Obituary for COY F.CROSS II
8/6/1937 – 5/30/2020
Coy Cross II passed peacefully at home surrounded and held by love after a brief encounter with pancreatic cancer on May 30, 2020 at the age
He was a man of intellect, spirit, and heart,who sought to improve himself and the world. He had a fierce commitment to education, he
continued to seek spiritual insight, and he opened his heart to love.
Coy began life in Barbourville, Kentucky in humble circumstances, the son of Coy Franklin Cross Sr. and Alice (Peavley) Cross.Coy faced many
hardships during his young life including the divorce of his parents while he was still just a small boy.This left him with a fervent wish for a family.
Coy joined the Air Force, which led him to California. He met and married his first wife, Janet, and immediately began his own family.Together they had three children,Coy Franklin Cross III, Elizabeth Ann (Johns), and Mellissa Rochelle (Harley).
His early schooling was rather chaotic and varied between a one room schoolhouse in Kentucky to larger schools in Ohio, but Coy grew to believe that education provided him with opportunities.Coy’s 20 years in the Air Force gave him access to the GI Bill, which allowed him to pursue his education. He left the Air Force with a master’s degree in history.
At the age of 50,Coy returned to college, earning a PhD in history and ultimately had two academic books published, Lincoln’s Man in Liverpool and a biography of Justin Morrill. It was a remarkable path from a boy in a rural schoolhouse to Dr.Coy Cross II, PhD.
Coy was a man who believed that education was an avenue out of poverty. To that end he devoted his efforts to the African Library Project, forever changing the futures of the children and communities of 26 different communities. Over eleven years, Coy and his awesome network of family and friends collected, sorted, packed and shipped over 26,000 children’s books to help start libraries in areas with few or no books. In 2012,Coy was honored with African Library Project’s Compassion in Action award for his incredible contributions to this cause. In 2013, he joined their US delegation in Malawi.
Throughout his life Coy experienced great love. After heartache and loss,Coy met Carol, and they were married in 1988.They had a long and happy marriage filled with love, partnership, and recovery. Coy was her caretaker when she had ovarian cancer and wrote a book about this powerful experience The Dhance. Carol passed in 2012 from complications of cancer treatment.
Coy always continued to be an open-hearted soul, and met his last great love, Lorraine (Lori) Divine. They were married in 2015.They had the fortunate opportunity to travel and enjoy the world together. Coy and Lori found a meaningful community in the Mountain Stream Meditation Center, continuing their spiritual journey. Lori lovingly cared for him throughout his illness and was by his side at his passing. She has been the loving exclamation point at the end of his life.
Coy was grateful for his long life filled with great love. He deeply loved his family and community and will be greatly missed. He is survived by his wife, Lori Divine Cross, his three children, three grandchildren- James (Amelia) Newburg,Aidan Harley, and Spencer Harley. The last great gift in his life was meeting his great- grandson, Henry (Hank) Newburg. He was preceded in death by his grandson, Matthew Newburg.Coy is also survived by a loving extended family.
He played a meaningful role in the lives of many people.Coy left us with that radiant smile of his and always asking “How are you doing?” in a way that you knew he genuinely wanted to know.
In the end,Coy could not express enough how grateful he was for his long and interesting life. He knowingly said – “Life is not meant to be easy; it’s meant to be great!”. His last gifts were to edit and assist in the publication of two books of the teachings and poetry of his spiritual teacher and guide, John M.Travis;“Taking the One Seat”, and “Scuffed-Up Shoes”.
The family asks that in lieu of flowers, contributions be made to the African Library Project or Mountain Stream Meditation Center in Nevada City.
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