that was a wrap, BUDDY. 

Well, now we are into adulthood and Gump was trying to do his best at absolutely nothing. His mother made him join the navy so that he could be “ALL THAT HE COULD BE” Do you think this is funny yet dad?.

He went to Vietnam and was as much as he could be, stationed on a ship where he enjoyed solitude and peace, for the last time in his life; not knowing he would married later, having 5 kids. (In hindsight he probably wishes he had made a lifetime commitment to the navy instead).

He had an adventurous streak as a young man when he returned home from Vietnam; he went to work at Brushy Mountain State Prison in Petros. However, this time he was not selling opossum’s. He was learning how to be a man as a prison guard and in his free time, was a ridge runner on the side. 

By this time he had married the love of his life he was well on his way to having those five dang kids including the absence of peace and quiet. While raising his family, however, he found solitude in his art and the love of the lord. His art has been displayed in museums across the US and in his hometown of Petros and surrounding counties. 

You can’t buy you’re way into heaven but he sure tried because the most important bill was his church tithes. That’s the only time the buffalo didn’t scream. 

When it came to his family Gump was extremely proud, or so we thought, four of us are left to wonder forever and may never know because he never told us, however, he was extremely proud of his fifth child Ruby she is almost as big of a pain in the rear as he was because that’s why we call her “Gump Jr.” she can make buffalo’s scream too. The four of us children that have been left out are not jealous of Ruby but we hope he left her out of the will. 

Regardless of the lighthearted humor in this obituary, we wanted to reflect our Dad’s sense of humor. Truly, Ruby is his best friend and was his caregiver she often took him to Arby’s where he could get curly fries He called them “twisted tators” and was addicted to them. As for the rest of us on the outside looking in we never got curly fries because we were never invited, apparently, he didn’t have enough minutes on his contraption he called a phone to include his other four children that are most likely NOT in his will. 

But, it was privilege to get to know our dad as an adult. 86 years was not long enough and he will be remembered by all who knew him except our mom of course his wife of 52 years, Mrs. Edith Cox may he rest in peace until she gets there. 

Sister – Pattie and Bill Davey

Special Cousin – but more like a sister Donna Sue and Howard Hester

Children – Charlie and Alicia Cox, Mauline and Ray Johnson and in case you are all wondering or had forgotten – Jewell Cox, “the middle child” Ernest Cox, “Favorite” daughter Ruby Martin and “favorite son in law” Chuck Martin. 

Grandchildren – Danielle Campbell, Jamie and James Gillihan, Josie Tallent, Charlie Madison Burge, Preston Colt, and Isaac Cox.

Great grands – Scarlett and Shane Gillihan.

Special thanks to Dennis and Jamie Brock of Petros for being a great neighbor and friend to him always. His Petros Baptist Church family – he loved you all more than you know but not as much as his favorite daughter Ruby Ha! Ha! 

The family will receive friends on Friday, July 7, 2023, from 5-7 pm Schubert Funeral Home, Wartburg. Funeral Services will be Saturday at 10 am at the Petros Baptist Church with Dr. Jim West officiating. Internment will follow in the  Petros Cemetery with full Military Honors provided by Brandon Kreis post 149, Cemetery Road, Petros, TN.

Schubert Funeral Home is honored to serve the family of  Don Cox.

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