A former Senator and Superintendent of Maryland County, Dr. James Lamark Cox, Sr., affectionately called ‘Jimmy’ or ‘Bor Jim,’ has died in Monrovia at the age of 85. Mr. Cox received his secondary education at the Booker Washington Institute High School, Kakata, Margibi County, from where he graduated in 1956. His classmates included Bennie D. Warner, Edwin Karmo, James Hall, Patrick Gboba, Edward Valentine, Farcuma Sirleaf, Melvin Thornes and Leroy Nyanquoi Porte. Mr. Cox, Sr., later traveled to the United States of America in pursuit of advanced degrees to serve the urgent needs of his country. He attended Howard University in Washington, D.C., where he earned a Bachelor of Science (BSc) Degree in Economics (1960). In 1962, he obtained the Master of Science (MSc) in Labor Economics from the New York University, New York.
He returned to Liberia immediately after earning his MSc and commenced public service in 1963 as a Technical Assistant to the Secretary of Agriculture. In the same year, Cox was appointed Director of the erstwhile Bureau of Labor and Social Statistics at the Department of Agriculture and Commerce, now the Ministry of Agriculture.
By dint of his professional ethics and personal commitment to excellence, he quickly rose through the ranks to become Assistant Secretary of Labor in 1964; and, in 1972, Assistant Director-General of Action for Development and Progress (ADP), Ministry of Rural Development, now Department of Rural Development and Community Services, Ministry of Public Works.
In 1997, Maryland County, through the Proportional Representation system, selected Dr. Cox, Sr. as Senator on the Liberia Action Party ticket. His presence in the Senate propelled him to national prominence as a voice of reason and a champion of peace.
During his tenure as Senator, he served as Minority Leader and chairman of the Standing Committee on Public Works, spearheading initiatives in the areas of agriculture, business and economic development, governance, and education. He became a mentor to many of his fellow Lawmakers, as he was respected for his ingenuity, humility, erudition and knowledge of the inter-workings of business and government institutions.
From 1977 to 1980, he served as Superintendent of Maryland County. His unwavering resolve to improve the county’s infrastructure and model a positive influence expressed his character as a principled and effective leader. Dr. Cox worked relentlessly to open roads, repair schools and buildings, and implemented new construction projects and stimulated employment through agricultural production. He promoted the philosophy that all citizens have a duty to work together and invest in building a secure future for the next generation.
In order to foster community progress and inspire a shared stake in the common good, he made regular visits to the most remote areas, called public meetings, listened to citizens’ concerns, and worked closely with chiefs, elders, other leaders, especially women and youth leaders, and the people at large to bring Marylanders from all four districts of the county together. His visionary leadership, practicality and democratic approach to governing revolutionized Maryland County, inspiring confidence and ushering in a bright dawn of hope, until the military coup d’état of 1980.
Marylanders remember him today as an extraordinary and selfless public servant whose distinguished record of achievements remains unmatched in his exceptional ability to advance the people of his county and country.
The mortal remains of Honorable James Lamark Cox, Sr. will be removed from the Samuel A. Stryker Funeral Parlors in Sinkor, Monrovia on Friday, August 18, 2017 at 5 p.m. and transferred to the Alzetta Prout Memorial Prayer Chapel, snapper Hill, Ashmun Street for one night of wake-keeping commencing at 6 p.m.
On Saturday August 19, 2017, at 10 a.m., funeral rites over the remains of the late Honorable James Lamark Cox, Sr. will be said at the First United Methodist Church on Ashmun Street to be followed thereafter by interment at the Cox Farm in Gardnersville, adjacent to the Monrovia Transit Authority Headquarters, Montserrado County.
Survivors include a son, a brother, Mr. William Aquila Cox, and many relatives and friends.