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Jeffrey Lee Cox

Iowa City

Jeffrey Lee Cox, loving father, husband, scholar and activist, passed away Feb. 9, 2020, in Iowa City.
Visitation will be from 4 to 6 p.m. Friday. Feb. 14, at Lensing Funeral & Cremation Service in Iowa City. A memorial service will be held at 1:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 15, at the Hickory Grove Meeting House, Scattergood Friends School, 1951 Delta Ave., West Branch, IA 52358. A reception will follow in the main building. A family committal service will be held.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be directed to the Iowa City Friends Meeting (Quakers), the Free Medical Clinic, ACLU of Iowa or Riverside Theater.
Jeff was born Oct. 14, 1947, in Salt Lake City, Utah, to Dr. Jack Ray Cox and Lillian Emily (Shutt) Cox. When he was very young, his parents moved to Teague, Texas, where he lived until graduating from high school as valedictorian of the Class of 1966. In high school, he was chairman of the Goldwater for President campaign, participated in football and basketball and edited the school newspaper. Jeff always treasured his Texas roots and took great pride in being a Texan. He was a lifetime subscriber to the Teague Chronicle.
Jeff graduated magna cum laude from Rice University, Houston, Texas, in 1970, with a B.A. in history and membership in Phi Beta Kappa. He was active in student government at Rice and gave an anti–Vietnam War address at his graduation.
Jeff received his Ph.D. in british history from Harvard University in 1978. While he conducted research for his dissertation, he and his wife, Lois, lived for two years in London, where they became enthusiastic devotees of live theater. Late in life, he became an opera buff.
In 1977, Jeff started his academic career at the University of Iowa, where he remained until death. Classroom teaching was one of his favorite activities. An active member of the American Association of University Professors, he served as chairman of the History Department from 1993 to 1996 and as president of the Faculty Senate in 2002 and 2003. He published four books and many articles on aspects of the social history of religion.
Religion was important in Jeff's, life not only professionally but also personally. His family was active in the Southern Baptist denomination, and he remained a member of it until early adulthood, serving as a missionary in Vietnam during one of his college summers. In the 1980s, he joined the Society of Friends (Quakers) and became an active member of the Iowa City Friends Meeting and of the Iowa Yearly Meeting (Conservative).
Jeff's political activism and progressive principles gave him a prominent and influential voice in the life of the community. He actively recruited candidates for local office and articulated a positive vision for progressive change in Iowa City. A longtime Democratic Party activist, he served as chairman of the Johnson County Democrats and as a member of the Iowa State Central Committee. Jeff always described himself as a democratic socialist. For more than 30 years, he co-edited a widely read community newsletter, the Prairie Progressive.
Jeff's relationship with his children was the highlight of his life. He is survived by his wife of 48 years, Lois (Kincheloe) Cox; his two brothers, Andrew and Russell; and his two children, Flossie (Eleanor) Ruth Cox of San Francisco, Calif., and David Martin Cox of Charlotte, N.C.
Online condolences may be sent to www.lensingfuneral.com.
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