On Tuesday, June 15, 2021 Michael Lee Cox peacefully passed away holding his wife’s hand. Even though his last two years were medically challenging there was a silver lining because it allowed for reconnection with the importance of family as he battled Leukemia. It was his final goal to show his family what it means to take on a challenge and fight until the end and that is exactly what he did.
Michael was born in Montana, where his heart will always be. Born in Billings, his Life spanned three states; Montana, South Dakota, and Minnesota. His childhood summers were spent at the cabin built by his Dad & Uncles in Spearfish Canyon and on the farm in Spencer, SD, haying with his Uncle Bill. His adult life began in Eastern Montana then ventured across the state to the Mountains of Missoula. It was in Billings where Michael met his future wife, Donna, and would later bravely take on the role of Daddo to Donna’s two children Jenny and Ethan, and later, their daughter, Erin. Memories of Daddo will always include the Carousel in Missoula, how he shared his love for his motorcycle by teaching them to “Lean into the Turn”, his love for Scottish food, and, of course, Daddo humor. “If it’s funny once, it’s funny 1000 times!” He shared with his family his love for fishing the rivers of Montana and the University of Montana football team “GO GRIZ!!!”. Together they bonded through a deep love of dogs, which will carry on as the kids will continue to care for his Beloved labs, Daisy and Ripley. One of his greatest loves was to load up the labs and drive to a nearby Minnesota lake, of course with a tennis ball in hand. Michael was in awe of the amazing young adults that the kids were becoming, the journeys they have taken, the passions they pursue; forever proud to be their Daddo.
Michael worked hard his entire life from radio in Eastern Montana to building close-knit teams at Kinkos Copies in Billings and Missoula. He spent his last 10 years with the “most amazing team of guys” in the Tram at 3M in Alexandria. His work ethic, learned from his late father, made it hard for him to not be at work contributing to the team in his last two years. His family, and anyone that worked with him or knew him, appreciated all his hard work, sacrifice, and “never give up” attitude.
Michael began his life on May 11, 1962, as a middle child. He was preceded in death by parents T. Patrick Cox and Nanette Cox (Nafziger), brother Thomas Cox, and beloved little sister Kathleen Orlich (Scott).
Michael is survived by his loving and supportive sister Kelli Eddy (Paul), loyal brother Joseph Cox (Valerie Preston), and devoted brother-in-law Scott Orlich. Michael also will forever be in the hearts of Lifelong partner, wife, soulmate Donna Caneen, and kids Jennifer Supler, Ethan Supler and Erin Caneen-Cox. Michael adored his nieces and nephews; Simon, Elizabeth, Rachael, Jack, Carlos, Franco, Lynnae, and Kayle. The Nafziger cousins were as close as siblings to Michael. “Cousin Strong”. Through good times and challenging times, his family (and pups) were the most important thing to Michael and he was SO proud to be a part of this family.
Michael also would have wanted to thank the amazing Oncology Bone Marrow Team including all medical providers, direct care staff, cleaning staff, and everyone at Fairview Hospital at the U of M in Minneapolis (particularly Unit 5C and the Infusion unit at the clinic) who made his last 2 years bearable. Everyone gave it their all, including Michael. “Mother, Mother Ocean, I have heard you call Yes I am a Pirate, two hundred years too late”
A celebration of Michael’s life for family and friends will be held in early October in Spencer South Dakota. A very small gathering of immediate family and pups will gather at Lake… Minnesota in late September. Please, no flowers, he would rather they stay in the ground for others to enjoy and any Memorials should go to his children to help with educational expenses.