People wonder why I read obituaries and it's because I want to get a sense of the people who died. I figure I didn't know them while they were alive so the least I can do is read about them now that they're gone on.
So I write this knowing that no matter what I say, you'll never get a full sense of who Jim Cox was unless you met him. Many of you might know him now as one of the people who died when two television news helicopters crashed into each other in Phoenix. But of course he was much more than the tragic end he met.
It is not enough to say that he was a brilliant photographer. He was. He was scary good. You could tell a Jim Cox liveshot just by looking at it-- the reporter would be lit up like a Christmas tree. It was almost as if they were chroma-keyed. And I'm not exaggerating to say that there was never a time when I went out with him on a shoot that I didn't come back with something on the tape that was extraordinary-- a special shot, a way of looking at things, something suprising.
But he also had the biggest heart. He was so kind. When he fell in love, he fell hard and fast. He jumped right in, and I remember urging him not to. I said, Jim, slow down a bit. No dice. He told me- that's who I am. He was all in.
With his life or his work, he put his whole heart into things. He was passionate about news and stories. If you work in news, there's a phrase for it-- to be blunt-- he was balls to the wall. If it was happening, he was on it and there was no other person you'd want with you in a breaking news situation.
He was handy. He had bought an adorable bungalow in an historic district in Phoenix and re-did the house all himself. Then, if that weren't enough, he built an addition. He was going to sell the house. Jim was going to learn how to fly helicopters.
It's fair to say he died doing what he loved. But he has left us, in shock, grasping for words, trying to piece together our memories, and wishing we had had more time with him.