William S. Cox (Sign Guestbook)

William Smith Cox, LT COL US ARMY RETIRED, age 88 of Knoxville, passed away on Sunday, April 9, 2017. Bill was born December 21, 1928 in Knoxville, TN to Mabel Smith and Hugh B. Cox, but lived most of his childhood with his mom and beloved step father, Edward Lightley. He also spent a few years with his other set of parents, uncle and aunt Willard Thomas and Evelyn Smith. He was a graduate of Knoxville High School in 1948 and played football for North Carolina State, before being drafted into the Army in 1951. After Basic Training and Leadership School in Hawaii, Bill and Anna Lee were married September 4, 1952. Right after that Bill was off to Officer Candidate School in Ft. Riley, Kansas. As a new Second LT, Bill, his wife and new baby girl moved to Ft. Lee, Virginia. Not long after that they moved to Ft. Bragg North Carolina, as a new Paratrooper. He then served in Korea for 18 months. Shortly after that he was back to Ft. Lee, where he applied for flight school and was trained in single and twin engine fixed aircraft at Camp Gary, Texas and Ft. Rucker, Alabama. After that he attended the Advanced Armor Course in Ft. Knox, Kentucky. He then served three years in Hawaii and two years at Ft. McPherson in Atlanta, before being assigned to Vietnam for a year. After Bill returned home from Vietnam, he attended Helicopter School, right before the family moved to Berlin, Germany in 1966 for a tour behind the iron curtain. After two and a half years with Berlin Brigades Aviation Detachment, the family moved to Izmir, Turkey, where he served with NATO Landsoutheast Headquarters for two years. He returned to Ft. McPherson for his retirement ceremony in 1971. Bill was awarded the Bronze Star, 15 Air Medals and three Army Commendation Medals during his service. After retirement, Bill and Anna Lee moved to Greenville, South Carolina, where he worked for C&S National Bank. In 1979, he returned to Knoxville to work for Park National Bank, First American, then Regions Bank, until his second retirement in 1991. He has been a member of Concord United Methodist Church since moving to Farragut in 1996. Bill was preceded in death by his parents; stepfather; aunt and uncle. He is survived by his wife of 64 years and high school sweetheart, Anna Lee Bayless Cox; daughter, Catherine (John) Faust of Kingsport, TN, granddaughter, Elizabeth Lee Faust of Indianapolis, IN, the Lightley clan in England, where his stepfather was born, who accepted him as their blood relative; sister-in-law, Marion Bayless; brother-in-law, Jay (Bonnie) Bayless; cousin Betty Palmer, of Sunderland, many nieces and nephews, several other in-laws and great friends. A Memorial Service will be held at East Tennessee Veterans Cemetery on Monday April 17th at 2:00 pm. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to The Wounded Warrior Project, P.O. Box 758517 Topeka, KS 66675-8517 or a charity of choice. Gentry Griffey Funeral Chapel & Crematory is honored to serve the Cox family and invites you to view and sign their online guest book below.


10 guestbook entries for “William S. Cox”:

  1. Jenny Smith says:

    Hey Cathie,
    So sorry to about your Dad, I know how much you loved him. I will keep you and your family in my thoughts and prayers.

  2. Midge Jessiman says:

    Oh How we will miss Bill. He used to sit in his driveway every night with his dog and wave to everyone and talk to anyone. I was so proud to be his neighbor. He made everyone feel special. A true officer and a gentleman! A patriot to the end! He can never be replaced.

  3. Margaret Tillman says:

    Bill was a fine man & we are honored to have called him friend. He will be deeply missed. Our sympathy & prayers to the family.
    With love,
    Jim & Peggy Tillman

  4. Bonnie Macdonald says:

    I am so sorry for your loss. Please know you are in my thoughts and I send prayers for peace and comfort.

  5. Don and Sylvia DeVilbiss (and Todd) says:

    Thanks for all the wonderful memories and friendship in the wonderful city of Berlin and the many years since.

  6. Glenn Humbert says:

    Anna Lee,

    I have thought of you and Bill often. I’m sorry we lost touch after Kay died.

  7. Dolores manning Reagin says:

    What a distinguished career Bill enjoyed! I know his passing is very difficult for Anna Lee and all their children and relatives, but may memories of loving relationships sustain each of you in your grief.

    Dolores Manning Reagin
    KHS classmate

  8. Betty Epps Arnett says:

    Anna Lee,
    My thoughts are with you. Having lost my husband 15 months ago, I know something of what you and your family are going through. What an impressive career Bill had. They should put him in the KHS HALL OF FAME if they haven’t already.
    Betty Epps Arnett
    1948 Knoxville High School Classmate

  9. Tim and Lacie Patty says:

    Tim wants to thank Bill and Anna Lee for all the good times back on the lake and for helping him get through highschool. Without them he would have probably dropped out. He will be missed and was loved dearly.

  10. Roy and Katy Ogle says:

    We will miss Bill and Anna Lee–AND Dixie, his furry friend. They were special neighbors! Hope to visit Anna Lee and Dixie soon.

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