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Published: Friday, 4/1/2005

Ex-police officer inspected bees for Allen County

LIMA, Ohio - Earl F. Cox, a police officer in the 1950s who later inspected bee hives for Allen County, died of congestive heart failure Sunday in his home. He was 85.

His son, Richard Cox, said his father joined the Lima police force in the late 1940s at the urging of the chief. Both men were former Marines.

After some time with the department, Mr. Cox became a juvenile officer.

His son said he tried to keep youths out of trouble, and would send offenders to jail for 30 days in the hopes that they would reform.

"He kept a lot of kids out of prison," he said.

His son said some of the youths would call him later and thank him for keeping them out of worse trouble.

Mr. Cox was injured in a car accident in the 1960s and retired from the police department. He started a second career as an accountant with Sheller Globe.

Mr. Cox was born Jan. 14, 1920, in Akron. His father left home, and his mother sent him and some of his siblings to the Ohio Soldiers and Sailors home in Xenia, Ohio, where he raised rabbits with his brother.

He attended the first Buckeye Boys State in 1936.

Mr. Cox joined the Marines when he was 16 or 17, and served in the South Pacific during World War II. He was wounded at Guadalcanal, his son said.

He married Lana Rose Lee in 1947. She died in 1999.

Her brother got Mr. Cox interested in bees in the 1970s. Even though he was allergic to the insects, Mr. Cox kept bees until the late 1980s or early 1990s.

He got monthly shots and carried an emergency kit, and was stung several times.

Despite his allergy, he usually tied his pant legs with twine rather than wear bee-proof coveralls, even though he was stung when a bee crawled up his pants, his son said.

"He worked out there with gloves on and maybe a veil," he said.

He even became a state bee inspector, checking hives in Allen County for mites that can kill the bees. He also judged honey at the Allen County Fair for several years.

Mr. Cox was a life member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the American Legion, where he also was a past commander. He served on the funeral detail for both organizations, rescheduling doctor's appointments or checking himself out of the hospital to do so, his son said.

He also belonged to the Fraternal Order of Eagles and the Fraternal Order of Police and was a member of Family of Faith Church.

Surviving are his son, Richard Earl Cox; sister, Dorothy Skelly; three grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren.

Services will be at 11 a.m. today in the Chiles & Sons Funeral Homes, Lewis Chapel.

The family suggests tributes to the American Heart Association.

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