Dean Jeffery Cox

Dean Jeffery Cox, beloved husband, father, grandfather, brother, and friend passed away on July 7, 2021, at the age of 66 in the comfort of his home and the company of his dear family. A proud native of Southern Utah, and the fifth of seven children, he was born at the Dixie Pioneer Memorial Hospital to Robert Edgar and Jean Gubler Cox on August 8, 1954. He graduated from Dixie High School in 1972 and later attended Brigham Young University where he met the woman of his dreams, LaRene Leavitt. A story of true love, their paths first crossed on a beautiful fall morning on campus. After a quick introduction, and a moment of clarity, he knew he had just met the woman who would be his wife. After a brief courtship, they were married in St. George Temple on May 12, 1978.

Not long after they wed and moved back home to Southern Utah, he and his brother Robert decided to carry on the work of their father and form a partnership that would last a lifetime. Together they purchased the family business on Bluff Street, then known as Bob’s Garage, and renamed it to Colorland Sales and Service. With the help of their wives and children they owned and operated this successful small business for more than 30 years.

Throughout his life, he was a man of many talents, hobbies, interests, friendships, and endeavors. As a young man, he was greatly fascinated with understanding our world and was a student of science, chemistry, and physics. These passions, coupled with an unquenchable thirst for knowledge, served as his lodestar – and he never shied away from pursuing his dreams. A testament to his ambition, he acquired his pilot’s license at the young age of 19. From that moment on his love for flight would never leave him.

Around this same time, he also began avidly studying radio frequency as a medium for communication. His love for amateur radio and related technologies continued to grow in ways he could not have imagined – and ultimately eclipsed its prior status and became more than just one of his many hobbies. In fact, later in life, he would not only acquire the most advanced class of license offered for amateur radio, but he found himself volunteering to maintain the entire radio and repeater network employed by the Washington County Sheriff’s Office. This act of service would prove to be the first step in what became a nearly 30-year journey as a public servant of Washington County. Not long after volunteering, in 1991 he was recruited by the County Commission to serve his community as the Director of Emergency Services. Serving in this capacity over the years provided him with unique management and leadership opportunities which made him the perfect candidate for the position of County Administrator – a position he earned and excelled at for over 10 years.

Though the list of contributions to all who knew him are many – his proudest and crowning achievement was the opportunity to serve his community as an elected Commissioner of Washington County. A position of which he was entrusted from 2016 to the time of his passing, and a position he never stopped working for without regard to the devastating impacts of cancer and its difficult treatment.

In addition to his many cherished hobbies and professional pursuits, he enjoyed a lifelong love of the German language after serving two years on a mission abroad. He had an innate passion for service and leveraged his many talents in an unending pursuit to serve his community, friends, family, and neighbors. This unwavering devotion to family and friends was seen and felt by all. Although he had many proud moments in his life – they paled in comparison to his deep affection for the many people in his life that he held dear.

He is survived by his beautiful wife LaRene, their 4 children, Jeffery Cox (Tanna) of Sacramento, California, Elisa Edwards (Quinten) of Santa Clara, Utah, Kristen Lotz (TJ) of Santaquin, Utah, and Edward Cox (Karen) of Arvada, Colorado and his 11 grandchildren: Kate, Matthew, Jonas, Anna, Ethan, Keira, Hailey, Camille, Audrey, Emery, and Everett. In addition, he is survived by his siblings Robert W. Cox, Janice Halter, Ilene Torgerson, Sharlene Cornwell, and Andrew Cox. He is preceded in death by his parents, Robert and Jean, and his sister Janet who passed as a young child.

Services will be held beginning Friday, July 16, 2021, with a public viewing from 4:00 to 8:00 PM at the Dixie Convention Center at 1835 Convention Center Dr. in St. George. The funeral will be held at Dixie State University’s Cox Performing Arts Center at 325 South 700 East on Saturday, July 17, 2021, at 10:00 AM. Interment will take place in Kolob Mountain Cemetery immediately following the conclusion of the funeral.

Family and friends who are unable to attend are invited to view the funeral service online by clicking on the link below.

Arrangements are made under the direction of Spilsbury Mortuary, 110 S. Bluff St., St. George, Utah, (435) 673-2454. Friends and family are invited to sign Dean’s online guest book at



4:00 – 8:00 pm – Dixie Convention Center

Second Visitation


10:00 am


Dixie State University’s Cox Performing Arts Center
325 South 700 East
St. George, UT


Kolob Mountain Cemetery
Springdale, UT 84767

Guest Book

39 Responses

  1. A wonderful man, a good friend, wise, intelligent, experienced, a mentor, reliable, public servant, someone you could put all trust and confidence in. A wonderful son, husband, and father, an example for all of us.

  2. LaRene and family
    Our deepest sympathy comes to all of you in the passing of Dean. May you find peace and comfort knowing he is in a much better place and free of pain!

  3. To the Dean Cox family
    Your are in our thoughts and prayers and our deepest sympathy and love is extended to each of you.

