PILOT MOUNTAIN — Frances Leona France Cox (Lonie) was born on January 5, 1929 in Surry County, Pilot Mountain, North Carolina, the only child of the union of the late William Granville and Luvenia Hill France. On the morning of Wednesday, March 19, 2014, the Master called Lonie home. Lonie attended both Westfield Elementary School in Westfield, North Carolina and she also attended Jones High School in Mount Airy, North Carolina. She was reared on a farm, where she learned the culinary skills that brought her much acclaim throughout her lifetime. In 1943, Lonie married Joe Bill Cox, son of Pastor Roy G. and Della Cox. Joe Bill preceded Lonie in death on August 6, 1987. From that union, six children were born. In 1948, Joe Bill and Lonie moved to Steelton, PA, which was their home for 40 years. Lonie was employed as a practical nurse at the Harrisburg State Hospital and retired from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania after 28 years. The greatest loves of her life were her family and God. After arriving in Steelton, Joe Bill, Lonie, Alice Faye, and Joe Ray united with the First Baptist Church. In 2000, Lonie joined the Greater Zion Baptist Church of Harrisburg, where her spirit was truly renewed. She especially loved the Christian Education classes, including Bible Study and Sunday School. Lonie was an active member of the Missionary Society and enjoyed the fellowship of visiting the sick and assisting as needed in the kitchen for special events. Lonie's spiritual journey continued with much jubilation when she united with the Exodus Progressive Primitive Baptist Church in Pilot Mountain, NC, where she was able to fellowship and connect spiritually with childhood relatives and friends from childhood. Lonie was a "good woman", who knew what she wanted out of life and she had high expectations for her children. She was brilliant, proud, resilient, and self-determined. Lonie was quick witted and had a great sense of humor. She had a wide range of interests and many hobbies, including knitting, crocheting, and cooking. Lonie had a "green thumb" and took great pride in her gardens. From childhood, Lonie loved animals, especially dogs, cats, and horses. In 2003, Lonie fulfilled her dream to "go back home". She built a new home on the same site as her childhood home. Fulfillment of this dream became a reality through a partnership with her oldest son, Joe Ray Cox, who preceded her in death on September 19, 2012. The location had even more significance for Lonie because of her grandfather, Mose Hill (1855-1921) family patriarch and owner of the existing family property. The log cabin that Lonie's grandfather built, and where Lonie was born, still stands today and sits directly across from Lonie's home. As Lonie has done for her family, the log cabin provided sunshine and shelter. The surrounding area, including the family cemetery, is affectionately known as Hill's Village. Lonie was preceded in death by one sister, Nellie (Luddie) Strickland (2000) and leaves to mourn her children (Alice Faye Cox Styles Reynolds, Benjamin Leon Cox, Darlene Louise Cox, Lorna LeMelle, and Christopher Grant Cox), grandchildren (Joy Elizabeth Styles, Meagan Ashley Lemelle, Bendeline Leana Cox, Morgan Darlene Cox, and Benjamin Leon Cox, Jr. as well as many loving nieces, nephews, cousins and friends. Lonie will be most remembered for her unwavering spirit, sacrifices, and work ethic. Her husband, Joe Bill, often said that "there was no end to the amount of hard work that she would do". Lonie's legacy of love, commitment, and self- determination will be celebrated and cherished by the many lives that she positively affected and inspired. Funeral services will be conducted on Friday March 28, 2014 at Exodus Progressive Primitive Baptist Church, 179 Exodus Church Road, Pilot Mountain, NC, at 11:00am, Elder Timothy Lyons will be the eulogist and burial will follow in the Hill's Village Family Cemetery. Family will receive friends on Thursday March 27, 2014 from 7:00 until 8:00pm at Edward J. Spencer and Pattie J. Spencer Memorial Chapel, 824 North Main Street, Mount Airy, NC. Spencer Funeral Directors are in charge of all services and arrangements.

Published in Mount Airy Newspapers from Mar. 26 to Mar. 27, 2014