Gilbert Clayton Cox, Jr. died September 29, 2021 in Naples, Florida at the age of 81 after a courageous battle with cancer. He left behind his loving and caring wife of 29 years Kay Cox. He was unabashedly proud of his three children John G. Cox, Kimberly F. Dils and William P. Cox, 8 grandchildren, and his great granddaughter. Born October 12, 1939 in Pocahontas, Arkansas into a family of cotton farmers, his parents migrated to Detroit during the Great Depression. His mother worked as a real life “Rosie the Riveter” during WWII and his father rose from the factory floors to build a small basement waterproofing business on 8 Mile Road. Gil embodied his parents’ old fashioned American values of hard work, self-reliance, and integrity to become the first of the Cox family to go to college and then to law school, becoming the President of his Class at Michigan State University and graduating with honors from the University of Virginia School of Law in 1964. He started a law firm in the late 1960’s to resolve labor disputes between Detroit factory workers and their employers. He retired in 2007 having built Cox, Hodgman & Giarmarco, P.C. into one of the largest, most respected law practices in Michigan. He was a member of the Detroit Athletic Club for over 50 years, a loyal Michigan State Spartan, and the most devoted of Detroit Tigers fans. Despite his many accomplishments, Gil most cherished the friendships he made from every walk of his life. He will be missed by the childhood cousins he played with in the Arkansas cotton fields, his adolescent buddy who had his back in the Detroit housing project, and the hundreds of friends made during high school, college, and his career. Gil Cox is admired as a husband and a father who filled his loved ones’ lives with energy and meaning, a man who fully embraced the life God gave him, a friend who never left his foxhole, and a fearless champion of the underdog. And those of us who knew him best, will respect him as the rare man who never quit … even until the very end.
The family requests that any donations be given to the Naples Community Hospital (nchmd.org/philanthropy) or AVOW Hospice (avowcares.org).
His ashes will be buried in a private family ceremony. A memorial service in Naples, Florida will be announced at a future date.
A memorial dinner in Gil's honor will be held on Tuesday, November 9, 2021 at 6:00 p.m. at the Royal Poinciana Country Club, 1600 Solana Road, Naples, FL 34105 (239) 261-3968.
To send sympathy gifts to the family or plant a tree in memory of Gilbert Clayton Cox, Jr., please visit our tribute store.