Shirley Segraves Cox
November 28, 1933 – December 14, 2020
Shirley Segraves Cox or “Nana” as most of us know her, was welcomed into the loving arms of her Lord and Savior on December 14, 2020.
Shirley was born on November 28th, 1933, to Ernest Clinton and Nora Ellen Segraves in Oklahoma City. As the sixth of seven children, she grew up in a home that was the hub of all neighborhood activity. Born at the height of the Great Depression, she learned at an early age about hard work and adversity and the importance of humor and service. Shirley graduated from Classen High School in 1951 and began working to support herself the very next day. During this time, she was introduced to the love of her life, Gerald Lee Cox. Gerald and Shirley were married on August 31, 1956 and remained so until his death 49 years later. Shirley worked at OG&E for seven years before celebrating the birth of their first child, Christi, in 1960, and their second child, Barry, in 1963.
As Gerald began building his career in engineering and construction, Shirley unwaveringly supported him and raised their children. Throughout this time, Shirley also lovingly cared for her parents, nursing her mother for years until she passed away and serving as caretaker to her father’s home until his death. In 1969, the Cox family moved to a home Gerald designed for them in Edmond, Oklahoma, and Shirley remained living there until her death, 51 years later. This home carried Gerald and Shirley from the ages of parenting, to late adulthood and right into precious times with grandchildren and great- grandchildren.
Shirley was spunky, competitive, loving, hilarious and most notably generous to all who knew her. She was a person who changed people’s lives simply by noticing and contributing to anyone, whether it was the couple seated next to her at IHOP or anonymous contributions to help others. Shirley made friends with everyone she met and very often remained friends with them for years to come. She wrote handwritten notes and cards to people regularly and even received Christmas cards from the server at Hardees for over 30 years. Shirley took care of people, was an excellent listener and offered wise and sound advice. In her later years, she spoke on the phone with friends of all ages, ranging from the new young couple next door to her childhood buddies. Shirley had a special way of making sure the people she met knew they were loved by her and by Jesus, and because of it, she collected friends throughout her life.
Shirley enjoyed traveling with girlfriends and visited places like England, Germany, Austria, Thailand and Japan. Before he passed away, she and Gerald enjoyed regular trips to Las Vegas and went on cruises in the Caribbean and Alaska. Even as she aged, Shirley was known to try new things. She loved to cook and made meals for family, friends and neighbors. She picked up tap dancing in her 60’s, played tennis until her 70’s and enjoyed a mean game of bridge. As a lover of Sooner football and an avid listener of the Sports Animal, she could talk sports with the best of them. As Shirley grew older, she embraced life as we know it, texting her grandchildren, creating a Facebook account, talking on her iPhone and watching Rachel Ray each morning. She was not afraid of technology and could frequently be found googling information for her friends. When a question arose, her friends often joked, “call Shirley, Shirley will know or she will find out!” She loved life and was admired for her dedication to changing and growing with it.
Shirley will be missed by many, but most notably by her family. She was a loving mother who ran a tight ship, teaching Christi and Barry the importance of responsibility, integrity and generosity. She adored her role as grandmother and doted on all of her grandchildren: Blair, Andy, Baylor, and Lee. They enjoyed sleepovers at Nana and Papa’s, trips to the zoo, the Omniplex, Hafer Park and dinners at Ted’s Escondido, where the servers knew Nana and Papa’s order as “the Cox Special.” As they grew up, each grandchild frequently stopped by to visit Nana and catch her up on their lives, take her dinner and, of course, receive a little gas money. Nana was an involved grandparent and enjoyed daily phone conversations with Blair about the day-to-day happenings in her life. Shirley’s ornery side seemed to lessen through generations until ultimately reappearing in full force through great-granddaughter, Liv Jones, whom she adored. In her last days, she was thrilled to meet her new great-grandson, Rory Jones, born September 25th, 2020.
She had an infectious laugh, a surprising sense of humor and the gift of looking at all of life’s challenges in a positive light. Her unwavering faith in Jesus Christ provided a strength and a confidence for not only herself, but also for those who loved her.
Shirley was preceded in death by her husband, Gerald Cox; her parents, Ernest and Nora Segraves; her brothers, Buddy (Ernest) Segraves, James Segraves, Eddie Segraves and Chester Perry; and her sister, Kathleen Jones. She is survived by her brother Milton Segraves; her son, Barry Cox and wife Angela, grandsons Baylor and Lee; her daughter Christi Eischeid and husband Bill; her granddaughter Blair Jones and husband Alex and their children Liv and Rory Jones; and grandson Andy Eischeid and wife Chantel. She is also survived by a host of family and friends, notably Blanca and Sarah, who have been a part of our family for over 25 years.
We would like to thank BrightStar Care and Good Shepherd Hospice for taking such loving care of Nana near the end. It was especially wonderful to see her continue to make friends and minister to those around her, even while homebound.
The family will have a private graveside service at Memorial Park Funeral Home and Cemetery on December 18th, 2020. While we wish those of you who knew her could join us, we realize that is not possible right now. In the spirit of Nana, we invite all of you to find a way to spread kindness this holiday season, whether it be buying the person’s drink behind you in the Starbucks line or telling the cashier at the store how thankful you are for their work. While it’s been a hard year for all of us, we feel sure that these small gestures that Nana performed so frequently create a ripple effect and have the power to make a difference to people everywhere.