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Donnis Cox: World Traveler, Hobbyist Painter

Donnis Cox, who recently joined the Anderson Artists Guild, seems to bloom wherever she’s planted.

She grew up in Shelby, North Carolina, a rural area where she played outside a lot, picking up rocks and wildflowers. “We had chickens, pigs, and cows,” she said. “It was a great life. I never knew how well we ate back then on free-range chickens and grass-fed beef.”

She majored in middle school education at Appalachian State University. “When I grew up, you did what your parents told you to do, and that’s what my dad wanted me to do,” she said. Still, she enjoyed teaching math and science for over 30 years. “Middle school kids are so interesting,” she said.

She and her first husband moved a few times for his work, ending up in Anderson 53 years ago. Cox retired from McCants Middle School and then taught GED preparation and ESL classes at Anderson Adult Education for several years.

Her husband died suddenly in 2000. Five years later, she married again. She and her second husband, Jim, are bold travelers, having visited every continent and sailed across the world. One memorable trip was to Antarctica, where they arrived during a storm that sent 35-foot waves over the boat’s bow. They’ve gone on an African safari; been to Australia, Russia, and China; and traveled by train from Chicago to Seattle, among many other trips.

Painting—mostly acrylics—is a fun hobby for Cox. She has a heated and cooled garage that her husband calls her “garage gallery,” where she paints from pictures she’s taken or ones she finds in magazines. She enjoys capturing oceans, skies, and waters. “I’ve got a little bit of creativity in me,” she said.

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