Longtime Museum Trustee Dies At 95

City of Fort Lauderdale

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A man who was instrumental in creating the Antique Boat Museum in Clayton has passed away.

Robert Cox died Saturday at his Chaumont home.

He was a longtime trustee of the museum.

According to the Sun Sentinel newspaper, Cox was a former mayor of Fort Lauderdale

He was 95.

Frederick H. Hager, Executive Director of the Antique Boat Museum (ABM), released the following statement regarding the death of Museum founder Robert (Bob) O. Cox:

"We are saddened to share the news of the death of Bob Cox, a tireless leader, visionary, and true inspiration. As a founding member of the Antique Boat Auxiliary of the Thousand Islands Museum in 1967, Bob would help to capture the history of boating throughout the region by actively seeking ways for preservation. He played a key role as the Auxiliary transitioned into the Thousand Islands Shipyard Museum, and then in 1990 when it was renamed the Antique Boat Museum.

Bob served as a Board member for 30 years until 1999, when he was named Trustee Emeritus. In addition, he was the longest serving docent at the ABM, leading tours up until 2011 at the age of 93.

The ABM has lost a true mentor, benefactor, and an influential friend of the Museum and the Thousand Islands."

In addition to assisting with the foundation of the Museum, Bob helped to organize the first boat show in 1964. The show will joyfully celebrate its 50th anniversary in 2014.

His memories of boating on the river in the 1920s and 30s were foundational to the mission of the Museum, and remained an important part of his contributions. He was a student of local boating history, and many important boats in the Museum's collection were found, purchased, and donated by Bob, including the local raceboats Suwanee and George Boldt's former number boat.

The knowledge Bob shared with the ABM extends far beyond the Thousand Islands.

While still in college at CalTech, Bob designed the docks for the World's Fair in New York City in 1938. Ten years later, on a sailing trip, he purchased a former Navy pier in South Florida and founded the Fort Lauderdale Marina, one of the largest marinas in the world. This put him at the forefront of America's growing fascination with boating in the 20th century. In the 1960s and 70s, he was a championship racer of offshore powerboats alongside the likes of Don Aronow, Dick Bertram, and Jim Wynn.

Bob, a lifelong summer resident of Grindstone Island, was always a vigorous presence, active and engaged, full of energy and ideas. From boating on the River in the 1920s, to racing powerboats in the 60s, to designing new luxury powerboats in the early 2000s, few people have had a life so connected with boating.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014
, Watertown, NY

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