Hardin Charles Cox, Jr. was born in Rock Port, Missouri on March 4, 1928. He was one of two sons of Hardin Charles Cox Sr. and Frieda Anna (Stapel) Cox.
Hardin graduated from Rock Port High School in 1945 and entered the University of Missouri in Columbia. He played football for the Tigers and played in two bowl games, the Cotton Bowl and the Gator Bowl.
Hardin served in the United States Army from 1946 -1948, then returned to M.U. to finish his degree. He was a member of the Sigma Chi fraternity and two honor societies, Omicron Delta Kappa (ODK) and Q.E.B.H.
He married Virginia A. “Ginny” (Heifner) in January of 1952 in Maryville, Missouri.
Hardin was called up from the Army Reserves to active duty and was sent to Korea in 1952. One of his assignments during the Korean War was serving as a front line observer near enemy lines. After Hardin returned from the Korean War he and Ginny settled in Rock Port and raised two boys, Bryan and Mark.
He was the President of Farmer’s Mutual Insurance Co. and was owner of Cox & Son Insurance Co. in Rock Port. He was elected to and served in the Missouri House of Representatives from 1965 to 1975, and elected to two terms in the Missouri Senate serving from 1975 to 1983. He served as Assistant Majority Floor Leader in the Senate, and chaired both the Ways and Means and the Banking Committees. Later he served one term as Presiding County Commissioner of Atchison County.
He was a columnist for the Atchison County Mail for over 20 years. His “Cox’s Conglomerations” won a Missouri Press Association award for Best Personal Column.
Among his many legislative accomplishments was sponsoring legislation founding the Missouri Tourism Commission. Years later the Commission honored him by naming the Visitors Center on Interstate 29 for him.
Hardin and his late wife Virginia, were long time members of the First Christian Church in Rock Port, where he enjoyed occasionally giving sermons. In the late 1950s he founded the Christmas-time God and Man Services, an ecumenical celebration that continues to this day. Hardin’s insurance and real estate office, located on Rock Port’s Main Street, allowed him to keep up with all community happenings. He was a lifelong sports fan, and followed the Rock Port Blue Jays and the Missouri Tigers.
Ginny passed away on Easter Sunday, April 8, 2012. Hardin passed away in Rock Port on March 8, 2013. Hardin is survived by their sons and daughters-in-law, Bryan and Rita of McLean, Virginia and Mark and Sandra of Olathe, Kansas; six grandchildren, Beth, Charlie, Eve, and Hardy Cox, Ryan MacFarlane, and Erin and her husband Jeisun Lawson; brother and sister-in-law, John Henry and Claire Cox of Kansas City; and nieces and nephews, Richard Foster, and John, Jim and Fran Cox.
He was also preceded in death by his parents; brother-in-law, Lowell “Buddy” Heifner; sister-in-law, Frances Foster; brother-in-law, E.W. Foster, and niece, Candace Foster-Hasis.
Family requests in lieu of flowers, contributions to the First Christian Church, 501 S. Market St., Rock Port, MO 64482.
Services were held Wednesday, March 13, 2013, at 11:00 am at the Atchison County Memorial Building at 417 S. Main St. in Rock Port.