Helen Romayne Silbernagel Cox, 89, died peacefully at home on July 16, 2021 in Galveston, TX. She was born July 1, 1932 in Manitowoc, WI, a daughter of Frederick and Georgia Silbernagel and graduated from Manitowoc’s Lincoln High School (1950), Carleton College (1954) and Stanford University (1956).
Following graduation from Stanford, Romayne moved to Galveston to begin a career as a physical therapist with a pioneer in the field, Ruby Decker, at UTMB. There Romayne met George W. (Bill) Cox, a medical student and they married in 1958.
Having retired from physical therapy to start a family, Romayne’s interest in the arts began to flourish and grew to be one of her greatest passions. A lifelong textile lover, her expert sewing and knitting encouraged an impressive and skilled devotion to the visual arts. In addition to being an accomplished artist, Romayne was highly knowledgeable about contemporary, vintage and ethnic crafts and textiles.
After nurturing her children through their early years Romayne, with long time friend Judith Finkelstein, created a store aptly named Two Friends Gallery featuring crafts handmade by American artisans. In the 1980s and 90s Two Friends Gallery was a prominent fixture on The Strand and together, Judith and Romayne’s vision showcasing handmade work by artists was instrumental in beginning the now long flourishing Art Walk events. Among some of Romayne’s favorite activities she served on the board of Galveston Island Outdoor Musicals, the Galveston Arts Center and as a panelist for the American Crafts Council.
She was affectionately known to many as Ro, Granny Ro, Big Ro and Grandma and will be remembered for her gentle nature, keen intellect, unshakable curiosity, and sincere respect for everyone she encountered in her life and the many friendships she made. Romayne had a subtle and beautiful manner of introducing people to unusual art and elevated the sophistication of those around her by the artist made jewelry and clothing she collected and wore - so unusual and stunning they were often conversation starters.
Romayne’s parents, sister, Elizabeth Ann Silbernagel, and son William David Cox predeceased her. She is survived by her husband, Bill Cox, her daughter Alison Cox and husband Richard Grellier (Old Greenwich, CT), Christy Cox (Portland, OR) Sara Cox (Florence, MA) and niece Kari Thompson and husband Paul Sonnleitner (Hopewell Junction, NY). She leaves behind six grandchildren, Georgia, Curtis and Elizabeth Grellier, Michael, Max and Jonah Ratner and grand nephew William and grand niece Sydney Sonnleitner. She will be dearly missed by family and her many wonderful friends.
The family would like to thank Dr. Nancy Hughes, Dr. Maurice Willis and Dr. Aaron Mahonty for their expert and compassionate care through the years.
We would also like to thank the staff at Texas Home Health, Texas Home Health Hospice, Cary Nunez, Nancy Cardenas, and Crystal Saunders and her team for their wonderful care for Romayne.
A celebration of Romayne’s life will be held on August 21, 2021 at 1:00 pm at J. Levy & Termini Funeral Home, Galveston.
Remembrances may be made to the Rosenberg Library, Penland School of Craft (Penland, NC) or to the charity of one’s choice.
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