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P. O. Box 248
190 Canada Drive
Harbour Breton, NL A0H 1P0
Phone: 709-885-2609
Fax: 709-885-3025

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James Cox
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James William
1948 - 2023
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Obituary for James William Cox

James William  Cox
Passed suddenly at his cabin, a place he truly loved, on Wednesday, May 31st, 2023, James William Cox (aka, Jim/Jimmy), age 74 years of Harbour Breton.

James Cox was born November 8, 1948, to parents Emmie (nee Baker) and George William Cox. Coming from very humble beginnings, growing up in a big family with 13 siblings, he never forgot his roots. In fact, it is fair to say, this is what inspired him to always work hard to succeed in life, to face life’s challenges head on, and to never be afraid to advocate for change. A few of his guiding principles were: “Never be afraid to take chances; never walk away from a challenge; and when you have to make a difficult decision, do so knowing that with the decision you made, you will be able to close your eyes and sleep at night”.

At the young age of about 14, he met the love of his life Lena Day whom he would later marry on a very hot day, May 31, 1967, at a simple church ceremony in the presence of family and friends, followed by a reception in the house where they would later spend their 56 years of married life together. Their never-ending love story blessed them with three children: Marie, Paul and Peter: six grandchildren, Brandon, Victor, Daniel, Chrystal, Alexis and Lucas; and 6 great-grandchildren, Lily, Jayla, Jacob, Evan, Rachael and Rosalie.

Jim (Jimmy), as he was called by most, at a very young age, began his work life on fish plants both in Harbour Breton and in Nova Scotia. He also experienced a career at sea for many years, starting as a deckhand on the fishing trawlers and then advancing to mate in later years. For a short period of time, he was at the helm of his own fishing enterprise, and had a different experience at sea as an inshore fisherman. He loved telling stories about his years of sailing the sea. For many years, he was also the leader of the local union when in this capacity, he played a key role in the establishment of the first union at the fish plant in Harbour Breton. Many times, he shared stories about his experiences with negotiations and mediation, the challenges he and his colleagues faced throughout the process, as well as taking pride in their achievements. He was a fighter for change and fought hard for the rights of fish plant workers. But it seemed he had yet to find the career that would give him the satisfaction he desired.

It was in 1981 that he pursued his dream and opened Cox’s Grocery and Confectionary Ltd. With this business he brought about change in many ways notably, opening 7 days-a-week, day and night. He continued this business until 1992 when he then chose to move in a different direction. After acquiring a provincial fish processing license in 1991, he decided this was his entrepreneurial passion. Bringing another new service to the South Coast fish harvesters, he made possible the first ever crab fishery for the area. With the cod fish moratorium in 1992, fish harvesters now had a new fishery they could pursue. As a prominent businessman, Jim employed many people, but his focus was always to ensure that his businesses remained family oriented, and they did. He was proud to have his immediate family playing key roles throughout the years.

Notably, he also served as deputy mayor/councillor for the Town of Harbour Breton and was involved many times as a supporter for local politicians seeking election both provincially and federally.
He was a dedicated husband, father, father-in-law, brother, grandfather, great-grandfather and uncle. He was a father figure to his two daughters-in-law Phyllis and Regina, and likewise to his son-in-law Joseph. Everything he did in life, he did with a good giving heart, not doing it for recognition or expecting anything in return, but simply to share and to help others.

One of his best friends was nature itself. He loved everything about it - the cabin life (especially, alongside his son Peter and daughter-in-law Regina), hunting, fishing, berry picking, etc. Berry picking season meant he would be delivering berries to many people to include friends and family. He did all of this and more with his lifelong best friend, his wife Lena. A hard-working man, to whom family was everything, he inspired his children and other family members around him to do good. A man of strong convictions, a fighter, a prominent business man, fearless by nature, he overcame many challenges in his lifetime on this earth and left a legacy of successes and achievements as an entrepreneur to inspire and honour.

In the words of his grandson Daniel, “Our grandfather brought kindness and love into the lives of everyone he met. So many people are better because they knew him. Grandfather didn’t do anything halfway. He worked hard, played harder and made life better for everyone who crossed his path. He was the perfect example of what it means to be a family man. He loved big, lived large, and left a lasting legacy, one which will be the greatest honour of my life to spend every day trying to live up to. He will be missed, but his legacy will live on in his family. There was nothing greater to be loved by him, and I hope he knows how much we loved him in return. He will be missed by so many. As I say goodbye to his physical presence, I am comforted knowing my grandfather’s spirit will always be a part of me. It saddens me to say goodbye to you grandfather, but it makes me happy to know that you will always be a part of who I am and how lucky I have been to have such an incredible grandfather. I will always be grateful for the years we had together. I’ll miss your laughs. I’ll miss your hugs. I’ll miss the life lessons you so loved to share. I’ll carry you with me always, everywhere. I will never forget how much you loved me and how much I learned from you.”

“Jim” leaves to mourn his wife Lena; daughter, Marie (Joseph); son, Paul (Phyllis); and son Peter (Regina), Harbour Breton, NL; grandchildren: Brandon (Miranda), Victor (Julia), Daniel (Nicole), Chrystal (Haley), Alexis (Brandon) and Lucas (Katelyn); great-grandchildren: Lily, Jacob, Jayla, Rachael, Evan and Rosalie; sisters: Bridget Stewart, Theresa Mary Smith, Susan Snook (Melvin), Ernestine Stoodley (Ron), Harbour Breton, NL; Emily Newbigging (Keith), Edmonton, Alberta; Kathleen Oliver and Madonna Oliver, Gull Island, NL; brothers George (Evelyn), Gordon (Annie), John (Linda), Tom (Mary), Bob (Bonnie), Harbour Breton, NL; brother-in-law, Mike Day (Ena), Burgeo, NL; and a very large circle of family and friends.

Predeceased by parents: Emmie and George William Cox; grandparents: Jessie and Joseph Baker, Catherine (Kitty) and George Cox, Sr.; parents-in-law, Theresa Mary and Garfield Day; sister, Josephine Jensen; special cousin whom he referred to as his “sister” Theresa Douglas (husband, Jim; son, David; daughter, Mary Blagdon); nephew, Kevin Cox; brothers-in-law: Lawrence Stewart, Albert Smith, James Oliver, Phillip Augot, Onslow Day, Leo Day; sisters-in-law: Helen Cox, Marie Day, Mary Augot and Susie Day; special aunt, Kathleen Stoodley.

Visitation took place at Spencer's Funeral Home, Harbour Breton from 6pm to 9pm on Tuesday, June 6, 2023 and 2pm to 4pm, and, 6pm to 9pm on Wednesday, June 7, 2023.

Funeral Service was held on Thursday, June 8, 2023 at 10:30am at St. Bartholomew's Anglican Church with Rev. Bruce Vallis officiating.

“And now the end is here.
And so I face that final curtain
My friend I’ll make it clear
I’ll state my case of which I’m certain
I’ve lived a life that’s full.
I’ve travelled each and every highway.
And more, much more, I did it, I did it my way.
(Excerpt from son Paul’s tribute)
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