Ms. J. Elizabeth L. Cox, Former Assemblywoman and Activist Passes Away
Summit, N.J.-J. Elizabeth L. Cox,. Chairman of the Summit Republican Committee for 13 years and former State Assemblywoman from 1971-1972 passed away Thursday, December 27, 2012 at St. Barnabas Hospital in Livingston, New Jersey from complications brought on by pneumonia. She was 85.
Union County Republican Chairman Phil Morin issured the following statement on Ms. Cox’s passing: “Betty has held more positions in the Republican organizations in Summit, Union County and the State Republican Party than probably any Republican in Union County. Betty devoted her life to our Republican party. Her knowledge of party history and parliamentary procedure had no equal. She will be missed by all, and her legacy will live on through the countless number of Republican political leaders, officials, volunteers and supporters she counceled and advised.”
In her political career, Ms. Cox worked tirelessly to advance the rights and interests of women and the elderly and promoted civil rights and other civic causes from within the Republican Party. She was a women’s rights activist all her life and founder of the Union County Women’s Political Caucus and the National Statewide for New Jersey Women’s Political Caucus. Ms. Cox led the work which resulted in the creation of the New Jersey Division of Women.
Ms. Cox is the daughter of the late William H. D. Cox, founder of the Newark law firm of Cox and Walburg and the late Josenia Elizabeth Larter, a camouflage artist for the U. S. Navy during World War 1, and is sister of the late William H. D. Cox, Jr., an airline captain with United Airlines and World War II veteran. Ms. Cox is a direct descendant of Robert Treat, founder of the City of Newark. She is survived by her two nephews, David W. Cox, and Jeffrey L. Cox as well as her two great-nieces, Elizabeth Cox and Karla Cox.
Ms. Cox was born and raised in Short Hills, NJ. She received a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Romance Languages and Political Science from the University of Vermont in 1949, and spent the summer of 1949 abroad in a foreign study program on the “Marshall Plan in Action,” In 1952, she received a Masters’s Degree in International Orgainizations at New York University and went on to earn all the credits for a PhD in the same subject. She later received her Master’s in Library Sciences from Pratt Institute. Ms. Cox travelled extensively in the United States, Mexico, Central and South America, and in Europe and loved exploring and learning about different cultures.
She began her early career in journalism, working from 1952 to 1957 as an information analyst for the Free Europe Committee in New York, and moved from there to various other jobs in journalism, before eventually working in New Jersey State government. Ms. Cox served as a member of New Jersey’s General Assembly in 1971, as Alternate Delegate to three Republican National Conventions and as a member of the Union County Republican Committee and the Summit Republican City Committee. In 1994, Ms. Cox founded New Jersey Research and Information Services, where she worked until her passing.
In additions to her contributions to the Republican Party and her other work on behalf of women and seniors, Ms. Cox successfully lobbied for reinstituting a halfway house for women alcoholics in Union County and for funding for rape crisis counseling centers; published English and Spanish editions of an annual resource directory for the women of Union County; planned and gave various seminars on women’s issues including employment, aging, child care, and the special needs of Hispanic women; periodically checked on the status of women inmates and women correction officers in the Union County Jail; and researched and drafted the first-in-the nation comprehensive bibliography on domestic violence. She was Vice Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Summit Free Public Library, and a member of the Rent Commission of the Substandard Housing Board, and Chair of the Civil Rights Commission, where she advocated for affirmative action.