June 17, 1934 – April 9, 2011
Cox’s life was dramatically interwoven with the great events of the times in which she lived. She was born at the German Hospital in Tsingtao, China, to Percy Gleed and Anna Broad Gleed. As the calamities of World War II engulfed China, she escaped along with her mother and two brothers on the last civilian boat. Her father was interned in a Japanese concentration camp for the duration of the war. The refugees arrived in Laguna Beach in March 1941 when the town was still a small art colony and vacation getaway. Her mother went on to become the city’s first female police officer and her stepfather, Paul Johnson, served as chief of police.
Diana attended Laguna public schools and graduated from Laguna Beach High School in 1952. As a teenager, she played roles in the “Pageant of the Masters,” surfed when it was still a boy’s sport, and swam for the L.A. Swim Club. She was fearless in the water as well as everywhere else.
On July 29, 1953, in Las Vegas, Nev., Di married high school sweetheart H. Ross Cox, son of Harland Cox, South Laguna postmaster and fire department chief. They had two daughters, Shelley and Rosslyn.
Her husband, a mason that specialized in man-made waterfalls, passed away in 1999.
As a young woman, Cox worked at The Pottery Shack and later on the staff of Thurston Intermediate School when it first opened. She was a founding member of the LBHS Booster Club.
When the couple retired, they moved to Arroyo Grande, Calif., and established the Rose Victorian Inn Bed and Breakfast, featured in Sunset magazine and the Los Angeles Times.
After 10 years, the Cox’s returned to Laguna and she was involved in the LBHS Alumni Association, serving as an officer for many years. She also completed the Laguna Beach Police Department Citizen Academy Class.
Cox was dedicated to her family, friends and hometown. She was a superb cook and entertainment at the Cox household was well known. She also always kept dogs and cats and the occasional duck in her household.
She is survived by brothers John and sister-in-law Gail, Geoffrey and sister-in-law Vivian; sister-in-law Dorris Cox Samaniego and brother-in-law Hector; and sister-in-law Arvonne Cox Irwin; her daughters, Shelley, Rosslyn, and Lisa; son-in law Bill Bethmann; granddaughters Mariah Jones and Bree-Eva Bethmann and grandson Will Bethmann and numerous nieces and nephews.
Her huge smile, laugh, sparkling blue eyes, wisdom and food will be missed by all. “She was a classic from the days when character was king in Laguna Beach.” Her heart belongs to Laguna where a memorial will be held for her later this summer.
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