Tributes have been paid to Canon Gerald Cox, who has died at the age of 80 after serving parishes throughout the Diocese of Middlesbrough across five decades.
Canon Gerry was born in Hull on July 11 1934, the son of Albert and Catherine and brother of Peter and John. At St Vincent’s Primary School he was a classmate of another future priest of the Diocese, Father Brian Nicholson.
After completing his secondary education at the Marist College, he graduated from Hull University in Mathematics. After a one-year preparation course at Campion House, Osterley, he studied for the priesthood at St Cuthbert’s Seminary in Ushaw, County Durham, from 1957 to 1963.
Canon Gerry was ordained to the priesthood in St Vincent’s Church, Hull, on June 9 1963 and took up his first curacy in St Aelred’s, in York. In 1965, he was seconded to the junior seminary of St Michael’s, Underley Hall, Lancashire before continuing his teaching at St Joseph’s Seminary, Upholland, also in Lancashire.
He returned to the Diocese in 1979 as Parish Priest of St Joseph’s, Middlesbrough, where he remained for nine years, before moving to the Parish of St John of Beverley. In 2001, he replaced retiring Auxiliary Bishop Kevin O’Brien at St Charles Borromeo, in Hull.
Canon Gerry’s final placement was from 2005 to 2011 at Our Lady of Perpetual Succour, Market Weighton, before retiring from active ministry to live in Hull.
However, he continued to support the local parishes and priests, notably St Anthony and Our Lady of Mercy Parish during the sickness of the late Father Norman Jacobson.
Along with many years of dedicated parish ministry, Canon Gerry’s Diocesan roles included Schools Commissioner, Dean, Vocations Director and Episcopal Vicar for the south of the Diocese. He was also instrumental in securing the present site for the Hull University Catholic Chaplaincy.
“Those who assisted him as curates were often challenged by his Yorkshire directness, but valued and appreciated his priestly example of generous and zealous service to those entrusted to his care,” said the Diocese of Middlesbrough’s Vicar General, The Very Reverend Monsignor Gerard Robinson.
“They will especially recall his quiet and unassuming outreach to those on the margins of society.
“The Diocese owes a debt of gratitude to the Cox family for providing us with a loyal shepherd and assures them of our prayerful sympathy at this time.
“We should also recognise the care of his brothers Peter and John over the most recent times and especially the care shown by Peter’s wife, Pam, to Gerry in the twilight of his life.”
Canon Gerry, who died on Monday February 23, will be received into St Vincent’s, Hull, on Sunday March 8 at 4pm, and his Funeral Mass will take place at St Charles Borromeo in Hull at noon on Monday March 9.