“If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.” The Dalai Lama
Had Marilyn Cox been born in this century, instead of the 1940’s, her life might have been quite different. Her first year in school was in Highland, a two-room country school which was later consolidated with the Olathe schools.
She was the youngest of seven girls, who were raised on a hog farm in Olathe.
Marilyn married Harvey Cox, whom she had met in the sixth grade, after she graduated high school. She had three scholarships offered, and regrets that she didn’t attend college. “I always wanted to be a teacher – loved English so that is no doubt what I would have majored in. I was fortunate to be a school secretary – got my “kid fix” and knew all the kids in school instead of just my classroom, so it all worked out great.”
Marilyn Cox was always interested in community news writing. “I had the best 8th grade teacher, She really inspired me. That was a good incentive for me to start writing.”
She started with the Ash Mesa News in the early ‘60s. She didn’t have a typewriter and would write the local news with a pencil and paper. She’d put her children in a stroller and go into town and deliver her news story.
She donated a cabin from the farm to the Montrose Historical Museum in 1978. “When I saw the museum it got me excited about the history of Montrose.” She started working there in 1984.
They had the newspapers from 1896 to 1940. People would come wanting help with genealogy, she said.
“I really got hooked looking at the papers all the time. I’d sit there and jot down notes of things that interested me. I knew how to get around those papers pretty well and what was in which one. So that was a big thing.”
She wrote articles on new items that came into museum. “There was one doctor from Delta and they brought in his instruments. So I did more research on this man and where he came from and one thing lead to another.
‘My volunteers were just amazing. They just knew everything. We would sit down and have coffee and I always had a paper and pencil there, and took down notes. The stories just bounced off the wall.”
In 1996 she began writing a column called “A Step Back in Time” for a new newspaper called The Montrose Morning Sun and continues it in the Montrose Daily Press.
She is the co-author of a book called “Montrose, Take a Closer Look.”
Cox describes herself as compassionate. “It’s just in my blood. I like to take care of people.” And animals, too; she’s the person her friends leave their dogs with. “It’s just the kind of person I am. My parents were like that. They did so much for their neighbors, went to every funeral. And when people didn’t have something, they made sure they did.”
Her husband, Harvey, died in 2007, at age 67. They had four children, including son Doug, daughters Pam, Cindy and Laurie, plus eight grandkids and 19 great-grandkids.
Marilyn Cox, in addition to her writing and museum work, has always had a full-time job. She worked as a secretary for 21.5 years at Columbine Junior High; three years at the Montrose Visitors Center; and director of the Historic Museum for 21.5 years.
She really likes to travel. In fact, she went to Alaska last summer, and plans to visit Vancouver, B.C. this summer. Cox has also journeyed to Scotland, England, and Paris. “It’s really broadening. I wish we’d been able to do that when the kids were little. You can read about it but if you don’t see it it doesn’t soak in.”