Claire Elizabeth [Leonard] Cox, a longtime resident of Short Hills, died peacefully on Saturday, February 17, after a long illness. She was 91. Claire was preceded in death by her loving husband of 52 years, Joseph A. Cox, M.D.; her parents, George T. and Gertrude M. Leonard; and her brother, Robert J. Leonard.
Claire was surrounded by loved ones at the time of her passing. She leaves behind a son, Joseph A. Cox, M.D. (Helga), Jeanne C. Zepp (Kevin), Robert F. Cox (Linda), and Kathleen L. Kasper (Kenneth). Claire also leaves behind a brother, George F. Leonard; a sister-in-law, Mary Leonard; six grandchildren (Christopher J. Cox [Amanda]; Megan E. and Erin J. Zepp; and Allison C., Brian E. [Becca], and Colleen E. Kasper); three great grandchildren (Avery and Adaline Cox and Benjamin Kasper); and numerous nieces and nephews. Through her sons’ marriages, Claire gained a treasured family of grandchildren (Dawn, Ingrid, Kristen, Holly, and Sunny) and great grandchildren (Victoria, Max, Delilah, Claudia, August, and Johnny).
Claire was born on a snowy Election Day in New York, NY, causing the family doctor to travel by trolley to her parents’ home for the delivery. Her family later moved to Glen Cove, NY, where she graduated from Glen Cove High School. Her passion for helping others prompted her to study nursing at Lenox Hill School of Nursing and join the United States Cadet Nurse Corps. Claire was the recipient of the Dr. Walter Galland gold medal for outstanding nursing and, upon graduation, entered the field of surgical nursing at Lenox Hill Hospital. She volunteered for many years with the Visiting Nurses Association in Millburn, NJ and kept her nursing license active until a few years before her illness. An advocate of lifelong learning, Claire took numerous adult education courses at Millburn High School and studied for and passed the NJ real estate licensing exam.
A parishioner and communicant of St. Rose of Lima Parish in Short Hills since 1964, Claire was active in the Ladies’ Auxiliary, the Life-Lighters Club, and the Women of Bethany and volunteered in the library at St. Rose of Lima School for many years. She was an active member of, and held numerous leadership positions in, the Catholic Women’s Club and was a longtime member of the Serra Club of the Oranges.
Claire possessed boundless energy and an indomitable spirit. Yet, she was above all things a loving wife, daughter, sister, mother, and grandmother who always put her family first. Still, there was no charitable deed she left undone or worthy cause she did not support. She leaves behind a rich legacy of faith, hope, love, and service and a lasting impression on all who knew and loved her.
A visitation will be held from 2:30 to 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, February 20, 2018 at Bradley, Smith & Smith Funeral Home, 415 Morris Avenue, Springfield, New Jersey 07081. A Mass of Christian Burial will be 11:00 a.m. on Wednesday, February 21, 2018 at St. Rose of Lima Church, 50 Short Hills Ave., Short Hills, New Jersey 07078. An entombment will follow in the parish mausoleum. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made in her honor to Immaculate Conception Seminary, 400 South Orange Avenue, South Orange, NJ 07079