PILOT MOUNTAIN — Joe Ray Cox was born Aug. 29, 1947, in Surry County. He departed this life on Sept. 20, 2012, at the age of 65 years. Following completion of his elementary and high school education in Steelton, Pa., Joe Ray enlisted in the United States Army and served a tour in Vietnam, where he was assigned to the communications unit. After receiving an honorable discharge, he earned an associate’s degree from Harrisburg Area Community College and went on to complete his Bachelor of Arts degree at Temple University in Philadelphia, Pa. After a few years in the workforce, Joe chose to further his studies and completed a Master of Social Work degree at Columbia University in New York City. Upon completion of his advanced degree, Joe worked for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s Department of Aging. He then secured federal government employment with the Veterans Administration where he counseled Vietnam veterans and their families. Joe Ray loved to travel and his role as a counselor for the veterans’ administration afforded him the opportunity to live in Maryland, Florida and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Joe Ray lived a life of selfless service and was a devoted son, loving brother and doting uncle. Joe Ray moved to North Carolina and became a farmer. His love of animals and nature brought him much joy. He was preceded in death by his grandparents, Granville and Louvenie France, the Rev. Roy and Mrs. Della Hickman Cox; and his father, Joe Bill Cox. Joe Ray is survived by his mother, Leona France Cox;his sisters, Alice Faye Cox Reynolds of Lafayette Hill, Pa., Darlene L. Cox of Old Tappan, N.J., and Lorna LeMelle of Harrisburg, Pa.; and his brothers, Benjamin L. Cox and Christopher G. Cox, both of Harrisburg, Pa. He is also survived by nieces, Joy Elizabeth Styles, Meagan Ashley LeMelle, Bendeline Leana Cox and Morgan Alicia Darlene Cox; and one nephew, Benjamin Leon Cox. Joe Ray also leaves to cherish his memory a host of family and friends, including aunts, an uncle, and many, many cousins. Visitation will be held at the Exodus Progressive Primitive Baptist Church, Pilot Mountain, on Wednesday, Sept. 26, 2012, from 6 to 8 p.m. and on Thursday, Sept. 27, 2012, from 10 to 11 a.m. Homegoing services will follow. A repast will be held at the church immediately following interment at the family cemetery.