HAROLD SANDERS COX

Obituary
3 entries
  • "Harold will be missed. He was a good man, a good friend..."
    - Todd M. Tippett
  • "My deepest condolences to the family. Losing a loved one is..."
  • "Many fond memories of Harold from our visits in Washington..."
    - Glendel Cock
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HAROLD SANDERS COX 9/4/1926 - 3/12/2017 After a lifetime of devotion to farming and ranching, family, and community service, Harold Cox went home to be with his heavenly Father and wife of 54 years, Bonnie. Whether preparing for a Franklin County Planning Commissioners meeting, planting his spud fields, or advising his grandchildren concerning their choices in life, Harold approached life with an iron will which was translated into an exacting standard for himself, others, and the projects he undertook. Bonnie said: "Harold has never been shy about telling people what to do", -concerning Harold's directing his own rescue during a major trucking accident in 1977. He told his granddaughter Annee that: "You always, always make your goal, plan three steps ahead, figure all the down-sides, and then give it all you got! Never go half way. Don't you ever, ever quit 'til the job's done." Harold was born on September 4th, 1926 at his family home in Outlook, Washington. He was the eldest of 2 sons, born to Sanders Cox and Clara Viola Johnson. His younger brother by 2 years, Robert, passed away in 2013. Harold loved to travel, and traveled the world considerably during his life, visiting more than 20 foreign countries. His fascination with diverse cultures, farming methods, and politics lead him to places like China, Japan, Bulgaria, and Australia. His love of the tropical sun and surf took him to Hawaii 41 times. Other than a year serving in the Army just outside Seoul, South Korea in 1945, he never lived further than 65 miles from where he was born. In fact, Harold was very well known locally, having built a successful farming and ranching business in the Tri-Cities area. Harold spent his first 15 years in the small farming community of Outlook, Washington, where he attended Liberty School, which had approximately 60 students. As part of a family farming effort, he worked many hours on their irrigated farm, growing potatoes, rutabagas, turnips, sugar beets, hay, and raising livestock. At 3 1/2 he lost the use of his left eye due to a physician's mistake; and at 8 simultaneously suffered from and overcame Polio, Spinal Meningitis, and a broken neck vertebra. In 1941, the family began farming a 200-acre island in the Yakima River near Granger. Harold attended Granger High School for 3 years and began his senior year at Sunnyside High School. Harold never graduated from high school. His father was stricken with Cancer, and so, Harold abandoned his studies to look after the farm while his father underwent costly and experimental treatments. Throughout his life, Harold talked about the importance of education and valued it highly for his family and for those seeking leadership roles in agriculture. After returning from Korea, Harold returned to the family farm and in 1948 met his future wife, Bonnie Jean Mears, at a Legion Hall dance in Prosser. They were married July 3, 1949. Harold and Bonnie continued living in the Grandview/Prosser area, farming on the Rosa. In May of 1950 their first daughter, Saundra Lea, was born and in September 1951 she was followed by a sister, Sharon (Sherry) Marie. The family moved to Moses Lake for a short period of time, and in 1956 to Paterson. Harold served on the Paterson School Board, the first of many organizational posts he would hold during his lifetime. With the construction of John Day Dam on the Columbia River, the town of Paterson was relocated, and the Cox farm became part of the flooded area behind the dam. Harold and Bonnie moved to Mesa in 1963, and eventually to Pasco in 1978. While Harold was actively involved in agriculture throughout his life, his real love was in cattle ranching. During the 1970's he ran cows and calves on rangeland in the Wallowa-Hells Canyon region, and later finished feedlot cattle at various times. Harold was very active in local agricultural and civic efforts, serving as the President of the Washington State Cattlemen's Association and President of the Washington State Cattle Feeders Association. He is the only person to have served as President of both associations, and was an active member in the National Cattlemen's Association as well. He served on the National Beef Board and was instrumental in constructing the "Where's the beef" campaign during the late 1980's. In 1976, he was asked to join the Ag & Forestry Leadership Foundation where he was excited to help young people develop their careers in agriculture. In 2002 Harold served on the National Beef Board Executive Committee and in 2005 was honored for 30 years of service by the Washington State Cattle feeders. Harold, affectionately known as Pop or Papa Bear, loved family gatherings. During summers at his Pasco home, you might find him tending his beloved rose garden or ready for a swim. He dearly loved a rib-eye off the Trager with a baked potato and all the trimmings. On a trip, Harold always knew where to find the best steaks and other good eats. Harold is survived by his daughters (Saundra and Sherry) and their husbands (Ron and David), 5 grandchildren (Harold, Annee, Charity, Vanessa, Nicole), and great-grandchildren (John, Emily, and Natalie). In lieu of flowers or other gifts, if you feel a desire to remember Harold, please contribute to the Ag & Forestry Leadership Foundation in his honor. Harold loved the work of the foundation which aims to help young people developing careers in agriculture. A celebration of Harold's life will be held on Wednesday, March 22nd at 12:00 noon at: Desert Wind Winery 2258 Wine Country Road Prosser, WA Those wishing to sign Harold's online Memorial book may do so at www.funeralhomesmith.com Smith Funeral Home in care or arrangements.
Funeral Home
Smith Funeral Homes, Ltd & Crematory - Sunnyside
528 S. 8th Street
Sunnyside, WA 98944
509-837-4962
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Published in Tri-City Herald on Mar. 19, 2017