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Thomas Riggs Cox III

Thomas Riggs Cox III, 71, of Farmington, CT, died on May 9, 2015.


Mr. Cox was born on December 1, 1943, in Bridgeport, CT, to Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Riggs Cox Jr. (Elizabeth L. Mitchell). He attended St. Mark’s School and The Gunnery in Washington, CT, and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania. At Penn, he was a member of the St. Elmo Club and the Mask and Wig Club, the nation’s oldest all-male collegiate musical comedy troupe.


In 1967, he arrived at the Defense Language Institute in Monterey, CA, where he became proficient in Chinese Mandarin. Mr. Cox served in intelligence in the Army Security Agency and was seconded to the Special Forces (“Green Berets”) in Laos and Thailand, where he also learned Thai and Laotian. It was here that he began his vast collection of Asian artifacts and art, and—a bit more harrowing—where helicopters he was riding in were twice shot down by North Vietnamese troops.


Mr. Cox began his business career at White Weld, going on to work at Morgan Stanley in New York. He then moved to Greenwich, CT, where he co-founded R.V.I. Guaranty Co., Ltd., a Bermuda insurance company, and R.V.I. America Insurance Company in Connecticut, which earned a coveted “A” rating from both Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s. Mr. Cox retired in 2007.


He was a member of the Jamestowne Society, Society of Colonial Wars, the Military Order of Foreign Wars, and the St. Nicholas Society. He was nominated as a Knight of Grace in the U.S. Priory of the Most Venerable Order of the Hospital of St. John of Jerusalem under its Sovereign Head, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. He served on the Order’s U.S. Priory governing board and was national membership chair.


Mr. Cox was the longtime treasurer and a life director of the Big Apple Circus in New York. He previously belonged to the New York Yacht Club, and logged over 35,000 ocean racing miles as an owner of Scaramouche of Warwick. He was also a director of the East Haddam Fishing & Game Club. An avid fly fisherman, hunter, sailor, and scuba diver, he enjoyed traveling with his wife across the globe. In more recent years, he immensely enjoyed his role as a licensed lay reader in the Episcopal Church.


He is survived by his wife, the former Kathryn S. Lines; two children, Amanda Cox Frantzen and Samuel R. Cox; stepson John D. Britton II and his children Amelia and Charles; stepson Samuel S. Britton and his children Elliot and Henry; and two grandsons, Arlo Frantzen and Owen Frantzen. A funeral service was held at St. John’s Episcopal Church in West Hartford, CT, on May 13, 2015, with burial at Christ Church Frederica, St. Simons Island, GA.

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