Vale Lee Cox

You Are so Beautiful by Joe Cocker was the opening song for this beautiful ceremony for Lee (Alicia) Cox.

Lee and her husband, Dick (dec) owned Cox Brothers which was a fruit and veggie shop where I shopped once a week in my younger days.

I received a tribute from Shane Healy in Sydney. I called him up as I had never heard the quote at the end nor could I find it by Google search. It turns out, he wrote it. When speaking with him I discovered the correct way to pronounce Vale. Since most know it sounding like ‘veil’ it felt a bit strange saying it correctly!

From Oxford Dictionaries

/ˈvɑːleɪ/  (My note: almost with a soft w sound…warlay)


      • 1.farewell:“She was a very kind woman. Vale!”

Tribute from Shane Healy, Sydney

Vale Lee

Condolence to Chris and Tracey on the death of your dear mother. I have known Lee for more than 60 years.  I first met her when I had a school holidays job in the hugely important role of carryout boy at Cox Bros supermarket. I was 13 then and Lee must have been all of 21. She had such command and presence there, I was frightened witless of her. However, as time progressed, I got to know the soft and caring person she really was. The overarching presence in her life and indeed mine was ‘RR’.

Coffs was a community of tiny minds in the 60s.  Her relationship with RR scandalised the whole town.  The dignity and aplomb with which she withstood the locals’ rebarbatives and innuendos is testament to her strength and determination as a quality human being. These are qualities I always admired in her.

I recall she showed me ‘GladWrap’ Cling Film for the first time in the kitchen at the Moonee St house.  What did we ever do before GladWrap?

Lee led a long and interesting life.  The song ‘I’ve been everywhere man’ by Lucky Starr could have been written for her.  I recall dining with her and Trish Leigh at Gordon Ramsay’s Mayfair restaurant in London with FU Yang in 2009.  It was on one of her many overseas trips. My life has been interwoven with hers and Dick’s most of my life particularly those formative years in Coffs and Sydney. First whilst I was still at school water skiing with her and Dick at North Beach and then in Sydney.

It’s no coincidence I’m sure that this Friday is the 17th anniversary of Dicks death. I am reminded of the Chinese aphorism ‘The man departs, his shadow there remains’.

Lee was Godmother to my eldest son Daniel. Jenny, who sends her condolences today, and I were married in their apartment at Elizabeth Bay. We spent many great days together Boating on Sydney Harbour on the Bertie, mostly drinking, what great fun it was. Great memories. She called me for my birthday just last Wednesday 6th which she did every year.  I am so pleased I got to speak to her before she left. Whilst fitness and ‘jogging’ was a great interest her health deteriorated slowly over the last few years. It was painful to watch that vibrant healthy woman I had known since her 20s succumb to time. That hoary old man with the scythe was on his way. At times death can be merciful.  Forever, when I hear the roar of an outboard motor or the smell of two stroke, I am transported to the banks of the Kalang River with her and Dick.

Adonis’es all and all immortal.


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