Billy Joe Cox

Date of Death: April 19, 2019

Rev. Billy J. Cox, 92, passed peacefully in his sleep on April 19, 2019.

He was born in Scott County, Tennessee, on Dec. 19, 1926. His childhood and youth years were in Greenville, Kentucky, where his family was active in Greenville Methodist Church. He was recommended for a local preacher’s license in 1945 by Rev. Nolan, of Woodlawn Church in Owensboro, Kentucky. 

In 1947 he married Velma Marie Davis, his wife of 72 years.  To this union two children were born:  Dwayne Davis Cox, Ph.D. and Ruth Ann Cox Pence, J.D.

He graduated from Kentucky Wesleyan College and Candler School of Theology at Emory University.  In 1982 Union College conferred on him the honorary degree of doctor of divinity.

During his ministerial career, he served as student pastor of churches in the mountains of eastern Kentucky and the mountains of the North Georgia Conference.

In 1954 he was ordained an elder.  Bishop William Watkins signed his certificate.

Dr. J.G. Akin, Owensboro district superintendent, made his first full-time pastoral appointment:  with a stack of 3 x 5 cards on which were written the names of “someone” who might be interested in building a new Methodist church in Owensboro.  Three years later, when the first worship service was held in what is now Wesleyan Heights United Methodist Church, he was the humble and thankful organizer and first pastor of that new church.

In 1957 his appointment was as conference director of youth work, followed by appointments to Hodgenville (land of Lincoln), St. Mark in Louisville, Crescent Hill, Bethany, Campbellsville First Church, and Morganfield First Church.  He participated in two pulpit exchanges in England:  London in 1974 and Cornwall in 1978.

During WWII he volunteered for the Merchant Marines, the Army Infantry and the Air Force.  In 1957 the Methodist Church Commission on Chaplaincy approved his appointment as a chaplain in the Air Force Reserves.  He was always excited about each opportunity to serve.
He served on the Board of Trustees of the old Methodist Evangelical Hospital; the Board of Trustees of Lindsey Wilson College, where he served as secretary and later as chairman of the board; and the Board of Trustees of Union College, where he was still a trustee emeritus.
In the 1970s and ‘80s he hosted on WHAS the radio program “Fifty Seconds Please,” a three-times-daily inspirational message.
He was the author of three books:  “Forty Days on the Mountain” (a Lenten devotional), “Growing up White” and “Journey Through Time.”
Firm in his belief that God loves all his children, he was a champion of human rights, the poor, the helpless and freedom of the right for every individual to choose his lifelong journey.

He retired in 1992.  He was beloved by his wife, his family and his many friends. 

Well done, good and faithful servant.