  4. What a wonderful tribute! He will be truly missed by so many! So sorry for the loss of such a great man!

  5. Dear LaRene and family,
    Dean was a friend to everyone and we know that he was loved by all. May his memories light your life and give you peace. We love your family.

  6. Nanette and I are sorrowful and our thoughts are with you my dear Lareen. You are in our prayers and we are here for you. We love you and Dean.

    1. I haven’t seen my cousin Dean for many years and then only at a few family reunions. This of course is my fault not his. I am a little older than Dean but I have followed his admirable career ot Public service in the media and on line with interest? From my perspective he followed the admonition of Christ given in. King Benjamin discourse, that he who is in the service of his fellow man is in the service of his God.”
      I had never intended when I graduated frim highschool to stay away for fifty years, but life, family, and career and suddenly many of my friends and relatives are passing on.
      I think the only person in Uncle Bobs family that Ive run into a time or two’ was Sharleen at Smith’s a couple if years ago when we were spending the winter in St George
      So I don’t know his wife or children well. But they have my condolences. Dean, I salute you. You fought the good fight with honor and may you rejoin your family who have preceeded you.
      Wayne Cox

  7. Sincere love and condolences to LaRene and all of Dean’s family. He will be truly missed. A true friend, public servant, and all-around nice guy!

    Janie & Bob Hawley

  8. LaRene and the family are in our prayers for the peace that surpasses understanding and comfort from the Savior. Dean’s passing far too soon leaves a huge void in all our lives. We will miss him greatly… Love and blessings from the Jimi & Rickine Kestin family.

  9. Dear LaRene and family,
    Dean will certainly be missed and though the many beautiful tributes won’t heal your broken hearts, you can know he has been loved and honored. You have stayed by him, cared for him, and love him. And he knows that. Our prayers are for you and your family to have a quick healing while still endearing the many memories. And know you can be together again.

  10. Our condolences and sympathies to the Cox family. To us Dean was the walking, talking history of Washington County. Anything anyone needed to know he was ‘the guy’. There were a group of us that so appreciated his updates of what was going on weather wise in Kolob. How we love and miss are the wildlife updates of the deer families, birds and the weather.
    We will miss you, dear friend.
    Keith & Judy

  11. LaRene and family, I am so sorry for your loss. I met Dean when I was managing editor of Dixie Weekly News, in 2005. He was so helpful and kind to me, and I enjoyed quite a few philosophical conversations with Dean. We both loved aviation, and he took me for a flight from Hurricane. As he landed his plane, it took a mean hop on the tarmac in front of me, which he said embarrassed him soundly. He was such a sincerely caring man and gave so much of himself to his friends and community. I know, LaRene, you and he shared a wonderful love, and his love will continue to be with you always. Blessings.

  12. What do you say about one of the Greatest Men to ever live? What can you say about a life filled with service to his neighbors. Only that you were lucky enough to call him your friend. Twenty one years ago after moving here I was lucky enough at the Washington County Fire Chiefs meeting to become friends with Dean. My life was changed for ever from that meeting. I got to see the man in action who never lost his cool, who was always calm, cool and collected. Dean could stop a freight train with only a smile. Then his words of wisdom could reverse the spin of the earth. To say I am heart broken would be an injustice to the human tongue. Dean was Washington County. When Dean decided to run for County Commissioner I knew he was the one person from his Emergency Management Position that could pick up a phone and bring County, State and Federal Government help for whatever Washington County needed. I said “Dean what can I do to help you get elected?” He said “I need you to become the Chairman of the Republican Party where you live!” I did that and because of his influnce and guidance I have worked hard for the Republican Party ever since. If you know Dean besides the Airplances and his love of his family … next where Washington County and the Republican Party. Our wonderful County will never be the same, without our Beloved Dean Cox. My Friend and Brother you will never be forgotten. I will always remember you and rest assured I will come visit up there on your beloved Kolob Mountain. Until we meet again, much love and respect. Your Friend & Brother In This Life and The Next, Blackhawk

  13. Dean Cox taught me so many interesting things about Pine Mountain, Zion and the Colorado Plateau in a 5 minute conversation. I give him credit and repeat that info to anyone who is interested. He was a very gregarious man. Blessings to LaRene!

  14. Dean Cox taught me so many interesting things about Pine Mountain, Zion and the Colorado Plateau in a 5 minute conversation. I give him credit and repeat that info to anyone who is interested. He was a very gregarious man. Blessings to LaRene!

  15. What a beautiful Obituaries. Praying for each one of you to find peace and comfort. I feel honored that I was allowed in your home to take care of Dean. Amazing family!!

  16. LaRene and Family, Marlene and I are so sorry for your loss. Dean was a great person, cousin, and community leader; we will miss his friendship and always know he’s with our Heavenly Father. Many Blessings to LaRene and Family.

