We’re very sorry to report the death last year of Shelley Cox, a longtime friend of Aldington scholarship. Her partner’s daughter, Melanie Thomas, writes:
Shelley Marie Cox passed away on August 8, 2017 in Carbondale, IL after a brief illness. Shelley was born in Camden, New Jersey in 1948. She grew up with a love of cats, books, politics and music, passions which she continued to pursue throughout her life. After graduating high school, she attended the University of Pennsylvania where she graduated with honors, then received her Master’s degree in Library Sciences from the University of Chicago in 1974. Her first library position was at Southern Illinois University; she remained there until her retirement over 31 years later, eventually becoming the rare book librarian in the Special Collections department for the SIU library.
Her intelligence and humor made her friends throughout the world who shared her interests. She was also able to follow those interests throughout the country and even internationally as a fan of the Moody Blues and as a member of the Lawrence Durrell International Society and the New Canterbury Literary Society, devoted to the works of Richard Aldington. Although her health prevented her from travelling as much as she wished in her later years, she continued working on research for those organizations.
Shelley is survived by her sister, Marsha Cox, and her longtime partner, Bob Thomas, as well as friends around the world who shared her passions. She will be missed by many.
Aldington biographer Vivien Whelpton, who came to know Shelley in recent years, adds:
I came to know Shelley during just three visits to Carbondale over the course of five years, but our regular correspondence between those visits cemented what became for me a very special friendship. We shared not just our Aldington interest, but our love of cats, an interest in music and in television drama – and our political views! In the time I knew her, Shelley was in constant physical pain, through severe arthritis, and she became increasingly immobilized. But she was full of mental energy, passion and humour, and her shrewdness and wit were a constant delight. I always looked forward to her emails. What I shall never forget is the enormous kindness and generosity that she and Bob both extended to me. I have many happy memories of evening meals out and of tours of Southern Illinois at the week-ends when the Morris Library was closed. On my final visit, earlier this year, Bob and Shelley picked me up from my lodgings the day after my arrival to take me grocery shopping, and Shelley brought with her a gift of a battery-operated night light – in case I needed to get up in the night in my unfamiliar surroundings. I find that light indispensable now, whenever I go away. And there was always a gift to take home for my cats! I constantly miss a very dear friend.
Melinda has sent me the files of Shelley’s Aldington bibliography. It was work that, sadly, she had to give up when her mobility became a problem for her. But those files represent years of work and travel, and I hope to be able to see them reach some form of publication.