DisPatches, Summer 2001
Vernon Cox of Mill Valley, a noted disabled rights activist, died on January 14 at the age of 72.
A graduate of San Bernardino Valley College, Cox moved to Marin in the 1960s and founded the Institute of Environmental Science. Over the years, he served on 23 Marin County boards, commissions and committees, and received more than 20 awards for his service to the community.
In December, he received a humanitarian award from the Beryl H. Buck Foundation. Characteristically, he donated the $10,000 award to the Bell Springs Foundation, which he co-founded in 1992 as Marin Next Step.
Cox, who had multiple physical disabilities, was a founder in 1980 of the Marin Center for Independent Living, where he worked as Housing Director and Advocate Specialist.
He was also instrumental in the development of 260 Camino Alto, an affordable housing complex in Mill Valley for persons with physical disabilities, which was built in 1983 by several groups, including EAH, and administered by Catholic Charities.
Marin Community Foundation President Thomas Peters lauded Cox's activism, saying, "What he was doing in that fight was being a mentor, a role model and a spokesperson for the larger issue of human rights."