  17. When I think of our long-time friend, Dean, I recall his smile. Never had I been around him that he wasn’t pleasant and smiling. Easy to talk to and Floyd and I were always uplifted and left having learned a thing or two. He is so intelligent. I enjoyed visiting at their cabin in Kolob and seeing all his ambitious endeavors, along with sharing a delicious meal together. Dean is an all-around amazing guy who lived a good life and touched many of us. Blessings to your family. Marianne Jackson

  18. Over the years Paul and I have enjoyed Dean’s posting of the wild life, weather, and doings at Kolob. I was pleased to hear he will be buried at Kolob as I knew he has loved his cabin and surroundings for years. It is such a peaceful place and the view amazing. My sympathy to the Cox family as their loss is a great one as anyone who has experienced the loss of a husband, father, brother, and grandfather is difficult.

  19. LaRene and family,

    I, was so sorry to hear of Dean’s passing.
    Please accept my deepest sympathy. You are in my prayers.

  20. LaRene and family, It is an honor to be related to someone like Dean (he and my mom are first cousins, however, he is much closer to my age). I cherish the memories I have of Dean (at reunions and various community events). I will miss his Facebook updates (flying, Kolob, grandchildren, etc.) My deepest sympathy and love is extended to your family.

  21. It is hard to find words to express how broken hearted I am for the family over the tragic loss of their husband and father, Dean Cox. He was such an amazing man. He worked tirelessly for this community. He was an honorable man who lived a life of integrity. I’m proud to say Dean Cox was a friend of mine. LaRene has lost the love of her life. Their marriage was a great example for all of us. LaRene has stood by his side through the best of times and the worst of times. God bless her and her sweet family. Dean will be sorely missed. Heaven just recieved a bright new star.

  22. To Dean’s family and colleagues, I hope that even at this most difficult time, that fond memories of good times with Dean will bring a smile to you! I have always appreciated Dean’s friendliness, kindness and good cheer… professionally I have so often benefitted from his good counsel and advice. He has brought joy and warmth to so many people in our area via his dedication to public service!
    I pray for Dean, his family and colleagues … wishing you peace!

  23. I worked with Dean for many years and in all that time he was a consummate professional and a real gentleman — a gentle man. His service to our community cannot be measured. His devotion was unsurpassed. He was smart and practical, two valued characteristics in a public servant. He will be missed by all who knew him.

  24. I was saddened to hear of Dean’s passing. Each time I have visited with him since the cancer struck I have been impressed by his positive attitude and his dedication to his family and the commission. I have known Dean since the days of Bob’s Garage and then Colorland ,where they serviced our pumps to haul water to our cattle. When I was elected commissioner he was part time with county emergency services. I immediately recognized his abilities and he became a great mentor to me from then on. While he was county manager we had many opportunities to talk and I appreciated being able to bounce ideas off him and get his thoughtful response and political advice. I relied on him to tweak my letters and talks. We had many opportunities to travel to meetings by his plane and truck. I remember a trip we drove to Blanding tor a hearing on Bear’s Ears. When we went through Kayenta his gps wasn’t working and we missed our turn and took the scenic route through Colorado. I appreciate all he has done for the county and for having him as a friend. He will be greatly missed.

  25. LaRene and family,
    Dean has had such a great impact on our city, county, and state! He certainly represented us well! So sorry for your heartbreaking loss, but feel relieved he isn’t suffering! Lots of love and prayers to you and your family!

  26. Dear LaRene and Family,
    We echo the words of all those who have paid tribute to Dean for his leadership, kindness, his unselfish service, and his uncompromising character. Dean was so accommodating to so many and wanted the best for our community. He helped facilitate the passage of the Recreation, Arts, and Parks plan, which has added so much to the cultural richness of Washington County–His door was always open and he listened to ideas–and then acted. We are grateful for his example of a dedicated community leader who made things happen for the better. We are better people because of Dean. We value what Blackhawk Walters stated: “Dean could stop a freight train with only a smile.” So true. We send our love to you at this most tender time and pray for your comfort and peace.

  27. Our Thoughts & Prayers go out to LaRene and the family! Dean will be deeply missed.
    We have known Dean & LaRene for years thru Search & Rescue, Washington Co. Sheriff’s Office, Business & Real Estate, etc.
    Jay & Paula Pitcher

  28. We love this man and his smile but especially his heart. Love and peace to Lorene and family. You are all in our thoughts and prayers. Love you.

  29. Dear LaRene, Ed and Family,
    I will miss Dean dearly. He had such an impact on Washington County and his professionalism, humor, positivity, leadership and thoughtfulness will stay with those of us lucky enough to work with him and call him friend. Please count me as part of the community of support for your wonderful family during this tender time. You will remain in my continued thoughts and prayers, especially today.

  30. Dean was such a great friend and example. We will miss seeing him on the mountain and his wonderful weather updates. Sending love and peace to LaRene and all the family.

  31. Dean was my mentor. He taught me the importance of correct management and the value of good employees. Dean was intrigued with my intelligence and would often comment how lucky I was to have such a gift. He encouraged me to pursue my Ph.D. degree and told me that it would probably be the hardest thing I would ever do. He was prophetic in that statement! I will forever remember the many wise words of advice he offered, his laughter, and his rock solid character. I offer my condolences to Dean’s wife, children, and grandchildren. Dean will be missed!

  32. Just heard today of Dean’s passing. We send our love and sympathy to all his family.

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