L.V. Cox is a man who doesn’t like a lot of fanfare, so the approximately 60 who gathered at First United Methodist Church of Alcoa on Nov. 28 were greeted with humility and gratitude. Friends, relatives and community members gathered at the church to celebrate the retired grocery store manager’s 80th birthday.
Bo Henry, Sr., of Maryville said he met Cox in high school and has known Cox for more than 60 years. “He married Martha Elder, whose family owned a grocery store in downtown Maryville. After they closed, L.V. went to work with the A&P grocery store in downtown Maryville,” he said.
The A&P moved to Hall Road in Alcoa, and then to where the Blount County Public Library is now. With each move, Cox was manager. “L.V. got to know just about everybody in Blount County through being active in the grocery business,” Henry said.
Buddy Allen of Maryville said Cox has been in the community a long time. “He’s just been an icon around here for years.”
Steve Frana of Maryville said everyone in Blount County seems to know Cox, from either his days working in the grocery business or when he worked at the Atlanta Bready Company restaurant and later when it was reopened as Look Rock Bakery.
“Sen. Lamar Alexander, when he would come to town, he would go by (Atlanta Bread) to look him up,” Frana said.
Frana moved to Blount County in 2001. When he first came, Frana was staying a hotel in the Springbrook Corporate Center beside Atlanta Bread Company, and he went to the restaurant each morning for coffee and conversation with Cox. “He became my encyclopedia of Blount County,” Frana said. “When I needed to know about getting things accomplished here, or who I needed to see about this or that, L.V. was the person I went to.”
Frana said he has never heard anyone say anything negative about the Greenback resident. He said Cox always seems to be positive. “I’ve never heard him say a bad word about anyone,” Frana said. “He doesn’t gossip; he’s not into that. He’s very charitable. He will literally give you the shirt off his back.”
Henry said Cox is well thought of and very likeable. “I’ve never heard him say an unkind word about anyone. I’ve never heard him complain about his lot in life, even as he’s gotten sick lately,” Henry said. “He’s a very kind person and made everybody’s life he’s touched better.”
Allen said Cox is friendly to everybody even though sometimes his friends give him a good-natured hard time about his political views. “Most of his friends are Republicans, and he’s a Democrat,” Allen said. “Everybody rides him, and he takes it.”
His sister Mary Sue Tipton of Maryville said Cox is her only brother. “He has just always been there for all of us. We could always depend on him. I think, in the business he was in, he was always fair and treated everybody very respectfully, and everybody loved him,” she said.
Tipton said Cox was born on Thanksgiving Day to L.V. Cox, Sr., and Addie Cox of the Bungalow Community. “He had seven sisters, and he was the only boy. He had a rough time,” she said with a laugh.