PORT CLINTON - John W. Cox, Sr., 72, a former police chief who loved serving the public and being outdoors, died Saturday at the Riverview Health Care Campus, Oak Harbor, Ohio from complications related to Alzheimer's disease.
Mr. Cox was named police chief of Danbury Township in Ottawa County in 1976, a post he held for moer than 20 years.
He quickly gained widespread respect and admiration, his daughter Becky Wieber said.
Mr. Cox enjoyed working at high school football and basketball games, and often volunteered to perform fire safety demonstrations for schoolchildren.
"He was like a dad to all my friends," Ms. Wieber said. "And the parents all liked him because he would take kids home if they needed a ride."
Before becoming Danbury's police chief, Mr. Cox was a police officer in Port Clinton, joining the department in 1968.
"He loved being a cop because he liked people," his granddaughter Danelle Kreager said. "He was always a fair cop and a fair person."
Before his law enforcement career, Mr. Cox was employed at Port Clinton Manufacturing until the early 1960s, when he became a truck driver for Michigan Transportation.
He liked traveling, but the long stretches of road were too solitary for him, Ms. Wieber said.
Mr. Cox grew up on a farm in Williamsburg, Ky., where he developed an affinity for working outdoors. As a boy, he would milk cows and feed chickens.
"He loved keeping busy outside," Ms. Wieber said.
In 1956, he met his future wife, Caroline Witt, when she was working as a waitress. For the next few weeks, he went to the restaurant every night to see her.
They were married four months later, and moved to Port Clinton, Mrs. Cox's hometown.
At their house in Port Clinton, Mr. Cox planted a garden, and spent years lovingly tending his roses, mums, and wildflowers.
He put up elaborate Christmas decorations including candy canes lining the sidewalk.
"He was a big kid at heart," Ms. Wieber said.
Mr. Cox also loved animals - particularly his dog, Toby - and working on cars.
Surviving are his wife, Caroline; daughters, Becky Wieber, Tina Cox, and Terri Rose; sons, John Cox, Jr., and Jack Meyer; brothers, Bob and Virgil Cox; sisters, Frances Hughes and Brenda Dixon; nine grandchildren, and nine great-grandchildren.
Visitation will be after 2 p.m. tomorrow at the Niedecker, LeVeck & Crosser Funeral Home, Marblehead, Ohio, where services are scheduled for 11 a.m. Wednesday.