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Kenneth "Ken" Cox '59 November 16, 2020 11:45 AM updated: November 17, 2020 1:58 PM

Kenneth Gene Cox
June 15, 1937 - November 13, 2020

Kenneth Gene Cox, beloved husband, father, grandfather, and friend passed away peacefully November 13, 2020, in Abilene, Texas, at age 83.

A celebration of life service will be held on November 19th at 10:00 am in the Auditorium at the Highland Church of Christ under the direction of Piersall Funeral Directors (733 Butternut St., Abilene, Texas 79602).

Ken was born on June 15, 1937, in Kilgore, Texas to Ward and Roger Nell Cox and was raised in Paris, Texas. Ken was an only child and was fortunate to spend substantial time with his Aunt Katherine and Uncle Leon Howard during his youth. He learned the importance of work ethic from his parents at their bakery and later at their Cox Furniture Store.

Ken graduated from Paris High School in 1955 and went off to college at Texas A&M University. While there, he was proud to participate in the Corps of Cadets, where he served his senior year as Executive Officer. As an underclassman, he worked as a manager for the Texas A&M football team under Paul “Bear” Bryant. His final year, he was elected Yell Leader, a position that earned him letterman status. His time in College Station ended when he graduated in 1960 with degrees in English and Business. Even after his graduation, his love of A&M never dwindled.

After graduation, Ken served as an officer in the Quartermaster unit of the Second Armored Division of the US Army at Fort Hood where he earned the Army Commendation Medal. He loved his time in the military, which had a profound influence on his life, but he made the decision to move to a career in sales.

Ken started with Aetna in San Antonio, working all over South Texas. It was during this time that Ken met the love of his life, Gayle Bankerd, and they married a few years later. Soon after, Ken and Gayle moved to Corpus Christi and Ken transitioned to work as a stockbroker, which remained his professional passion for the rest of his working life.

Ken and Gayle soon celebrated the birth of their first child, Shannon. Five years later, the family grew with the birth of their son, Bryan. Ken was an active parent for both of his children. He never missed a game, competition, or performance, and he and Gayle were always their number one fans. Ken and Shannon shared a love of world travel and fishing. They spent many Saturdays fishing together. In Bryan, he instilled his passions for storytelling and Texas A&M football. The two attended many games over the years.

Ken and Gayle lived a beautiful life together. In addition to spending time with their children and then grandchildren, they loved to travel and shared many adventures with each other. They routinely went with friends to dinner and a movie as well as Saturday morning breakfasts at Kiko’s or Andy’s.

Outside of his family life and career, Ken was a busy community volunteer. He and Gayle were longtime members of the Weber Road Church of Christ in Corpus Christi, where he served as a member of the welcome committee, taught classes, and sometimes preached at evening services. He also volunteered for the local PBS station and the Seamen’s Association.

Ken’s service to Texas A&M also continued throughout his adult life, with tenure as President of the Corpus Christi A&M club and Campfire Speaker for his son’s Fish Camp, Camp Thomas. One of his favorite moments was being surprised with Gayle the honor of Texas A&M “Parents of the Year” in 1998.

Ken was an amazing “Papaw” for his four grandchildren. His memory lives on in them through Emily’s compassion, Julia’s competitive spirit, Carson’s love of college football, and Caroline’s comedic talent.

Ken was preceded in death by his parents, Ward and Roger Nell Cox and his Aunt and Uncle, Leon and Katherine Howard. He is survived by his wife of 53 years Gayle, daughter Shannon and her husband Kyle of Abilene; Bryan and his wife Mary Beth of Fort Worth; and grandchildren Emily, Julia, Carson, and Caroline Cox.

Memorials may be made to the American Diabetes Association or the American Heart Association. Memories of Ken and condolences may be offered to the family online at

Funeral Service
Thursday, November 19, 2020 at 10:00 AM
Highland Church of Christ
425 Highland Ave
Abilene, TX 79605

Graveside Service
Thursday, November 19, 2020 at 1:00 PM
Texas State Veterans Cemetery of Abilene
7457 W Lake Road
Abilene, TX 79601

© Copyright 2007 - 20 Piersall Funeral Directors. All Rights Reserved.

Kenneth Cox, 83 of Abilene, passed away at his home on Friday, November 13, 2020.

Arrangments are pending with Piersall Funeral Directors, 733 Butternut St.

© Copyright 2007 - 20 Piersall Funeral Directors. All Rights Reserved.

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