Carrol B. Cox, Jr.

July 22, 1930August 10, 2018

Carrol Byron Cox Jr, 88, of Bloomington died Friday, August 10th, 2018 at Luther Oaks in Bloomington. He was born July 22, 1930 in Benton Township, MI, the son of Carrol and Lillian Cox. He was preceded in death by his first wife Jessica (Bowing) Cox. He then married Janice (Peters) Cox on May 10, 1969 in Bloomington. She preceded him in death this year.

Carrol completed his Master of Arts degree at Western Michigan University in 1957. He then served four years in the Air Force during the Korean and Cold War as a cryptographer, where he met his first wife Jessica. They moved to Ann Arbor, MI where Carrol attended the University of Michigan. Carrol received his Doctor of Philosophy degree from the University Michigan in 1964. He was a Milton scholar and published important literary criticism in the December 1987 issue of the journal ‘Milton Studies’. He was a professor in the Illinois State University English department from 1961 to 1997. He was beloved by his students and an early innovator in approaches to teaching English composition.

He and his second wife Janice dedicated their lives to social justice and environmental causes. He was a member of many organizations in Bloomington-Normal, IL beginning with passionate involvement with “US!”, the Red Star Council, New Voice, CISPES (Committee in Solidarity with the People of El Salvador), Students for a Free Palestine, Bloomington Normal Peace and Justice and the League of Revolutionary Struggle and Solidarity. More recently he was an ardent supporter of the Black Lives Matter movement. He raised his daughters at anti-Vietnam war rallies and marches and his son, named after the two Black Panthers, Mark Clark and Fred Hampton, grew up during Carrol’s efforts to support the struggles of the people in Central America against United States Imperialism. All three of his children inherited his deeply principled dedication to social and economic justice.

Carrol is survived by his mother-in-law, Mary Peters of Arthur; three children, Catherine L. (Christopher Witte) Cox of Warrenville; Lillian G. (James Knapp) Cox of Kalamazoo, MI; and Mark H. (Borbala Deak) Cox of New York, NY and his granddaughter, Éva Cox. He is also survived by his brother Earl Cox of Kalamazoo, MI, his sister-in-law Karen (Peters) Shea and Janice’s daughter Heidi (Neff) Andrews along with many nieces, nephews, and cousins.

Carrol’s memorial service will be held this Sunday August 12th, from 3 to 7 p.m. Epiphany Farms Restaurant at 220 E. Front St. Bloomington, IL

Memorial contributions can be made to The Bloom Community School here in BLM-Normal:

Bloom Community School 1100 N. Beech Street Normal, IL 61761


  • Memorial Service Sunday, August 12, 2018

Carrol B. Cox, Jr.

have a memory or condolence to add?

Jim Farmelant

August 12, 2018

I never had the pleasure of meeting Carrol in person but I had known him online for more than twenty years from participating in such discussion lists as LBO-Talk, Marxmail, and Marxism-Thaxis. He taught me and (many others) a good deal about politics and even about literature. (i.e. Milton and Pound). Even at times when I disagreed with him and thought him to be wrong, he'd often turned out to be right just the same. Online, he often came across as being as a bit of a curmudgeon but it was always clear that he had a good heart and a sharp intellect. May he and Jan rest in power

Ron Jacobs

August 12, 2018

Rest in peace, Carrol. Your emails over the years discussing politics were educational and supportive.

Thomas Seay

August 12, 2018

I knew Carrol through our common participation on the LBO-Talk and Aut-op-sy Message Lists. Carrol and I disagreed on many political issues. Almost everything. At times our arguments became acrimonious. In fact, on the rare occasion we agreed, we would chuckle and point it out. Later on, however, we had a few warm exchanges on Facebook. Unlike so many people, he took the time to actually study the ideas of those with whom he disagreed, and I really respected that. It was interesting to read his brief biography here. What a life well-spent! Rest In peace.

Carol Barton

August 12, 2018

Carrol and I were often confused for one another on Milton-L, the scholarly network to which we both belonged and contributed prodigiously at times. After a while, given our frequently divergent perspectives on various topics, the fact that people mistook him for me or me for him became a source of amusement to both of us.

He will be missed.

Rest in peace, "namesake"!

Earlon Sterling

August 12, 2018

I met Carroll at a demonstration on the quad at ISU in 1968. He became a mentor and a friend. He introduced me to Marx, Engles, Fanon, and Achebe; to name just a few. We went to/organized many a demonstration together and bailed me out of jail. When I turned up on his front porch years later emotionally and spiritually and emotionally broken, I had a place to re-group and heal. When my child started Chiddix Junior High, the officials there looked at his race and birthplace and placed him in a remedial reading class Carroll, with the help of Milton and Thomas Harding showed them the folly of their ways.
Carroll Cox was my friend, and I will miss having him in my life.
Rest in power

Horace Jeffery Hodges

August 12, 2018

My condolences to the family. I met Carrol on the Milton List, where he was a prominent, unforgettable voice. He was a phenomenal man in many respects, and could quote much of Milton from memory. He will be missed. RIP, Carrol.

Louis Schwartz

August 12, 2018

I never met Carrol, but I've participated with him in many online discussions over the years on the Milton discussion list, and I'm saddened to hear that he has passed. I will miss his smart, trenchant commentary and his good humor. Best wishes and sincere condolences to his family and his friends. He had a distinctive critical voice, and our discussions on Milton-l will be much less lively and challenging without it.

Ralph Johansen

August 11, 2018

I learned this afternoon of Carrol's passing and I send my sympathies to his family. I was a corespondent on a list where Carrol and I exchanged friendly if sometimes contending views. I'm so sorry that he is gone. I have respected his intelligence and steadfastness in his social and political outlook and opinions through the years. I am ninety-four myself and I am thankful for my good health, given some a-fib; but as Time Magazine's sententious radio voice used to intone in its obituaries, "As must to all men..."

Joe Catron

August 11, 2018

While I never had the opportunity to meet Carrol in person, I'll always remember the liveliness of our online exchanges and his eagerness to share ideas.

Requiescat in pace.

James Heartfield

August 11, 2018

I’m very sorry I never met Carroll, though in the early days of the Left Internet he was a feisty champion of social justice, anti-imperialism and critical thinking. Argumentative he was, but always intelligent and challenging. I miss him already, and those who were close to him must bear a great loss. Still, what a life.