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February 5, 2013

Woman among oldest tribal members dies at 92

Cox described as happy, cared deeply for her family

TRAVERSE CITY — Diana Cox was born in a lumber camp more than 90 years ago.

She died Monday morning as one of the oldest members of the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians.

Cox died in her sleep at the Grand Traverse Pavilions at age 92. She is survived by three daughters, and numerous grandchildren, great-grandchildren and great-great-grandchildren.

Cox's relatives described her as an enthusiastic, happy woman who cared deeply for her family and who was extremely active in the tribe.

"Mother was a very special person, a very strong person," said Cox's daughter Ryckie Skeba, 66, of Cedar. "She made a lot of people laugh. They loved her up at the Pavilions."

Cox lived in the Traverse City area for most of her life, but she also spent time at Indian schools in Mount Pleasant and Harbor Springs.

Her four daughters described her as strict but loving.

"She taught us at a very young age how to be upstanding citizens and how to love one another," Cox's eldest daughter Nita Hawes, 71, said.

Cox loved holiday dinners, playing cards, shopping and riding in the car with family members, though she never learned how to drive.

Cox and her husband Dick, who died in 2000, built a house off Veterans Drive in the early 1950s. Cox often talked about how much the area changed since then.

"She use to talk about how empty it was and what a big field their house was in," Kathy Worden, a granddaughter of Cox, said.

GTB officials said Cox was the fourth oldest member of the tribe at the time of her death.

Cox will be buried at the Grand Traverse Memorial Gardens Cemetery.

"We know she's at peace now and hopefully she is with the rest of the family that has passed," Skeba said.

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