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Published: Saturday, 9/30/2006

Salesman sold cars for local dealership

Ray Cox, 81, who was a milkman, dump truck owner, and Christmas tree salesman before he found his niche as a car salesman for Brondes Ford, died yesterday in the Parkcliffe Alzheimer's Community from complications of Alzheimer's disease.

When Mr. Cox retired in 2000, the dealership calculated he had sold more than 7,800 cars in a 35-year career, his wife, Jean, said. "He loved people, and he always liked being around people," his wife said. "That's why he was a milkman too."

His repeat customers included multiple generations of some families, his daughter Gina Retzlaff said.

"He was honest and made sure [customers] were treated good and their service was good after," his daughter said.

Mr. Cox never moved from the Trilby neighborhood of West Toledo where he grew up and worked at Brondes Ford. He was a graduate of Whitmer High School and worked at the former Willys-Overland Motors.

In the 1960s, Mr. Cox and his wife sold Christmas trees at Chippewa and Secor roads after harvesting and hauling the trees from the Petoskey, Mich., area.

He was a member of the former Trilby Volunteer Fire Department, which was disbanded about 1965 when the section of Washington Township that included Trilby was annexed to Toledo.

Surviving are his wife, Ida "Jean" Cox, whom he married Jan. 10, 1948; sons, Ronald and Dennis; daughters, Connie Paxton, Peggy Mabrey, Gina Retzlaff, Luann Davis, and Beverly Doty; brothers, Kenneth and Russell Cox; 20 grandchildren, and 18 great-grandchildren.

Services will be at 11 a.m. Tuesday in the H.H. Birkenkamp Funeral Home, Tremainsville Road, where the body will be after 2 p.m. tomorrow.

The family suggests tributes to the Hospice of Northwest Ohio or the Alzheimer's Association, northwest Ohio chapter.

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