Obituary of Jean Adele Cox
Jean Adele Cox was born in Coleman, Texas, on June 15, 1926, the youngest of five children born to Raymond Alvie Cox and Jeanna Stella Hill Cox. She died on August 4, 2019, at the age of 93.
Jean grew up on the family farm one mile north of Talpa in Coleman County during the Great Depression. She helped out by picking cotton and tending flocks of uncooperative turkeys. She graduated as the 1943 Talpa High School valedictorian. During WWII, Jean enrolled in the Cadet Nurse Corps and received her cap from Austin's Brackenridge Hospital School of Nursing. Nurses from this program are among those honored at the Women in Military Service for America Memorial in Arlington, Virginia.
Jean married Melvin Stekoll February 22, 1946. They met during happy times- Austin's celebration of the end of World War II. One son was born to that union. The marriage ended in divorce in 1953.
While working at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston as a staff nurse, head nurse, supervisor, and assistant director of medical-surgical nursing, Jean completed her B.S. in nursing from the University of Texas, Galveston. In 1963 she was inducted into Sigma Theta Tau, the National Honor Society for nursing.
On May 30, 1959, Jean married Korean War veteran Jerry Rowland in Galveston, a marriage that lasted until his death April 16, 1988.
During 1965, Jerry’s employer, the Santa Fe Railroad, closed most Galveston operations and transferred Jerry to Topeka, Kansas. Jean began a 22-year career there with the Veteran’s Administration, later retiring as Assistant Chief Nurse in Bonham, Texas.
Jean worked first-hand with many VA patients suffering from smoking-related illnesses. She began instituting stop-smoking programs in the workplace, laying the groundwork for the eventual ban on smoking in hospitals in the state of Kansas. Jean served on the Board of Directors for the Kansas Lung Association, the Kansas branch of the American Cancer Society, the Kansas Interagency Council on Smoking and Health, the Kansas League for Nursing, the Kansas Nurses Association, the Texas League for Nursing, and served as president of the Galveston League for Nursing.
Publications include an article, “How about Smoking” in the Nursing Outlook, various poems in the Alcalde and Texas Writer, and her memoirs in a book entitled, A Long Way from the Cotton Patch. She was a member of the Texas Writers League and a lifetime member of the Texas Exes.
As a member of the Retired and Senior Volunteer Program for 15 years, Jean spent many hours doing volunteer work at Gracy Woods Nursing Center, Summit Elementary School, Far Northwest Caregivers, and Old Bakery & Emporium.
On May 11, 1992, Jean married Richard Cox, bringing great happiness to both in their later years. They met in the Covenant United Methodist Church and attended the J.O.Y. (Just Older Youth) Sunday School Class. Both were proud of their faith, which provided peace and strength, especially during their difficult final days.
Jean's love for pets and the University of Texas baseball were well known. Richard often would joke about his secondary status to Jean's dog, Buddy. And Jean treasured recounting the many hours spent sitting in Section 2 at Disch-Falk Field among the colorful members of the Wild Bunch fan group.
She was preceded in death by her parents; two sisters, Olivia Cox Magee and Mary Louise Cox de Ward; two brothers, Christy M. Cox and Tyrus Raymond Cox; and her long-time dog companion, Buddy. Survivors include her son David Stekoll and his wife, Margie of Austin; sister-in-law Melba Cox of Austin; one step-son John Cox and his wife, Sharron, of Berkeley Springs, West Virginia; one step-daughter Mary Lou Wolting and her husband Al of Indianapolis, Indiana; and five grandchildren, four great-grandchildren, and six nieces and nephews.
In lieu of flowers, Jean requested contributions be made to the Covenant United Methodist Church, 4410 Duval Road.
The memorial service for Jean Cox will be held Saturday, August 17, 2019, at 2 p.m. at Covenant United Methodist Church. A reception will follow at the church.