Cecelia Cox died on May 13, 2017 at the age of 88 after a long, brutal battle with Alzheimer's disease. She was the wife of Jim Cox Sr. and mother of Mary (Gerry), Jim Jr. (Vicki), and Damon (Sara).
Born Cecelia Rose Fitzgibbon in Bayonne, New Jersey on November 9, 1928 to Irish immigrants Mary and John, she was the youngest of a tight knit, musical family. She was a beloved friend, bright student and talented Irish step dancer who appeared in movie shorts and the World's Fair early on in her life. Her love and appreciation of music and her ability to play piano by ear remained even when her disease had taken nearly everything else from her.
Cecelia and Jim were married in 1953. At the time, she worked at Bankers Trust in the Wall St. district of Manhattan while also taking evening classes at Seton Hall University. After 2 years of military service at Ft. Devens, Massachusetts (where Mary was born in the Army hospital) they made their way to Montana. The couple eventually moved to Missoula in 1963 when Jim joined the UM faculty.
Cecelia was a devoted, selfless, protective, and untiring wife and mother. She was a long-time volunteer for a number of charitable organizations, including Literacy Volunteers, Radio Reading Service, Habitat for Humanity and the Missoula Food Bank just to name a few.
After Jim's retirement from the University, they traveled, lived, and worked in Rome, Indonesia, North Carolina, Thailand and Bahrain, making each their temporary homes. Cecelia taught English as a second language in Indonesia and Thailand and was beloved by her students. Back in Montana, she remained active in the parish of Christ The King, was happy entertaining long-time friends, reading crime novels, correcting her children's French and Latin homework, and just finally getting to relax a bit.
She was a truly compassionate person who was genuinely present wherever she was and made those around her feel comfortable and appreciated. She cared deeply for the welfare of others and was the first to help anyone in need.
A memorial service will be held at The Springs, 3710 American Way (near Home Depot) on Wednesday, June 7 at 10 a.m. with Father Jim Hogan, a long time friend. All are invited.