Cover photo for James Thomas Cox, III's Obituary
James Thomas Cox, III Profile Photo

James Thomas Cox, III

April 30, 1933 — April 17, 2023

Shaker Heights

James Thomas Cox, III

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James Thomas Cox, III, age 89 of Shaker Hts., OH.  Beloved husband of Ann L. Foreman; dear uncle of 7; son of the late James and Bridget Cox; brother of the late John Cox. 

For more than a half century, Jim Cox, 89, was a fixture in Cleveland media and politics. A native New Yorker who was lured to Northeast Ohio by a newspaper job in Elyria, Jim was an award-winning journalist whose career branched into film production and editing, public relations and political consulting. He was still hoping to work on writing projects when he died on April 17. 

Jim was graduated from the City College of New York in 1956 with a degree in business administration and a commission as an Army infantry officer. He became a paratrooper and Army ranger, and completed jumpmaster and jungle warfare certifications. He served at the DMZ in South Korea after the Korean War. Following the Army, Jim worked as an instructor at the Orange Sport Parachuting Center in Orange, Mass. 

Jim was a lifelong member of the United States Parachute Association, and continued sport parachuting as a hobby until the mid-1980s, about the same time he added another interest to his life – his future wife, Ann Foreman. On an autumn day in 1985, Jim was engrossed in the New York Times (a constant companion) at a coffee shop in Shaker Square. Ann, now a retired educator, was at a table across from Jim’s, working on her thesis. As Ann recalls, “I got up the nerve to say hello, and as I was leaving, he asked me to go with him to a movie that night. We were inseparable after that date.”

Jim and Ann were married in 1986. At the time, his friends were surprised that after so many years of bachelorhood, Jim had found the woman who would turn out to be his loving, lifelong companion. But, why not? Jim was a generous, sincere man with a wide smile, dashing good looks and an air of sophistication that caught Ann’s eye at the coffee shop. The love that developed only grew the rest of their lives. 

Jim and Ann had many friends and did almost everything together. During the recent pandemic they spent hour after enjoyable hour in their Shaker Heights apartment, playing cards and board games, watching movies and reading. It was each other’s company that nourished and sustained their needs for companionship. To their friends, they had a single identity: Jim and Ann. 

For many years they vacationed at Cape May on the New Jersey shore. Jim and Ann also made frequent pilgrimages to Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Canada, for the Shaw Festival. Locally, they would go on “dates” with each other, to restaurants, movies, parks, theaters and museums. Jim and Ann were also gracious hosts. Jim had a bit of theater in himself. When telling a story, his voice would rise, his palm would strike the table and, depending on the story, he would either break into high-pitched laughter or a lower-pitched, pointed comment. Jim did not mask his feelings.

An avid sports fan, Jim had an encyclopedic knowledge of baseball, especially the Brooklyn Dodgers. He had a slight build, but was athletic enough to letter in track at Cardinal Hayes High School in New York. 

Jim grew up on the streets of Manhattan. His father, James Thomas Cox Jr., was a chauffeur for Cole Porter, and his mother, an Irish immigrant, was a maid to the Rockefeller family. Jim had a firsthand look at the American “upstairs-downstairs” culture of rich and poor, leaving him with strong feelings about the inequities of race and class.

While Jim’s college degree was in business administration, it was in college that he fell in love instead with reading and writing. That led to a first reporting job at the (Elyria) Chronicle-Telegram. Jim then joined The Plain Dealer, working his way up from police reporter to general assignment news and feature writer, then onto the plum criminal courts beat. 

In a few years he left The Plain Dealer for a job as night news editor at WJW television, and eventually became the station’s city hall reporter. He had high visibility in the Cleveland media market, where his skillful, no-nonsense political reporting inspired others and gained him wide respect . 

During that time a young man named Tom Beres, a quarter century Jim’s junior, watched Jim’s reports and was inspired. Beres, now retired, became a dean of Cleveland politics reporters at WKYC television. “Jim had all the qualities I would aspire to,” said Beres. Another colleague, the iconoclastic independent journalist, Roldo Bartimole, praised Jim’s doggedness in uncovering uncomfortable facts.  “Jim was tough,” said former U.S. Rep. Mary Rose Oakar, “but always fair.” She  credited him with encouraging her to run for Congress from her seat in Cleveland City Council.

Jim’s career took another swing, this time deeper into politics and film. He formed Jim Cox & Associates, which created and consulted on political campaigns, including for many judges. One of his best-known accomplishments was the founding of Flats Industry Inc. to protect the interests of industries in the Flats in light of new development. He was recognized with awards in both print and broadcast journalism, including an Emmy and an award from the American Bar Association. On the Flats project and others, including pro bono public relations for the Tuskegee Airmen, Jim was often joined by his twin brother, John, now deceased. 

The family prefers that those who wish may make contributions in his name to the American Lung Association, (https://action.lung.org). 

A Funeral Service will be held at 1 PM on Saturday, April 29 at Brown-Forward, 17022 Chagrin Blvd, Shaker Hts., OH.  FRIENDS MAY CALL AT BROWN-FORWARD ON FRIDAY, APRIL 28 FROM 4-7PM.  Interment service will be held at Lake View Cemetery at 2pm after the service.  Feel free to meet at the Mayfield gate before the interment service. 

Past Services

Visitation

Friday, April 28, 2023

4:00 - 7:00 pm (Eastern time)

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Funeral Service

Saturday, April 29, 2023

Starts at 1:00 pm (Eastern time)

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