Ernest Fred Cox, 85, of Weatherford, passed away Saturday, May 31, 2014. Ernest, who preferred his middle name, Fred, was born Dec. 9, 1928, in Fall Branch, Tennessee, to Susie Keefauver and William J. Cox.
Fred joined the Tennessee State Guard in high school during World War II. He was drafted into the U.S. Army during the Korean Conflict and attained the rank of Corporal.
He begin his secondary education at East Tennessee State University and Spartan college in Tulsa, Oklahoma and learned to be an aviation mechanic. He earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Texas and a master’s degree at Southern Methodist University. He was a member of Tau Beta Pi and the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics.
Mr. Cox worked as an aeronautical engineer for General Dynamics as Senior Engineering Specialist at the Structure Test Laboratory. He was inducted into the General Dynamics/Lockheed Hall of Fame before his retirement in 1990. Says one of his honorary plaques: “Among the innovative projects for which he led the design, setup, and operation were the B-58 full airframe fatigue test; F-111 cold proof tests; FB-111A full airframe fatigue test; F-16A and F-16C airframe static test; and F-16A and F-16C airframe durability test.” Fred was also instrumental in designing and developing a load cell, of which more than 1,200 “Fred Cox” load cells were in use at the company in addition to those at other aerospace companies.
Fred and his late wife, Elaine, were members of First Baptist Church in Weatherford. Together they attended the Aledo Pioneers Square Dance Club. Fred was a licensed private pilot at Parker County Airport and his family very much enjoyed adventures in the sky. Fred also loved do-it-yourself projects, such as adding to their house a fireplace with chimney and an indoor basement and bedroom. In his youth, he enjoyed skiing. He was well known for his ability to diagnose and repair inside and outside of the family. He had a fondness for cats and dry humor.