Obituary for Joseph Brinson Cox Jr. of Pinehurst

Joseph Brinson (Joe) Cox, Jr., age 72, of Pinehurst, NC, passed away June 26, 2021 at the UNC Health Hospice Center in Pittsboro, NC surrounded by loving family. Joe fought a long and valiant battle with multiple myeloma. Joe was born in Norfolk, Virginia on September 6, 1948 to Joseph Brinson Cox, Sr. and Joyce Robbins Cox. Joe is survived by his wife, Shannon Drake Cox, of Pinehurst, NC; son Jon Sayer and his wife Peggy, of Charlotte, NC; son Tim Sayer, of Southern Pines, NC; brother Robbie Cox and his wife Catherine, of Raleigh NC and their two children, Will Cox, of Raleigh, NC and Martha Cox Whitesides and her husband Tucker, of Wilmington, NC; and aunt and uncle Peggy Cox Roberts and husband Gene Roberts, of Plymouth, NC. Joe was predeceased by his parents Brinson and Joyce Cox.

Joe graduated from J.H. Rose High School in Greenville, NC in 1966. He then obtained his undergraduate degree from Duke University in 1970. Joe received his law degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1976 and was admitted to the North Carolina Bar. Prior to law school, Joe served his country as a Lieutenant in the United States Navy and was a Vietnam War veteran. He was in the US Navy Reserves for a number of years.

Joe was a brilliant student and became a talented trial attorney specializing in complex class action litigation. He worked as a liaison attorney for the US Justice Department while in the Navy and became involved in asbestos litigation, which led to a highly successful career in litigation and trial consulting. He practiced as a Partner with the Ness, Motley, Loadholt and Rice firm in Charleston, SC and with his brother in the Cox and Cox LLP firm in Raleigh, NC. Joe worked with lawyers and judges throughout the country and was highly respected for his knowledge and ability. He enjoyed his work, his peers on both sides of an issue and being a member of the International Academy of Trial Lawyers.

Outside of work, Joe enjoyed traveling, in particular to New York, Paris, Ireland, the Bahamas and the North Carolina coast. Among a number of things, Joe loved a good round of golf with friends on a great course, good food, the annual family Christmas Eve dinners at Second Empire in Raleigh, a full glass of Beaucastel or Far Niente red wine and a nice slice of homemade chocolate pound cake, not necessarily in that order. More than anything Joe was an over-the-top Duke basketball fan, attending innumerable games with family and friends in Cameron, at ACC tournaments and at Final Fours. He never understood how anyone could support a team that wore light blue.

Friends meant the world to Joe. His Greenville high school buddies, his Theta Chi brothers at Duke, his fellow US Navy officers, his Charleston guys (particularly David Lyle, Andy Burley and Steve Regan) and all of the attorneys through the years who also became close friends were an exceptional part of Joe’s life, and for that, he was very thankful. A special relationship with the Baldwin family of Marshall Texas blurred the line between friends and family for both Joe and Shannon. Scotty Baldwin and his wife Cody were like second parents to Joe and welcomed Shannon knowing how much she meant to him. Scotty was the best man at their wedding. Sons Scott, Jr. and Jack were like brothers. Joe and the Baldwins tried and settled cases together, traveled together, ate together and, yes, disagreed on occasion. Their unique relationship was and remains a huge part of Joe’s and Shannon’s life.

Family meant even more to Joe. He took the sometimes troubling family lessons from the early years and was determined to create a better family life wherever he went. Joe helped support and raise two young boys, Jon and Tim, and was very proud of the successful men they became. Joe spent great times with his brother Robbie and his family, always asking about Catherine, Will and Martha, and together attending Duke basketball and football games. Joe and Robbie had a special bond all the way back to childhood where Joe even taught his then 3-year-old brother how to hit a baseball left-handed.

The absolute best years of Joe’s life were spent with Shannon and her family. Joe and Shannon were married on May 31, 2003 in Pass Christian, Mississippi with friends and family in attendance to help with the celebration. It was the happiest day of Joe’s life. During their time together Shannon provided Joe with the love, support, compassion and with the extended family for which he longed. She was and is his biggest cheerleader and the Drake family gatherings always being a thing to behold. With Shannon the glass is not just half full, it is overflowing. The entire Drake family opened their arms and hearts to Joe and he did likewise in return. Joe was especially close to his nephews and nieces from the Drake family. He was always ready with the latest about Morgan, Evan, Miles, Jillian and Zach and loved their time together. They meant so much to him.

We will miss Joe terribly but he will remain with us forever. We are thankful for the time we had together and for all he meant to so many friends and family members.

A Memorial Service and Celebration of Joe’s life will be held on Thursday July 8th, 2021 at 3:00 pm at Emmanuel Episcopal Church, 350 E Massachusetts Avenue, Southern Pines, NC.  A reception will follow in the Parish Hall. There will be no graveside service to follow.

In lieu of flowers, a donation may be made in Joe’s memory to the Food Bank of Eastern North Carolina or to a charity of your choice.

Funeral arrangements are entrusted to Boles Funeral Homes and Crematory of Southern Pines, NC.

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