Community mourns activist/architect Dave Cox

By Steve Smith - Staff Writer
Glastonbury - posted Sat., Aug. 20, 2011
Flowers were left on the fountain to mourn the life of architect and activist Dave Cox, at a memorial service held there Aug. 18. Photos by Steve Smith.
Flowers were left on the fountain to mourn the life of architect and activist Dave Cox, at a memorial service held there Aug. 18. Photos by Steve Smith.

About 160 people gathered around the fountain at the corner of Hebron Avenue and Main Street on the afternoon of Aug. 18 to honor architect and community activist Dave Cox, who died at his home of a heart attack on July 10.

The location of the memorial was especially fitting, as the fountain green was not only a favorite place to visit of Cox's, but also one of several local landmarks that Cox had designed. Cox was also the director of the Town Center Initiative, and a highly-active member of the Glastonbury Rotary and the Glastonbury Chamber of Commerce.

Those in attendence were also there to comfort Cox's wife, Emma, and offer condolences to her, and the rest of his family.

State Rep. Jason Rojas (D-9th) presented a citation in memorium from the CT General Assembly.

“Certainly, in our line of work, we often depend on people like Mr. Cox to help us do our jobs, to help us be better legislators,” Rojas said. “It's just amazing, the impact that he's had on this community.”

Lisbeth Becker, chair of Glastonbury's Public Building Commission, said Cox was very active in that commission, and one of its most knowledgable members.

“He was always very knowledgable and dedicated,” she said. “If you look around town – in most of the school and other buildings – you will see Dave's name. In some way or form, he has touched those buildings. That was his passion – to make sure we built things and we did it right.”

“Dave will always be remembered for his passion and love for our town, and for his unyeilding commitment to improving it, and to truly making it the best,” said Town Council Chair Susan Karp. “He had the history, the interest, the talent, and the love to dream big for all of us, and to work hard on every step at the time.”

“We all learned so much from Dave Cox,” said Dan Schnaidt, Board of Education member. “Dave was kind, smart, capable and amazingly generous. He did so much for so many groups and so many people in this town.”

“I have countless memories of Dave,” said Joe Jaconetta, member of the Chamber of Commerce's Board of Directors, as well as the Rotary. “What do I remember most about Dave? First and foremost, his smile. That smile has brought many gifts to the town of Glastonbury.”

John Lord, representing the Glastonbury Rotary, said Cox was instrumental in many projects, including the Glastonbury Rotary Playground at Addison Park, and the concession stand at Glastonbury High School's turf field.

“I'll never forget him taking out a napkin and drawing a rough sketch of what would eventually be that building,” Lord said. “He was excited about that project because when he was a senior in high school, he designed the original concession stand, and he was very proud of that.”

Jim Bennett, the director of the Historical Society of Glastonbury, said Cox befriended him soon after taking on that position.

“He loved this town more than anybody,” Bennett said. “He didn't just love the buildings, he also loved the people. He loved the spaces, the farms, the nature around us, and he was willing to give himself to it on a daily basis.”

Bennett said Cox's generostiy was unmatched.

“I thought about all of the pro bono work Dave has done for us, and for the town of Glastonbury,” Bennett said. “If he had gotten paid for all of that, he'd be a rich man. Then, I look out and see all of the people here, who love him and respect him, and he was a rich man.”

Upon his passing, Cox continued to improve others' lives.

Pam McGee, representing Life Choice Donor Services, said she did not know Cox, nor did the two people who'd received Cox's corneas.

“These two recipients consider David Cox an unsung hero,” she said. “Today, two people who did not know David are able to see, to grocery shop, to live a life with sight, because Emma said yes to donation.”

Emma said she had first met Dave on May 17, 2003, in the West Indies.

“I knew at that moment that we would at least be friends,” she said, describing their courtship as a “whirlwind.” She said that her life with Cox was intertwined with the Glastonbury calendar, as her wedding was scheduled around the Apple Harvest Festival, and the births of her three sons were “predicted according to the Farmers' Almanac.”

“David was a tremendously warm, loving husband, who shone as a father,” she said. “He loved his life with his sons, proudly showing Glastonbury life to them. Over time, you will see Asa, Sasha and Tyas grow into the American men David wanted them to be, and I hope they will carry on their father's unending caring nature towards people and places.”

A memorial fund had been established for Cox's wife, Emma and their three young sons, Asa, Sasha, and Tyas: The David Cox Memorial Fund, Attention Barry Callahan, First Niagra Bank, 2510 Main Street, Glastonbury CT 06033.

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