Justin B. “Jack” Cox, long-time editor-in-chief of EAA Sport Aviation magazine, passed away Sunday, March 6, at Randolph Hospital in Asheboro, N.C. During his career at EAA, Cox was known as “the” spokesman for the homebuilt aircraft and sport aviation communities. His articles and features highlighted the remarkable growth and innovation of amateur-built aircraft for three decades, while as an editor he expanded EAA’s editorial scope to include all facets of recreational aviation.
Cox joined the EAA staff in 1970 when he and his wife, Golda, moved from North Carolina to Wisconsin at the invitation of Paul Poberezny. In 1972, he was named editor-in-chief of Sport Aviation, a position he held until his retirement in 1999. During his tenure, Golda was his partner on the magazine, serving in the role of managing editor.
Cox was born in Seagrove, N.C., in January 1934 and grew up enamored with aviation, building model airplanes and reading everything available on aviation. Blessed with adventurous parents, the late Justin Cox and Ruth Cox Garner, he had many airplane rides as a child. After graduating from college and beginning a teaching career, he began taking flight instruction and soloed a J-3 Cub at Air Harbor in Greensboro, North Carolina, in April 1956.
Following a tour of duty in the U.S. Navy, he returned to teaching in North Carolina and met Golda in the summer of 1958. They were married the following December. The couple bought their first airplane, a J-3 Cub, in the early 1960s. It would be followed by a succession of planes, including a Piper Tri Pacer, Aeronca Champ, Luscombe 8A, Bellanca Cruisair, Cessna 150, a Piper Comanche they owned for 35 years and an Ercoupe 415C. Cox logged more than 3,350 hours in 137 different makes and models of aircraft.
At his request, there will be no funeral or memorial services. Memorial donations may be made to the Randolph Cancer Center (P.O. Box 1048, Asheboro, NC 27204) or the Randolph Public Library (Attention: Mae Auman, 201 Worth Street, Asheboro, NC 27203).