Stanley Lincoln Cox, 83: Nuclear engineer, public servant, farmer

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SOUTH PORTLAND – Stanley Lincoln Cox, 83, of Highland Avenue, died Oct. 22.

He was born in Portland Feb. 12, 1932, a son of Ralph W. and Gracia (Peabbles) Cox.

He was educated in South Portland schools and graduated from South Portland High School in 1950. He graduated from University of Maine, Orono in 1954, with a degree in engineering.

He worked for General Electric for 10 years in Cincinnati, Ohio, and Schenectady, New York, on large aircraft jet engines and nuclear submarine control systems. He also worked for 32 years as a nuclear engineer at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard.

He was active in South Portland politics and served on the Planning Board, Conservation Commission and South Portland Development Corp. Cox was also a member of many committees, such as the Recycling Committee, Environmental Committee and Open Space Committee. He was instrumental in getting several items on the ballot for public vote, and was always proud that he was the driving force in preventing the city from implementing pay-per-bag for trash removal. He was a quiet person and preferred working behind the scenes.

Cox was ahead of his time when it came to community gardening; he provided about 5 acres of garden plot for 10 years in the ’70s and early ’80s.

He never lost his passion for farming. He started out living on his grandfather’s farm in Cape Elizabeth, which was then known as Peabbles Farm, but is now called Elwive Farm.

In 1939, his father bought one of the original farms in South Portland that was in existence when Highland Avenue was a dirt road. He remembered their first plow was horse drawn and having a block of wood bolted to the clutch pedal so he could reach it and drive the tractor when he was 8 years old. Cox also recalled delivering produce and eggs to Hannaford Bros. when the supermarket chain was only a wholesaler on Commercial Street.

Cox bought the family farm in 1967 when his father retired and became determined to keep it from being developed. 

Cox always felt the family farm was a part of South Portland’s history. One of Cox’s last goals was preserving the part of the farm that is visible to the public on Highland Avenue. He always said the openness of the farm and the cemetery across the street complemented each other, and it would be too bad if the serenity of the area was lost.

He was predeceased by his wife, who died in 2003, and his brother, Ralph W. Cox Jr.

Cox is survived by two daughters, Linda Ruterbories and Leesa Cox, both of South Portland; a grandson, Jonathan Ruterbories; a granddaughter, Taylor Matthews; a sister-in-law, Leona Cox, his longtime friend, Cynthia Weiss; nieces Julie Pitt, Sue Nappi and Donna McAvoy; and nephews Blane Bussell, Bruce Bussell, Ron Bussell and Michael Cox.

A graveside service was held Oct. 27, at Highland Memorial Cemetery in South Portland.