Jim Cox was a brilliant shooter, a stand-up guy and a damn good friend.
– Mike Watkiss, KTVK reporter
February 20, 1970 – July 27, 2007
Jim Cox–our son, brother, and friend–lived an all-too brief life, dying on July 27, 2007 in a mid-air media helicopter collision over Phoenix. (Also killed in the accident was Jim’s good friend and colleague, Scott Bowerbank). While he was only 37 when he died, Jim’s life was happy, full and jam-packed with adventure and fun. He ran “full throttle” all of the time, and accomplished twice as much as most people do in an entire lifetime.
Jimmy to his family, or Cox to his co-workers, was born in Kingston, New York, but spent most of his childhood in Huntington, Long Island. While he loved his adopted state of Arizona, he was a true New Yorker, through and through. After graduating from Huntington High School, Jim moved out to the southwest to attend Arizona State. He took advantage of his new environment from the very beginning; going to the Grand Canyon; skiing outside of Flagstaff; or driving over to California or another neighboring state for the weekend. Whenever his family called him, during college, he seemed to be on another road trip. They often wondered if he attended classes or if the diploma he received on graduation was actually real. He did and it was. That was just Jimmy for you–he could do it all and have a lot of fun doing it.
After college, Jim worked for the Arizona Cardinals before going to work for KTVK, Channel 3. He loved his job there and the people he worked with–and they loved him. Reporters knew that Jim was a perfectionist and that their work would be even better because of his creativity and professionalism. They also loved working with him because he was a great, nice guy and very, very funny–a “nut” as some have said. His colleague and friend Steve Bodinet commented: “We all like to laugh and that’s why we all wanted to work with Jimmy.”
This video represents Jimmy at work – and a little bit of his personality. Although the eye rolling is just a joke (we hope!), Jimmy was not one to suffer fools gladly. He worked like he lived: passionately and at full speed. If you could not keep up with him, or acted like a diva, he let you know it, in his funny, yet forthright way. While he may be hamming it up for the camera in this video, woe to those who did not live up to his high expectations!
Besides work, Jim was passionate and talented at so many other things. He spent years, for instance, renovating his home in a historic district of Phoenix. Every nail, every board, was lovingly placed by him–and all by code! But that was not too unusual, as Jimmy could build, fix, take apart and then put back together just about anything–cars, motorcycles, sailboats, you name it. As his friends have joked, Jimmy was the second “MacGyver”. Jim was also extremely athletic, becoming proficient at numerous sports: skiing, sailing and golf to name a few.
But Jim’s true passion was his family. As he stated on his MySpace page, his parents were his heroes–a feeling, which was, and is, reciprocated by them. He also adored his sisters, Leslie and Jenny, and his nieces and nephew. Natalie, Emily and Nate always looked forward to getting together with their “Uncle Dude”.
Jim will be dearly missed by everyone who knew him. It is hard to imagine a world without this funny, intense, passionate “ball of energy”. If anything can be gained from this terrible tragedy, perhaps it is the lesson that we should all try to live life like Jimmy–passionately and with conviction. That would make him smile.