Harold James Cox, “Flar”… was a gentleman and a gentle man for every moment of his 85 years.
He lived, quite simply, for his wife, his family and his work. And it is through one or more of these paths that he has touched the lives of everyone..
Born of Anthony and Clarice Cox in Torrington NSW in 1922, he was the youngest of three children, with Claude and Hazel, and unlike us who have had the great fortune to know him for 85 years, he lost his own mother when he was just 13. He often said it was his sister Hazel, now deceased, who reared him.
His family had moved to Singleton when Harold was just two, and he began work as soon as his legs could carry him. At 14 and 9 months Harold secured his first job with HJ Bartrops & Sons, having put his age up a month just to get the job – and for 47 years he carried that position, receiving a birthday gift every year on the 9th November, one month before his actual birthday! He never did have the heart to tell them the truth.
World War II came while Harold was with Bartrops, and like many proud young men in the town, he took leave to serve his country. For Harold it was five years, serving most memorably in Borneo, where his battalion came into contact with that of his life long best friend Cliff Lambert. How life can bring friends together even during troubled times.
In the troubled 1940s, his future wife and best friend for life, Beryl George was working at the Cox family milk bar and bakery, CA Cox & Sons, when the town was buzzing with soldiers from the camps. It’s a family favourite story to hear how Claude told Beryl not to bother with any of those soliders – he was saving her for his brother Harold. And sure enough, Harold has told us so many times how the day he walked into that milk bar and saw Beryl was the day he fell in love.
Raising two beautiful girls, Lyn and Sue, Harold – or Flar to his grandchildren – was the cornerstone of a solid and wonderful family. He is survived not only by his wife and children, and their husbands and partners, Phil and Barry, but also by his grandchildren by birth and marriage, Sharon, Tony, Melissa, Kristy, Dan, Brendan and Lauren, and his great grandchild, Byron. He will be so very sadly missed by his family, who he always put first.
Harold began his own business in 1962, HJ and BL Cox Monumental Masons, and in 1970 he purchased Patridge Bros Funeral Directors which he built up, with the help of his son-in-law, Phil, to become the business synonymous with his life. A business which remains with Phil, Lyn and Tony today as they continue on the family tradition.
Through his work, Harold touched the hearts of thousands of bereaved families at the time when they needed help the most. We are all so proud of his life’s work and the grace with which he undertook business.
Business brought Harold some wonderful friends too, including Albert Meissner, who worked with Harold for 24 years and was at his family and Harolds’ side when Harold passed into heaven.
We will all remember Harold for his undying positivity, his 150 per cent days even when he was becoming ill, his grace and his gentle ways, and his love for his work and his family. A pillar of the Singleton community, he was a faithful servant to his country and to the families who needed him during their own grief. And now we grieve for him. But we pray also for his soul which, on the day of his passing, his great-grandson Byron said had turned into an angel.
Thank you Harold James Cox for your great life, love and kindness. May your soul rest in peace.