Joyce Shirley Unck Cox, 91, passed away peacefully on March 18, 2020. She was born March 7, 1929, in Ogden, UT, the youngest of eight children born to Dutch immigrants Wander Unck and Jannetje Sophia Schouten. She married Marion B. (Marty) Cox in the Salt Lake Temple on June 18, 1947 and is survived by their six sons and two daughters: Wayne (Vickie), Paul (Dolly), Diane (Wes McBride), Gary (Carolee), Jana (Steve Chisholm), Dale (Kerrie), Dwight (Lauri), and Jonathan (Holly). Her 45 grandchildren and 89 great-grandchildren (and counting) adored her. She was always so happy to see them. She had a wonderful sense of humor. She was a faithful member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, living her religion as well as anyone. Her life of service exemplified her love and testimony of her Savior Jesus Christ. She was always cheerful and kind. Mom was always very grateful for and loving to all those who cared for her at Chancellor Gardens. Due to COVID-19 concerns, a private family graveside service was held Mar 21, 2020 in Hooper, UT. A memorial service will be held when conditions allow.
March 21, 2020
Tribute to our Mother
Our amazing mother, Joyce Shirley Unck Cox is on to her next adventure on the other side of the veil. Her marriage to Marty Cox produced 8 children—2 girls and 6 boys. Over the years, with marriages and births, her posterity has grown to include daughters- and sons-in-law, 45 grandchildren and 89 great-grandchildren…and counting.
Life was fast-paced in Mom’s growing household. Preparing meals and after-school snacks was practically a full-time job, let alone dealing with homework, chores, and extra-curricular activities for all. We often reminisce about her macaroni and cheese, her hot chocolate, her caramel corn, her peach cobbler, her potato salad, and her homemade bread and jam and grape jelly. Through it all, in mom’s own way, she made us each feel special and unique. She had a talent for making things “all better” when we had our own difficulties, whether it was a PB&J sandwich or a well-timed hug, wrapping us up in her arms and apron. And she did it all with no car for the first 20 years. It was nothing short of a miracle.
Mom was a pillar of sunshine, hope and strength to us when she could be, even amidst some of the challenges she faced. She could make anyone she ever encountered smile and laugh. Our friends thought she was the funnest. We were proud she was our Mom. In later years, the CNAs would gather in her room on their breaks just to hang out with her. Everyone on staff at Chancellor Gardens loved her – they constantly referred to her as their favorite. Even when she was tired and not feeling too well, she could make them laugh. She thrived on being with other people; they brought out the best in her, and she in them. She was always grateful and gracious with everyone.
Mom loved to party with us kids when the opportunity arose. Oftentimes it was board games or card games with homemade pizza and popcorn. Or perhaps comedies on the black & white TV and late bedtimes. Memories of her eating the best home-popped popcorn with a needle are legendary. Watching her stab a popped kernel and get it to her mouth without stabbing herself was pretty cool. And a little scary. That is undoubtedly where we got our hand/eye coordination.
During her 30 years of service in the Primary, mom was everyone’s favorite teacher. She must have taught every kid in the ward at one time or another. And all the girls wanted to be at girls’ camp when she was there.
Mom was also the delayed caboose of 8 children and was thus a “princess” at home and the sweetheart of her old Dutch dad. His Joycie or his “lelijke aap,” as he loved to call her, has come back to him. Both of her parents emigrated from Holland and her Dutch heritage ran deep. Her collection of Delft Blue Porcelain and Dutch memorabilia was admired and treasured by us all.
And now looking back, to watch her iron shirts by hand or on her Ironrite was a sight to see; she was so fast. She knew where every single thing was in a too-small, cluttered house. She could catalog shop by mail or S&H Green Stamps with the best of them. She taught some of us to reconcile a checking account and use an adding machine. Mom sewed clothes, painted and wall papered rooms, and made curtains. She involved us in many projects and taught us as she went.
As a young housewife of the 50’s and 60’s she wore pedal pusher pants, floral house dresses and muumuus. Mom loved to plant and grow things. The rocks didn’t grow well in the rock garden, but her succulents, tulips, irises, roses and a tomato plant or two did well. Later in life, she loved indoor plants: orchids & Easter lilies and of course, tulips.
Mom had her own set of individual talents. Her handiwork with knitting and crocheting was fabulous. Even at the very end, with hands bent and broken with age, she could still crochet a beautiful blanket.
Her 45 grandchildren responded to her just like everyone else. They all adored her. They loved being around her, giggling with her, and growing up loved by her every step of the way. Most little kids are pretty scared of approaching a “great-Grandma,” a really old person, but over the years we’ve watched as many of mom’s 89 great grandkid’s eyes would light up when they saw her. She was so magnetic and charming they couldn’t help but love her too. Mom always had a freezer full of Creamies and a tin full of pink peppermint candies to sweeten them (and us!) up.
Mom loved to visit her posterity whenever the opportunity arose, and while she was able, enjoyed trips to several parts of the country. One of her dreams was to get back to Holland, the old country, to see the land of her heritage and see the tulip glory. But since her health was not up to a transatlantic trip, she found other ways to connect with her Dutch heritage. She enjoyed the Tulip Festival at Thanksgiving Point and the Dutch Gardens and windmill at Golden Gate State Park in San Francisco. And to her absolute delight, two of her granddaughters took her to Holland…Michigan. She saw a mini-Holland and tulips as far as the eye could see. She was thrilled and grateful.
We all had the chance to spend some time with mom during her last days on earth. We cried as the reality of her life’s conclusion became apparent. It’s hard to say they were sad tears, because we are very happy for her. She will not miss the aches and pains her old body was sharing with her. But they were not tears of joy either. No one can be happy to have their mom pass away.
At the end of the day, they were tears of love. Sometimes expressed, sometimes not, they reflect our deep love for her. Our mom was tender hearted and was there for us. She taught us and protected us and shielded us the best way she knew how. We love her very much and are so glad she is our mom. We are happy she is now in a better place.
Diane and Jana visited Mom late on her last day. In turn, told her they loved her and kissed her goodbye, and she was gone. It was perfect, really, exactly as she wanted. She passed away as she wished, looking beautiful, her brow smooth and worry free, hair brushed and in place.
We will miss her and for certain life won’t be the same without our Mom, but our lives are better because of Mom. We love you!
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