Neal LaVaun Cox, 72, passed away peacefully on August 2, 2020 at sunrise on his beloved Sabbath day. He was born in Manti, Utah on Valentine’s Day, February 14, 1948, the oldest child of R. LaVaun and Shirley Sudweeks Cox. He married his love and eternal companion Carol Lynn Martin on September 2, 1971 in the Salt Lake Temple.
Neal valued people and dedicated his life as a builder of men and women. He had a big smile and full-bodied laugh that he freely shared with everyone and was forever the champion of the underdog. To every man and woman is given a gift, and one of Neal’s gifts was seeing others clearly and giving them the confidence they needed to understand their true potential. Without fail, he made individuals feel valued with specific, genuine praise. Neal always believed that you were meant for important things in this life, and his passing has not changed that belief. Above all else, Neal knew that there is a God in heaven who loves all of His children and has provided a Savior who gives us purpose and hope in this life.
Neal loved all people and cultures and took seriously the charge to go forth and teach all nations. As a young man, he served in the Northern Far East mission in Japan where he treasured the people and culture of Japan and the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. He and his wife Carol later served as mission presidents in the Illinois Chicago Mission from 1995 to 1998 where they loved and cherished the people of Chicago and the many missionaries who they came to love as their own.
Neal always planted deep roots wherever he lived and encouraged others to do the same. He taught seminary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Murray and Woods Cross, Utah, Montpelier, Idaho, and Cokeville, Wyoming. He and his young family moved to Western Samoa in 1978 where he taught at the LDS Church College in Pesega.
Neal later returned to his native Sanpete County to work at Snow College where he served as Dean of Students and Vice President of Student Life. He would later serve as Associate Vice President and Dean of Students at Southern Utah University and Associate Dean of Students at Brigham Young University. He loved students and dedicated his life to serving them. Much of his work was conducted out and about on campus, face to face, and very seldom behind a desk. In retirement, he continued his lifelong work serving and building young men and women as a sealer in the Manti Temple. Neal was a man without guile who did not weary in well-doing. He was someone who could be counted on at all times and was a never-deviating friend to all. He will be missed.
Neal is survived by his wife, Carol; six children: Curtis (Carrie) Cox, Payson; Crystal (Dale) Howe, Providence; Chad (Abbi) Cox, Alpine; Nate (Michelle) Cox, Fruit Heights; Jon (Ellie) Cox, Holladay; Caytee (Preston) Wankier, Hurricane; mother, Shirley Sudweeks Cox, Centerville; siblings: Brenda (Alan) Bailey, Fountain Green; Doug (Emilie) Cox, Mountain Green; Karen (Mike) Duke, Centerville. His posterity also includes 20 grandchildren.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that you donate to the Neal LaVaun Cox Legacy Scholarship Memorial Fund at Snow College.
Funeral services will be held on Saturday, August 8, 2020, at 10:00 a.m. in the Ephraim Park Cemetery, 650 North Main. Those who attend are asked to bring a lawn chair to the cemetery to enjoy the outdoor funeral proceedings. Friends may call Friday evening from 6-8 p.m. in the Ephraim 5th Ward, 765 South 100 East. Live streaming of the services and online guestbook can be found at www.maglebymortuary.com under Neal’s obituary. Funeral Directors: Magleby Mortuary, Richfield, Salina and Manti.
Neal LaVaun Cox Legacy Scholarship Memorial Fund