Barbara Ann Cox was one of the first female linemen in Missouri

Thursday, November 7, 2013 | 11:19 a.m. CST

COLUMBIA — When Judy Manginella was seven, she remembered her cousin, Barbara Ann Cox, riding home on her lap when she was about one day old.

Both of their families lived in San Diego at the time because Manginella's father and Ms. Cox's father worked in the Navy, and they felt it was a beautiful place to live.

"I was an only child, and this was my first new little family member," Manginella said. She lived down the street from me and we were siblings, sort of."

Barbara Ann Cox of Columbia died Oct. 16, 2013. She was 59.

She was born March 24, 1954, in San Diego, to James Buford and Yvonne (Maddox) Cox.

At the age of five, Ms. Cox moved to Salisbury, Mo., with her parents because they felt it would be more wholesome to live in a country town, and their whole extended family lived there. 

"They wanted to get back to their roots," Manginella said.

The cousins would often meet up during the summer, and Manginella's family would drive all the way to Missouri from their home in California to stay on their grandmother's farm. Manginella's father would bring his boat when the family drove to Missouri, and the cousins would water-ski down the Missouri River.

"Nothing like going down the Missouri River and avoiding logs or bodies and cows," Manginella joked. "There is a lot of strange things that flows in the Missouri River."

Ms. Cox was one of the very first female telephone linemen in Missouri, Manginella said. She would climb up telephone poles and repair the phone lines. Often, she would get "a lot of grief from the guys," Manginella said.

"She was on the cutting edge of feminism," she said. "And she was a little tiny thing, an itsy-bitsy thing, but she was a tough little tiny girl."

Ms. Cox was about 5 feet tall and weighed 90 pounds. Manginella said that Ms. Cox proved someone didn't need to be a big man to be a telephone lineman.

Ms. Cox is survived by two cousins, Sherry Moning and her husband, David, and Judy Manginella and her husband, Mike.

Her parents, James Buford and Yvonne Cox, and her brother, Gary Cox, died earlier.

Graveside service will be held at 1 p.m. Friday at the Asbury Cemetery near Glasgow .

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