Ralph Jerome Cox passed away peacefully on June 1, 2023. Ralph was born near Climax, Georgia on December 23, 1935, to William Chapel and Nellie Thomas Cox. He graduated from Climax High School in 1953 and joined the military. He spent four years in the Army then 16 years, twenty-five days in the Air Force. He was a flight engineer on a C-130 aircraft. He spent time in over 200 countries, including Korea and Vietnam. While in Korea, he started writing the love of his life, Laura Ingrum. A courtship bloomed from this pen pal relationship. They were married at the Little Bonne Femme Baptist Church in Columbia, MO on November 20, 1959. They were married for 64 years and raised a son and a daughter. Together they traveled while he was in the military, and they lived in several different states.
After his retirement from the Air Force, Ralph and Laura moved back to Missouri and bought a farm in Boone County, MO where they farmed. Ralph also worked for the US Postal Service as a letter carrier for twenty years then was a driver for O.A.T.S. for sixteen years. If that wasn’t enough, he also worked as Event Staff at the University of Missouri. Ralph was able to obtain a bachelor’s degree in Business from Columbia College. While his children were young, he volunteered with 4-H for several years and served on the board for Water District #9.
Ralph is survived by his wife, Laura, a son, Norman (Maria) Cox, a daughter, Denise (Mike) Riley, grandchildren: Andrew (Alyysha) Cox, Laura Beth (Alex) Cox, Christina Cox, Will (Kelsey) Riley, and Nathan Riley and several nieces and nephews, especially niece, Marilyn Toalson who spent many wonderful moments with Ralph recently and over the years. He is also survived by a brother, James Cox from Marietta, Georgia and a dear sister-in-law, Bessie Cox, of Florida.
Ralph was preceded in death by his parents, infant son Nelson Chapel, three sisters, and four brothers.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Central Missouri Honor Flight, 1400 Forum Blvd., Ste. 7-A, Box 334 Columbia, MO 65203 or to www.centralmissourihonorflight.com/donate/.
Funeral services for Ralph will be held Friday, June 9, 2023 at Memorial Funeral Home, 1217 Business Loop 70 W, Columbia, Missouri 65202. Visitation from 11:00 AM to 1:00 PM, a funeral service at 1:00 PM and a graveside service with military honors to follow in Memorial Park Cemetery.
Fond memories and expressions of sympathy may be shared at www.memorialfuneralhomeandcemetery.com for the Cox family.