Willie Herman Cox, 64, of Columbia passed away June 6, 2019, at Cancer Treatment Center of America in Tulsa, Oklahoma, after a battle with stage 4 pancreatic cancer.

A visitation will be held from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, June 15, 2019, at Mizzou Arena in Columbia. A homegoing celebration will begin at 1 p.m., with the Rev. Clyde Ruffin officiating.

A second visitation will be from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. June 22, 2019, at Rising Star Baptist Church in Oakdale, Louisiana. A homegoing celebration will begin at 1 p.m., with the Rev. Dale Sanders Jr. officiating.

Interment will be at Melder Cemetery in Rapides Parish, Louisiana.

Willie was born Jan. 25, 1955, in Moscow, Tennessee, to Jonsie and Lorener (Thurston) Cox. He married Juanita Hayes on June 18, 1983, in Harvey, Illinois.

He graduated from Thornton Township High School in Harvey, Illinois, and went on to attend Benedictine College. Willie then transferred to Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois, where he played baseball while receiving his Bachelor of Science in physical education.

Willie was loved by everyone! He had a long history of coaching and assisting students. He was a student counselor and coached high school, college and AAU basketball during his career.

His career includes women’s head coach at Peoria High School, where the girls went to state finals and later held national titles; four years at Loyola (Chicago) as the assistant men’s basketball coach; and assistant coach at Bradley University under Dick Versace.

The highlight of his career was his 16 years as the assistant coach under Robin Pingeton. He was the assistant coach under her at Illinois State University for seven years and then at the University of Missouri for his last nine seasons, with the last four as the team director of recruiting. He helped the Tigers achieve six consecutive winning seasons.

He is survived by his wife, Juanita Cox of Columbia; children, Cassandra Allison (David) of Oakdale, Louisiana, Alandrea Cox of Columbia, Tamara Francis (Brian) of Dallas, Texas, and Anissa Cox (Charles Shird II) of Columbia; brothers, John Thurston (Doris) of Sedalia, Ronald Macon of St. Louis and Joseph Macon (Shirley) of Lakeland, Florida; sisters, Beatrice McClarin of Calumet City, Illinois, Lillian Hinton of Sparta, Wisconsin, Dorothy Cox of Harvey, Illinois, Thelma Saulsberry (Lawrence) of Harvey, Illinois, and Vernita Bryant (Charlie), Charlotte Miller and Alesia Neal, all of Chicago, Illinois; grandchildren, Brian Francis II, Charlston Shird, Chanceton Shird, Charles Shird III, Kellen Todd, Marquis Marks and Bernard Marks; brothers-in-law, August Hayes Jr. (Glenda), Samuel Hayes Sr. (Loradell) of Houston, Texas, and Calvin Hayes (Ann) of Peoria, Illinois; sisters-in-law, Ruby Hinton (Emmett) of Peoria and Barbara Bradford and Augustine Todd, both of Oakdale, Louisiana.

Arrangements are under the direction of Parker-Millard Funeral Service and Crematory; 12 E. Ash St., Columbia, MO 65203; (573) 449-4153.

Condolences may be left online for the family at www.ParkerMillard.com.

Recommended for you

Join the conversation

When posting comments, please follow our community guidelines:
• Login with a social account on WorldTable.
• Don't use obscene, profane or vulgar language or engage in personal attacks.
• Stay on topic. Don’t hijack a forum to talk about something else or to post spam.
• Abuse of the community could result in being banned.
• Comments on our website and social media may be published in our newspaper or on our website.