William A. Cox Dies

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The late William A. Cox

Architect, Civil Engineer, Member of BWI Class of ‘59

The death is announced of Mr. William A. Cox, a prominent Liberian architect and civil engineer, which sad occurred on Monday, January 4, 2021 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States of America.  He was in his 87th year.

Mr. Cox was born in Harper, Cape Palmas, Maryland County on March 3, 1934 to the union of Mr. William Aquila Cox, Sr. and his wife, Mrs. Comfort Greenfield Cox. 

William obtained his primary education in Harper, Cape Palmas, before entering the Booker Washington Institute (BWI) in 1956.  There he studied Drafting, graduating in 1959.

He later departed for West Germany, where he qualified in Architectural and Civil Engineering and returned to Liberia in the early 1970s.

Upon his return, he and his eldest brother, J. Lamarck Cox, a 1956 BWI graduate, started a construction and transport company.  William’s key role in the firm was the erection of a three-story building near Gaye Town on Sinkor Old Road which, upon completion in the early 1970s was immediately leased by the Liberia Institute for Public Administration (IPA), which occupied the building as its national quarters for over two decades. Called the Cox Building, it is now an apartment complex.    

William Cox in the late 1980s won a contract to erect annexes for the Ministry of Finance during the administration of Finance Minister G. Alvin Jones.  William also did construction works around the Public Works Ministry in the 1980s and early 1990s. 

A patriotic Liberian, Mr. Cox insisted on living in Liberia most of his life. During the war years in the 1990s he constructed and paved several streets in Monrovia, some of which he did free of charge.  He also assisted many Liberians in seeking asylum in Ghana, Ivory Coast and Nigeria. 

A staunch Methodist who got his religious beginnings at his mother church, Mount Scott United Methodist in Harper, Cape Palmas, Mr. Cox spent much of his adult life as a member of the Tubman United Methodist Church in Paynesville.  There he contributed his engineering skills to construction works at this church, which is situated on A.B. Tolbert/Du Port Road.   

Mr. Cox was twice married, first to Mrs. Annie Smith Cox and they were blessed with five children, two sons and three daughters.  He later married Maude D. Cox and to this union three children were born.

In all Mr. Cox fathered nine children: Mrs. Julietta Cox Kandakai (Prince), Mrs. Williametta Cox-Cooper (Rev. James N. Cooper), Mrs. Comfort Cox Dennis, William A. Cox, Jr., Alvin P. Cox,  Melvin J. Cox, Ciana J. Cox, Williette A. Cox and Dan A. Cox.  There are two step children, Geraldine and Calvin Ward.

William was passionate about giving back.  This led him to grant scholarships to many needy students in various elementary and secondary schools and even at the university.

William Cox joined his many BWI  classmates of the Class of ’59 in erecting a beautiful monument to the memory of Mr. R. Vanjah Richards on the BWI campus in 2009, the class’ 50th anniversary of graduation.  Mr. Richards taught the Class of 59 Arts and Crafts during their freshman orientation in 1956. As an architect himself, William assisted in the designing of the monument, which was done by the Chief of the Architectural Department at Public Works, Kenneth Awadji.

William was one of the 19 members of the Class of ’59 who hailed from Maryland County.  Among the other Marylanders in the class were Joseph Dagher, Daniel Ellington Milton, Anthony George, Robert Phillips, Mansfield Yancy, James “Big” Kwia, Nathaniel Williams, Phillip Cheneken and Robert and Winston Tubman. 

Other classmates included Cyrus and Richelieu Dennis, Stanley and Marie Stewart, Elijah Taylor, Leonard Bailey, Harwene Peter Tyee, Jerry Sauser, Sneh Gurley and Kenneth Best.   According to son Melvin Cox, funeral arrangements for William A. Cox will be announced later.

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