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 www.spilsburymortuary.com.