By Charlotte Blasingame
Louise James Cox was born September 16,1931 in Beat 2 Chambers County. She, her mother Gladys and Aunt Lottie lived three years in the Burton Hotel which is across the street from Parker’s Grocery Store.
In 1935, her mother Gladys started teaching 4th grade at Union Hill in Beat 4. Mrs. Cox stated they had rooms with W.G. And Laura Lee Harmon. She started 1st grade there and attributes who she is today by her role model-teachers: Mrs. Clara, Jewel, Lola, Fay, Katie, her mother, grandmother Kitchens and Laura Lee.
Mrs. Clara, first grade teacher, also taught third grade geography.
As a child Louise states her dream was to one day to adventure and see these places and things she had learned in Mrs. Clara’s class. I am happy to report that many years later her dreams would finally come true.
Gladys, her Mother always used the term that Louise always marched to a different drum beat!
Yep her daughter evidently did proving it whenever at the age of 16 years old Louise eloped with an Army Veteran, J.T.Cox.
Living now in Ripville( if you remember me mentioning in an earlier profile, her son Tim Cox who recently passed away was the Mayor of Ripville, as I liked to call him) she was a stay at home Mom to her children Jim, Marlene, Tim and Emily. She received her high school diploma through a correspondent course. At the age of 30 years old Louise attended Southern Union eventually graduating from Auburn with a BS in Education and started a teaching career at Southern Union.
In 1968 she and her family moved to LaFayette where Mrs. Cox taught at LaFayette High School while finishing a Master’s of Art in College Teaching at Auburn. Louise states this was 5 wonderful years at LaFayette High. In 1973 she returned to Southern Union where she retired in 1989.
The total of students that Louise Cox has touched their lives has been over 7,000. She has heard hundreds of speeches, directed 25 plays, chaperoned 12 trips to Europe, one to Mexico, and one to the Bahamas. Mrs. Cox remembers a time when she was in Rome, the students and teachers had a New Year’s audience with Pope John Paul II. Unknowingly to the Pope, Mrs. Cox carried him a red jogging suit and a letter stating the cotton was grown in Alabama and while the threads and cloth were made in Alabama but the suit was made in LaFayette, her hometown of 3,000.
Mrs. Cox has traveled with co-workers, her five children, 9 grandchildren, and friends. Her future plans are to travel with her 7 great grands. Joyfully Louise states that her mother Gladys lived to be 103 1/2 years old. She hopes she still has more places to visit before her final day’s end.
She has been fortunate enough to visit all 50 states, most of Canada, and 60 different countries, most of the time returning for a second visit. She also counts her blessings of being able to visit 6 of the 7 Wonders of the World. The only one she hasn’t visited was Petra, Jordan because of the safety issues!!
Her most inspiring trips were with Servants in Faith and Technology, Lineville, Alabama to South America., In South America she is known as Mama Luisa. In Ecuador a book has been written with her name on it.
As if this is not enough, in the 80’s she went with Grandmother’s for Peace to the Soviet Union. On September 01 she was invited to speak on Peace Day to the 5th graders in St. Petersburg. After entering the room the students started singing ” She came from Alabama with a banjo on her knee” in fluent English!
Louise’s latest thrills were at age 80 climbing to the top of Machu Picchee Peru and at 81 zip lining in Costa Rica, not to mention at the age of 82 snorkeling in Mexico.. Her next adventure is currently being planned for going down the “Shoot” at Ripville.
Not only has Mrs. Cox been active in church all her life she has been pianist at Pleasant Grove for 60 years. She was the first lay person and woman to be Moderator of 33 Congressional Christian Churches in East Alabama and West Georgia. She serves on the Board for Women in Church and Society. This job includes speaking and giving workshops locally and nationally. She is also a member of Sandy Creek U.C.C.
Louise likes to share one of her topics she gives at American Legion each month and she would like to pass it along…1. Learn something new every day. 2. See something beautiful every day. 3. Do something for someone every day. Her current schedule includes reading books and 3 weekly newspapers a week and one daily. Mrs. Cox shared her favorite being ” The LaFayette Sun” especially Mike Wilcox.
Her motto has always been: Live.. Laugh.. Love..
At times there have been tears, the death of her sister Verna, her husband, Mother, 3 sons, dear friend John, and many friends.
Her faith, family, former students, friends and recently a special friend named Charles have been her anchor.