By MARGARET BLOHM
For the Times-Herald
DEARBORN – James and Kate Cox, both retired United Methodist ministers, brought their special talents to this senior living community when they moved to Beaumont Commons, Dearborn last year.
Born in Detroit and raised in Dearborn, Kate Cox readily recalls the family home that she shared with three brothers and three sisters on Sherwood Court, near Corewell Health Dearborn Hospital, the new name for Beaumont Hospital, Dearborn.
Growing up, Cox learned to play violin, viola, six- and 12-string acoustic guitars, keyboard and handbells as well as sing in the church choir at First United Methodist Church in Dearborn, where her mother, Virginia Maxfield, was the church secretary.
After graduating from Spring Arbor College in Jackson, she attended Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, D.C.
Seminary is where she met James Cox, who was also studying for the ministry following graduation from Youngstown State University in Ohio. Not surprisingly, they shared a love of music.
“As a teen, I was the church organist and played in a Top 40 dance band,” said James Cox, an Ohio native who plays marimba, acoustic and electric guitars, drums and keyboard. Describing the marimba as his favorite instrument and more resonating than the xylophone, Cox said, “It’s a lot like prayer—soothing and prayerful.”
Following their marriage and graduation from seminary, the couple’s pastoral duties took them to serving churches in Ohio, near Cleveland and northeast areas of the state. While they never worked in the same church, their respective churches usually averaged a drive of 20 to 30 minutes from each other.
James Cox proudly described how his wife was able to “break the glass ceiling” when she was assigned to be senior pastor of a United Methodist church in Elyria where she had a staff of 23.
“At that time, the church rarely assigned women as senior pastors of larger churches,” he said. “It was quite an accomplishment.”
In 2005, the couple’s life changed. Kate Cox was severely injured in a rear-end car crash.
“I sustained permanent neurological and orthopedic injuries and had to go on disability,” she said.
In 2015, when James Cox retired, they returned to Michigan and found a home in Trenton, across the street from one of Kate Cox’s brothers. Both enjoyed helping with their niece and nephew.
When Jane Cox could no longer manage stairs, the couple looked for a senior living community that provided all levels of care with the priority that they live close to family – resulting in the move to Beaumont Commons.
“I have no objection to living in ‘Downton Abbey’ without a royal title,” Kate Cox lightheartedly said, describing the move to the Dearborn campus. “Everyone waits on me, and I don’t mind it a bit.”
The move made a difference for James Cox as well.
“Because Kate can’t do stairs, it was harder to get out,” he said. “We were socially isolated. Now we have lots of visitors and all the services we need readily available to be independent.”
They continue to share their love of music — singing in the community’s chorus and at First United Methodist Church. To the delight of residents and staff at Beaumont Commons, James Cox enjoys playing the marimba and guitar for a variety of campus events.
With good humor, Kate Cox revealed how Beaumont Commons helped her check another item off her bucket list.
“I always wanted a walk-in closet,” she said. “Now I have it.”