October 4, 2018 11:15 AM, EDT

Former ATA Chairman Ernest Cox Dies at 89

Ernest Stedman Cox, a former American Trucking Associations chairman and prominent figure in the industry, died Oct. 1. He was 89.

Ernest Cox


Known as “Ernie” to friends and family, Cox was born Aug. 1, 1929, in Wilmington, N.C. He grew up in Tabor City, N.C., and earned a bachelor’s of science in chemistry from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He attended graduate school for transportation management at the University of Tennessee, where he met his future wife, Georgianna Seal Cox, with whom he had three children. Last month, the couple celebrated their 65th anniversary.

Cox built an illustrious career in trucking. He started with Caterpillar in Springfield, Ill., and was a long-serving president of Moss Trucking Co. From 1983 to 1984, he served as ATA’s chairman.

To commemorate his work in advancing the transportation industry and his service to the state, then North Carolina Gov. Jim Hunt gave him The Order of the Long Leaf Pine award in 1984. Cox retired when he was 80.

“Ernie was a man of the utmost integrity and character,” said Phil Byrd, ATA chairman from 2013 to 2014 and a longtime friend. “He was a loving father and husband. He was a man that brought value to his community, to the companies he worked for and for the trucking industry at large. He was somebody that you wanted to emulate and somebody that you were proud to call a mentor. Ernie Cox really was a giant of the industry in his time.”

Cox is survived by his wife, their children Dianne Cox Boyd, Louise Cox Dixon and Jim Stedman Cox; sons-in-law Randy Boyd and Stern Dixon; daughter-in-law Payge Pinson Cox; and six grandchildren.

Memorial contributions can be made to Denver Lake Norman Rotary Foundation and Florence S. Shanklin Branch Library in Denver, N.C.