Sunday, June 30, 2013

Dale Cox, Jr. 1921 - 2013

Here's Dale on June 2, 2013, promoting his two books "Tango Trajectory" and "Top Secret Flight" at the El Segundo Library Book Fair.

I'd like to write about the Dale we all knew at the South Bay Writers Workshop, less formally known as "Thurs. Writers."  First of all, he was always on time.  He was orderly and carried a cardboard box marked "Writers" in which he carried file folders and a thermos of hot coffee, probably a holdover from his Navy days.

He was meticulous in his writing; working and re-working a piece until it suited him and he knew how well-pleased we were via our critiques. 

He had a great sense of humor and his "Sea Stories" were packed with it.  Not a lot of people would find naval duty in the Pacific during WW2 a barrel of laughs, but he found the telling little human bits and shared them with us to our delight.

One afternoon, before we got started, some of the members were playing the dozens about how poor they were as children.  Dale won hands down when he said, "We were so poor, we went barefoot all year around.  In winter, we had to wrap our feet in barbed wire for traction" which brought down the house. 

He could also do inadvertantly funny.  Here's an example that still makes me smile every time I think of it.  I had written a script about a pair of gay guys; one much older than the other and the ensuing problems they encountered.  After I read a scene of particularly inventive hostility between them, Dale said clearly puzzled, "Why can't they just find a pair of nice gals and settle down?"

I probably wouldn't be able to consider him a romantic.  He told us the story of how he proposed to his wife of 67 years.  It was wartime; all the men around him were getting married so he thought he would as well.  Going to the base pay phone, he called Patricia and said, "Would you like to marry me?  Make up your mind fast; this is my last quarter."

Incidentally,  Patricia should be given equal credit in the Bravery Department.  Husband a wartime ship commander and then post-war, a test pilot.  She was at home with four little boys.  Not a particularly serene and worry-free life and she is to be highly commended for coming out of all that with sangfroid  and dignity intact.

Godspeed, Dale.  Richie and I send our condolences to Patricia and the family. 

Read more about Dale at: or or click on his name at

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