Captain John H. Cox, USN (Ret), 81, of Fremont passed away Saturday, May 1, 2021 at Firelands Regional Medical Center, Sandusky, OH, following a long illness with Parkinson’s disease. He was born on February 15, 1940 in Fremont to the late Helen B. (Pasch) and Daniel G. Cox. Upon graduation from Fremont Ross High School in 1958, he entered the U.S. Naval Academy and was commissioned an Ensign in the U.S. Navy in June 1962. His first assignment was as First Lieutenant and Gunnery Officer aboard USS DEALEY (DE 1006) out of Newport Rhode Island. During that tour, the ship participated in the Cuban Blockade.
In 1965, he was interviewed by Admiral Rickover and entered the Navy Nuclear Power Program. Following a year and a half of technical and submarine tactical training, he was assigned to the USS RAY (SSN 653) as Sonar Officer and later Weapons Officer. During this assignment, the ship completed four submarine special operations in the Atlantic Fleet area.
In 1969, he completed certification as a Naval Nuclear Engineer Officer and was assigned as Engineer officer of the USS PINTADO (SSN 672) under construction at the Mare Island Naval Shipyard. During this tour, the ship made a six-month Western Pacific deployment, conducting two submarine special operations and participating in the Viet Nam War operations.
In 1973, Captain Cox was assigned to his only shore duty for the first 25 years of service as the Submarine Force Pacific representative to the Mare Island Naval Shipyard and two years later was assigned as Executive Officer of the USS MEMPHIS (SSN691) under construction at Newport News Shipbuilding Company.
In 1978, Captain Cox commenced a five-year command of USS SARGO (SSN 583) based in Pear Harbor Hawaii. During this tour, the ship completed a seven-month Western Pacific deployment and a reactor refueling overhaul at the Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard. He was subsequently assigned as Submarine Squadron Ten Deputy Commander at New London, CT.
In 1987, Captain Cox became the Base Commander of Submarine Base New London, and the Base was awarded the Meritorious Unit Commendation during that tour. Captain Cox was subsequently assigned as Director of Atlantic Fleet Bases on the Staff of Commander in Chief U.S. Atlantic Fleet and completed his thirty-year naval career at that position.
During his Navy career, Captain Cox was awarded the Navy Achievement Medal, the Navy Commendation Medal (4), the Meritorious Service Medal (2), and the Legion of Merit (2). Unit Awards consist of Viet Nam Service ribbon, Navy Expeditionary Medal for Cuban Blockade, Meritorious Unit Commendation (4), and Navy Unit Commendation for submarine Special Operations.
Subsequent to his Navy career, Captain Cox was employed by EG&G and Lockheed Martin as Facilities and/or Services Director at the Idaho National Engineering Laboratory, the Piketon, Ohio Uranium Enrichment Plant (Organizations of about 600 personnel) and The NASA Facility at Plum Brook Station, Sandusky, Ohio.
Survivors include his wife of 58 years, Rev. Dr. Kay Mooney Cox; children, Lisa Ritchie, Suzanne (Doug) Brown, Daniel (Gina) Cox and Sarah Cox; grandchildren Brendan Ritchie, Caitlin Ritchie, Andrew Ritchie, Rachael (Jason Guy) Brown, Matthew Brown, Abigail Cox and Elsie Cox; great grandsons, Elliott Ritchie, Mason Miller, and Jack Miller; and sister, Mary (David) Miller. He was preceded in death by his parents and brother James Cox.
Captain Cox retired in 2003. He achieved a private pilot license and flew a single engine airplane, became a master gardener, overhauled with Larry Klaus the pipe organ at St. Peter Lutheran church in Pontiac, Ohio, earned an amateur radio license and enjoyed communicating with amateur radio, worked in various capacities in the Marblehead United Church of Christ, and played the tuba in Green Springs and North Coast concert bands.
Visitation will be 4-7 pm, Saturday, May 8, 2021 at Hanneman-Chudzinski-Keller Funeral Home, 416 South Arch Street, Fremont, Ohio 43420. There will also be visitation for an hour before the funeral service, which will be at 3 pm, Sunday, May 9, at First United Church of Christ, 802 Prairie St., Marblehead OH 43440. Rev. Dr. Doug Williamson will officiate. All are welcome to attend; masks are required at the church. A smaller group will attend the graveside military service at Trinity Cemetery in Kansas, OH on Monday, May 10.
Memorial contributions in honor of John may be made to First United Church of Christ, Marblehead; Parkinson Foundation of NW Ohio, 150 W South Boundary St., Perrysburg, OH 43551; or Ohio Veterans Home Volunteer Advisory Committee, 3416 Columbus Ave., Sandusky, OH 44870.
Condolences may be shared with the family at www.hannemanfuneralhomes.com.
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