Robert E. Cox — known as Bob Cox — publisher of the Jefferson Sentinel Newspapers, died June 25 in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
Retired Aurora Sentinel Publisher Harrison Cochran described him as ahead of his times. And Mr. Cox proved to be ahead of his passing by leaving an epitaph on his Facebook:
I have traveled on, and I leave with the knowledge that I will remember each and every one of you as I make my exit. Goodbye to all. Live happy and respectful lives. — Bob Emmett Cox 7/31/38-6/25/21
Mr. Cox grew up in Denver and graduated from East High School. He experienced other parts of the country before returning to Denver, where he finished his career in 1999. He retired in Santa Fe, where he rebuilt an adobe home on the Chama River.
He briefly attended the University of Miami and then studied political science and journalism at CU-Boulder. During his career, he was editor of the Colorado Daily, a correspondent and regional executive at United Press International, politics reporter at the San Diego Union, managing editor at the Colorado Business Magazine, politics writer at the Rocky Mountain News, editor at Weekly Newspaper in Glenwood Springs, and editor of the Green Mountain Gazette. He served as press secretary for Tim Wirth's first U. S. House of Representatives campaign in 1974.
In 1991, he and his wife, Sid O’Connell, purchased the Jefferson County weeklies and formed a partnership with other Denver suburban newspapers. The weeklies covered the western suburbs of Denver including Lakewood, Wheat Ridge and Arvada. The Coxes led their news and advertising teams to win many Colorado Press Association awards and sold the papers in 1999.
Mr. Cox kept a sharp eye on the doings of elected officials, which he expressed in his editorials. He coached his reporters to take the time to dig for information. His editorials pulled no punches but were peppered wit and humor. Former staffers appreciated how he made time for some fun in the high-intensity work of news reporting.
Former Managing Editor Joe Ross said, "Bob was a great person and journalism leader who was always in front of the curve. In the 1990s, he started a daily news fax and then an online product before anyone else in the region. He taught me and others so much about quality journalism."
Cochran said, “Bob Cox was a member of the 'surly malcontents' with the Colorado Press Association making his own brand of 'good trouble.' Somehow Bob managed to combine the cynicism of a grizzled UPI wire reporter with the entrepreneurial fire of small business ownership and the ethics of a lone cowboy.”
Cochran said Mr. Cox continued to seek lively discussions as his “Facebook friends were accustomed to a tirade or quip on any topic at any time but most often poking fun at pompous politicians.”
Former Colorado Community Media Publisher Jerry Healey said, “I found Bob to be very creative and often ahead of his time. But, most of all, I enjoyed his sense of humor, and his contagious laugh.”
Mr. Cox's son, Kennedy Cox, said he has lost his best friend. The father and son enjoyed engaging in musical endeavors — especially guitar — and traveling on the road to have semi-philosophical conversations and spend time together.
In 2017, the dean of the College of Media, Communications and Journalism at CU-Boulder, in an official ceremony, recognized Bob’s life’s accomplishments and retroactively awarded his bachelor's degree in journalism having been a couple of credits short in 1968.
Mr. Cox collected favorite quotes on his Facebook site including: “You never know what worse luck your bad luck has saved you from,” by Cormac McCarthy, and “To be Irish is to know, in the end, the world will break your heart,” by Daniel Patrick Moynihan.
He is survived by his son, Kennedy Cox of Denver; "best friend” and former wife, Sidnie O’Connell of Lakewood; sister Lynn Murphy, Seattle, Washington; niece Amie Servais of Sammamish, Washington; nephew Baxter Baldwin of Scottsdale, Arizona; and several great nieces and nephews. He was at home in hospice care with his family at the time of death in Santa Fe.
Contributions may be made to the The Horse Shelter, Santa Fe, New Mexico; or any nonprofit organization devoted to promoting respectful discourse. Services are to be determined.