KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — A beloved community leader who served on Knoxville’s City Council for close to two decades has died. Larry Cox was 81 years old.

Cox was an advocate for seniors and youth in the North Knoxville area. A community in mourning after the passing of the longtime public servant.

A community center and athletic field in North Knoxville bears his name as part of a lasting legacy, friends and colleagues recalled their favorite memories and what he meant to the community.

“He’s such a vital character. He’s going to be really missed,” Charmin Foth said.

A man born and raised in North Knoxville always gave back to a community that gave him so much.

“Larry came from humble beginnings and was very successful in business,” Joe Bailey said. “He gave back, he primarily gave back to the youth of our community in sports and recreation.”

Cox served for close to two decades on the City Council. All of that time was spent with former Mayor Victor Ashe who got to know him not only as a colleague, but as a friend.

“He was a bundle of energy. He worked little league baseball and would stay late at night, be there early in the morning helping clean up the fields,” former Mayor Victor Ashe said. “He really pitched in and did his share of the work.”

Cox tried bringing out the best of people and help them in anyway he could.

“He was someone who would speak life and just bring joy to you. He was one of those people who would tell you what it was and what it was like and point you in the right direction,” Foth said. “That is something that I will always remember about him.”

“Larry Cox spent much of his life serving the people of Knoxville. I extend my condolences to his family and friends, and I hope they know his legacy will live on through the many lives he touched through sports leagues, the Larry Cox Field at Christenberry, and through the Larry Cox Senior Center.”

Knoxville Mayor Indya Kincannon