Seal Harbor -- Friends and family mourn the passing of T.A. (Tom) Cox, at his home in Seal Harbor, Maine, Feb. 28, 2019, aged 85.
Born in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, he spent his youth in Fort Smith, Arkansas, and received his bachelor’s degree in Asiatic Studies (with a degree in Asian art) from the University of Oklahoma. He subsequently was commissioned as an officer in the U.S. Navy and served in the Western Pacific on the USS Taussig (DD-746) in the years following the end of the Korean War. After military service, he began a distinguished career in personal financial investment, initially at The Bankers Trust Company, and then in his own New York-based firm. For five decades he was a private trustee and financial adviser for families in the U.S., Europe, Latin America, and Asia.
Tom began summering on Mount Desert Island, Maine in the 1960s, first acquiring land on Sutton’s Island, and eventually purchasing his beloved home “Fir Lee.” Semi-retirement brought him to Maine full-time, and in his last decades he was a year-round resident of Seal Harbor. A generous yet understated philanthropist, Tom focused his energies on the conservation of Maine’s natural beauty. Thanks to him, much of Sutton’s Island is today under conservation easement. When the Maine Coast Heritage Trust alerted him that land on Mount Desert was threatened with development, he purchased it and donated it to Bar Harbor’s College of the Atlantic (of which he had been a Trustee) as The Cox Protectorate. Tom was also an early donor to what today is The Land & Garden Preserve. Other recipients of his largess range from The Friends of Acadia, the Metropolitan Opera, and Old Westbury Gardens, to principals of elementary and high schools in Maine, to whom Tom quietly supplied discretionary funding for students’ personal needs.
Apart from his generosity, grieving friends fondly remember Tom’s dry wit, voracious reading habits, passion for fine wines, and enthusiastic and eclectic art collecting, in which his tastes ranged from classical Asian and pre-Columbian art to the contemporary sculptures of Dame Elisabeth Frink and Marzia Colonna and the paintings of his friend Richard Estes. He was a member of the Union Club in New York and The Harbor Club in Seal Harbor. He is survived by his sister Betty Ann (Cox) Wonderly, his brother-in-law Chuck Wonderly, nephew Scott Wonderly and niece Cristi (Wonderly) McCarty.
An event in honor of Tom’s life-well-lived will be announced for Summer 2019 in Maine.
Memorial donations may be made to The College of the Atlantic, 105 Eden St., Bar Harbor, ME 04609.
Arrangements in care of Jordan-Fernald, 1139 Main St., Mt. Desert, ME .
Condolences may be expressed at www.jordanfernald.com