Southern Utah News Articles
2020 Womanhood Awardrecipient - Myrna Cox
Mryna Cox was honored at the 2020 Kanab Women’s Forum with the Womanhood Award. Following is the nomination from her daughter.
By Linsey Glover
Myrna Louise Spencer Cox was born to Alta and Ferrill Spencer in September 1943. Being the oldest of eight children, she had many opportunities to nurture her younger siblings. She grew up in Glendale, Utah, where she enjoyed music, the outdoors, writing poems, cheerleading, and would often be found in the leading role of community and school musicals.
Myrna has always been a collector; rather than stamps or rocks though, her collection is made up of people. She is always on the lookout for new, unique people to bring into her heart and home where she makes them feel special and beautiful. Her official people collecting began when she and her high school sweetheart, Bill Cox, wed in 1961 and they started a family. She always wanted a dozen kids and ended up with 10 of her own; however she had a hand in raising many, many more.
She has always been fascinated with Native American culture. Over the years she fostered a handful of Navajo kids who she brought in for extended periods of time and loved them as her own; finding beauty in the traditions they brought with them.
Oftentimes, the people she is drawn to are the broken, sad, lonely, hungry, hurting or those who aren’t sure where to go in life. She bears an unparalleled capacity to genuinely love them and help them feel beautiful and valued.
Myrna and Bill’s posterity is something to be reckoned with. Her 10 children gave her 44 more people to add to her collection and those children added 22 more. There were never 66 more handsome boys and beautiful girls to have ever been born, in the eyes of their grandma.
A frequent occurrence at Myrna’s house is what she calls Grandma night where she invites her grandkids (and neighbor kids) over for parties. Her expertise ranges from hat making, to powwows, to dress-up photo shoots, to star gazing, and beyond. Her adult grandkids have fond memories of these nights. You would think old age would slow her down; but not Myrna. A few years ago she started up Grandma School where the great-grandkids have been able to build bonds with this special lady.
For decades Myrna has graced the pages of the Southern Utah News with her poems, short stories and photography skills. Before that she had a column in the Spectrum called “Family Fun and Nonsense” where she shared the honest, simple events of farm life and child rearing in a humorous way. Smiles have been brought to many faces through her gift of writing.
Cowboy poetry has been one her specialties for many years and of course she has collected more friends on her journey to hone in her craft. Some of her cowboy poetry was recognized nationally a few years back.
Her love of country, and especially the men and women in uniform, runs deep in her veins. Many touching poems and songs have crossed her notepad to honor those who protect our freedoms. She draws inspiration from her dad, brothers, nephews, sons, friends and others who have served our country.
The 4th of July and Veteran’s Day are more than just a special day to celebrate. To Myrna, weeks, even months, are dedicated each year to organize the perfect 4th of July parades and parties. Hours and hours are spent each fall seeking out veterans from near and far to honor and pay tribute in a way only Myrna can pull off. You would be hard pressed to find a more patriotic person than her.
When her family was young, she worked as a waitress; more to collect people than tips. She was in her element, meeting people from all over the world and all walks of life. It was not uncommon for her to call home at the end of a shift and say to her kids, “All hotel rooms are full. Someone put clean sheets on your bed. I’m bringing home a family from Germany to spend the night. Oh, and we’ll feed them breakfast in the morning.” This happened too many times to count. No thought of danger, only the thought that someone was in a bind and she could be the means of helping.
Countless skits, musicals, Christmas programs, road shows and class plays have been written and directed at the hand of Myrna. Her talents extend beyond the scripts to costume production and scenery. Those who have worked with her know that she sees the potential inside everyone and has a knack for helping people find their inner performer. Not only that, but she can also persuade the most unlikely people to take a special role.
Last fall, Bill and Myrna were honored at the Kane County Fair as Grand Marshals; people who have lived exemplary lives and have contributed to the community in a positive way for many years.
Myrna worked as a physical therapy assistant for many years. Again, she crossed paths with people that would touch her heart and she would unofficially adopt them. Before that, she was famous for her back rubs. After a little training, she was a sought after masseuse. With this new gift, she made house calls and even showed up on people’s doorsteps if she knew they needed her healing hands; always as an act of service, never for money. That’s her way.
Much of Myrna’s prose and songs have come into fruition with the intent to brighten and bring a smile. However, she has also healed the hearts of many suffering from the loss of a child or spouse with her words and song. Her empathy is genuine and endless, and she never hesitates to cry with them. Ironically, the darkest hours of the night when she is mourning for those she cares about is when her inspiration often comes.
If you have never received a plate of hot cinnamon rolls, a back rub, a poem, or photo from Myrna, it is only a matter of time. She simply hasn’t met you yet. All who cross her path will be collected.