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Community Spotlight - Carla Cox

Article Date: 
9 March, 2012 (All day)

Carla was born in Mesa, Arizona and her family moved so she went to different schools and colleges but she has spent considerable time in Utah over the years. Her husband, Gregory, was a school superintendent, and they moved a lot in that capacity.  Greg is now the superintendent of a charter school in Kaysville after many years of serving in the public schools.

The place they last lived before settling in Morgan was Fort Washakie, which is a Shoshone  Indian Reservation in Wyoming. They lived there for 4 years while Greg was the school superintendent. 

 Carla is a professional artist and began painting pictures of the Native American children in their native dress as well as other western art while they lived in Fort Washakie She has entered pictures in Dubois in national art shows and still has some pictures on display there.  She has painted portraits in oils and usually would do a pastel rendering for the person she was painting.

Her art career began in 6th grade when she did a pencil drawing of a run-away stagecoach.  When she was fourteen, she won first place in an international art competition (and her award was written in Italian).  She has experimented with different styles and mediums over the years.  When the restaurant The Jordan Queen was built at 45 South in SLC, she was commissioned to paint portraits and action shots of Huckleberry Finn, Tom Sawyer and Mark Twain.  One of her creations was about 8 feet high, painted on masenite and wrapped around the spiral staircase in the steamboat restaurant.  She continues to paint in different mediums and says she no longer works but devotes herself to art and serving the community.

She has certifications as a Holistic Practitioner and is a herbalist. In past years, she practiced holistic medicine and even facilitated births.  She also worked for a neurologist for five years.  She has managed two assistant living facilities. In addition to all this, she has worked in the public schools in the districts where her husband was superintendent.  

She and Greg have 11 children between them; she has 6 and he has 5 from previous marriages. They have 21 grandchildren total.  

While they have only been in Morgan for 9 months, Carla has deep roots in Utah.  Her third great-grandfather was Ebenezer Bryce. As a young man, he was an apprentice to a shipbuilder in Scotland.  He eventually persuaded his parents to let him come to America by ship, and he said good-bye to his family—never seeing them again.  He crossed the plains with the Mormon pioneers, experiencing hardships including cholera.  After he was married, Brigham Young sent him to Southern Utah.  He and his son were out mending fence on his property one day, when he said he wanted to cross the ridge and explore.  His son didn’t want to go and returned to the homestead.  Ebenezer proceeded on his adventure and was gone for some time.  When he returned to the family, she said he had seen “the most beautiful country in the world.” He is given credit for being the first white man to discover Bryce Canyon, and the canyon was given his name.

Later on, Brigham Young asked him to move to Pine Valley and build a church.  He resisted at first, but Brigham Young repeated the request.  Ebenezer accepted and settled the Pine Valley area and built a church there.  It is the oldest LDS chapel still in use in Utah.  He built it like a ship:  the attic is built like the bottom of a ship.  No nails were used as the wood was tied together with leather.  Ebenezer said, “It may blow over, but it will never come apart.”  It is still standing today.

He has had articles written about him in the Ensign and in the magazine of the sons and daughters of the Utah pioneers.  One story told about him, in jest, is that being of Scottish ancestry, he was very frugal.  It is said that he lost a penny in a gopher hole in Scotland and had to dig Bryce Canyon in an attempt to find it.

After living in Utah most of his life, he later migrated to Arizona because of his wife’s health.  

Carla says they are thrilled with living in Morgan and consider that they have the ‘best of both worlds”—having everything they need and close to the city but having the small town atmosphere and no pollution.  They are enthusiastic about serving the community, and they have hosted empty nester groups in their home.  They are excited to make Morgan their permanent home after moving around for so many years.