'Miss' Annie still stands tall

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This is part four of a series on area cemeteries

By DAN WHITTLE Courier Correspondent

"Miss" Annie Cox, a school teacher, has been described as a petite little lady, who stands among the tallest of positive-impactful people in Woodbury history.

Her remains are buried in Woodbury's Hoover Cemetery serves mostly black citizens.

But her grave cannot contain the impact she had during her 80-plus years of life, as her giant super-sized legacy lives on in the hearts of legions of students, parents and grandparents. 

During Mrs. Annie Cox's six decades of teaching school, it's likely she impacted more students' lives positively than any woman in history of Cannon County education, judged former Cannon County Superintendent of Schools Joe Davenport, a noted historian with the Cannon County Historical Society.

"'Miss' Annie Cox achieved status as an educator and a warm, considerate gracious lady in our community that surpassed race and economic status," Davenport deposited in the lady's brimming-over cradle of accolades. 

Her teaching tenure of 60-plus years is a record that may never be broken. 

"Miss Annie's impact is bigger than words can describe," confirmed Cannon County Executive Mike Gannon for this forum in 2013.

"Rich or poor, white or black, 'Miss' Annie (a black lady) treated everyone alike," Gannon paid tribute. "As a little boy, and I'm 60, I recall everyone loving and respecting Miss Annie, because that's the way she treated everyone.

"'There's no adequate words to describe her impact, when you take into account she came up in a hard time, economically speaking, and for her being a black citizen," Gannon continued. "Her presence, class and impact on countless students and families, was above any 'race' consideration. That's why her funeral and journey to Hoover Cemetery was one of the largest in county history."

"Miss Annie's impact cannot be contained in the little Hoover Cemetery," confirmed Woodbury Mayor Harold Patrick. "She loved people, especially her students. And she loved basketball games. In fact, she had the stroke that led to her death while en route to a state tournament game in Murfreesboro.

"I can't recall any citizen, past or present, with a more profound and thoroughly-wholesome influence on our community than educator Annie Cox," confirmed Patrick. "Her impact is still being felt, since she taught thousands of our children during her six decades of teaching in the Cannon County School System."

With her remembered "radiant personality," it's appropriate that "Miss" Annie's last journey of life was along Sunny Slope Road in a Smith Funeral Home hearse leading to the small immaculately-kept Hoover Cemetery.

When stepping reverently in front of her modest headstone, one can sense being in the presence of a most remarkable lady.

She was a member of the Water Street Church of Christ, but when she died on July 6, 2009, family and community leaders wisely chose to hold Mrs. Cox's memorial service at the more spacious Woodbury Church of Christ.

"It was a very huge turnout out of respect for Mrs. Annie Cox," noted lifelong Cannon County resident Andy Duggin.

 "It was one of the largest attended funerals in the modern-day history of Woodbury," Mayor Patrick confirmed.

"Miss" Annie believed in putting back into the community, as evidenced by the fact she was educated in Cannon County public schools before attending Holloway High in Murfreesboro. She got her degree in education from Tennessee A&I, before it became Tennessee State University in Nashville.

The late Cannon Courier writer Bob Stoetzel penned a column about "Miss" Annie a few days after her funeral: "In my humble opinion, there has not been another teacher in Cannon County who has received as many accolades as Mrs. Annie Cox. There have been numerous stories written about her, not only in the Cannon Courier, but neighboring counties as well from multiple school administrators in the state."

"Miss" Annie Cox's legacy lives …

Read more from:
cemetery series, Dan Whittle, Part four
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