Fred Cox wore more than a few hats in his day.
He started his football career as a running back, but then became the most decorated kicker in Minnesota Vikings history.
He was an inventor, putting his stamp on one of the most celebrated toys of all time – the NERF football.
And he was a caring doctor, serving as one of the area’s first doctors of chiropractic care long after his playing days – and his inventing days – were done.
Cox, who is still the Vikings’ all-time leading scorer, died at the age of 80 last week at his home near Monticello.
Here is his obituary, provided by the Peterson Chapel.
Fred William Cox was born on December 11, 1938, in Monongahela, PA to parents Walter and Rose Cox. He was the youngest of three children – Tom and Ann his siblings.
Sports were a major part of his life growing up. His little league baseball team made it to Williamsport to play in the Little League World Series and two years later his pony league team played in the Pony World Series. His high school soccer team had three consecutive winning seasons.
He attended the University of Pittsburgh and played there as a running back and kicker. While at Pitt he was an All-American football player. He was drafted by the Cleveland Browns in 1962 as a running back, but was traded to Minnesota before the season started. He was released after training camp but asked to return in 1963 where he made the Vikings team. He played for 15 years (1963-1977), including participation in all four Super Bowls and retired as the all-time leading scorer for the Vikings (1365 points). In 1971 he invented the Nerf football.
While playing for the Vikings he attended Northwestern Chiropractic College and received his degree. He opened his chiropractic office in Buffalo, MN in 1975. Soon after he hired Dan Marty as his partner who helped him run the office while he finished his last 3 years playing with the Vikings. Dan continued as his partner until 1988. I
n 1988 he moved home to Monongahela, PA where he opened a new chiropractic clinic with his daughter, Susan. Three years later he moved back to Monticello, MN where he practiced chiropractic part-time before eventually retiring. For the past 20 years he and Bonnie have wintered in Arizona.
He was instrumental in initiating the chapel services for the Vikings and helped launch Fellowship of Christian Athletes in Minnesota where he was very involved. Fred did a lot of speaking engagements and played in many Celebrity Golf Tournaments, as he loved to golf. Family, church and community were important to him. Fred’s main passion was flying. He received his pilot’s license in 1967 and owned numerous planes over the years. Fred also loved to hunt.
Fred is preceded in death by his parents Walter and Rose Cox, brother Tom Cox and first wife Elayne (nee, Darrall). He is survived by his wife Bonnie; sister Ann Appolonia; sister-in-law Esther Cox; children Darryl (Sandy) Cox, Susan (Tye) Biasco, Fred Cox, Kim Ok-soon (Jason Berger); and grandchildren Melisa Cox, Corey Cox, Seth Biasco, Noah Biasco, Levi Biasco, Caleb Biasco, Kaden Cox, Braeden Cox, Elaina Cox, Sara Bauer, Peter Bauer, Kendra (Mitch) Arnold, Alec Bauer, Ava Berger, Sunni Berger and Jackson Berger; and many nieces and nephews.
Visitation was Sunday, November 24 from 3-7 p.m. at the Evangelical Covenant Church of Buffalo. Funeral service was held Monday, November 25 at 11:00 a.m. with visitation continuing one hour prior to the service at the church. Officiating was Pastor Max Frazier.
Casket Bearers were Fred’s grandsons Corey Cox, Seth Biasco, Noah Biasco, Levi Biasco, Caleb Biasco, Kaden Cox, Braeden Cox, Peter Bauer and Alec Bauer. Interment is at the Swedish Mission Cemetery of Buffalo.
Serving the family is: The Peterson Chapel in Buffalo 763-682-1363 www.thepetersonchapel.com