Perry and Liz Cox

Perry and Liz Cox were photographed with their dog Max at Cottonmill Park last September before he was diagnosed with the cancer that took his life Saturday.

KEARNEY — The fundraiser for Perry Cox will happen as planned Feb. 23, even though he passed away Saturday from liver cancer.

The event will begin at 1 p.m. at Mead Lumber, 1440 W. 56th St., where Cox had worked for six years. A specialist with Andersen Windows, he often worked in the drive-thru area. He retired in December due to his illness. “He had no energy,” said his wife, Liz.

Brian Lowe, store manager at Mead Lumber, said nearly 45 people are helping with the Feb. 23 fundraiser, including 20 Mead Lumber employees and 15 members of Cox’s Lifegroup friends at eFree Church, 4010 Seventh Ave., where his memorial service will take place at 10:30 a.m. Feb. 22.

At the fundraiser, pulled pork, beans and dessert will be served. More than 45 items will be offered at a silent auction, including gift cards, prime rib, Husker tickets and a round of golf for a foursome. All proceeds will go to the family.

Asked to share memories of Cox, Lowe chuckled.

“I have so many stories. We loved his sarcasm. He was a man of faith, and he had no problem being that person of faith at work. He was someone I could rely on, someone who was a friend. He kept me grounded,” he said.

Liz recalls the way he affectionately referred to her two children as his “bonus children.” Grown now, those children are Jennie Billinger of Kearney and Tyler Scherr of Omaha. Cox and Liz had been married for 14 years. Three grandchildren complete the family.

Cox had not felt well for several years, Liz said.

Last fall, finally, complaining of pain, he underwent tests. On Oct. 16, doctors in Omaha told him he had cancer of the liver bile ducts, and it had spread. “It was terminal. It was inoperable,” she said. He was given six to 12 months to live, but he passed away less than four months later.

Officiating at his memorial service will be Pastor Tim Peterson, formerly on the staff of Kearney eFree, who is now the senior pastor at the eFree church in Broken Bow.

“He wanted his memorial service to be a celebration of Christ’s life,” Liz said. “At the end, he was praying for us who would mourn for him. He knew his passing would be hard on me, and he was helping me to handle it before he passed.”

Liz, a receptionist at New West Sports Medicine & Orthopedic Surgery, said her late husband was an expert at carpentry and construction. When a tornado destroyed his parents’ home near Amherst in 2009, he and several friends rebuilt it.

In early September, before cancer even was suspected, a family photo was taken at Cottonmill Park because no such photograph had been taken for months.

A separate photo of Liz and Perry included his beloved dog Max. “He loved his dogs,” Liz said.

Cox also had worked as a chef in Denver, Vail and Lamy, N.M., and served many famous people.

Last summer, the couple took a trip to Colorado and New Mexico. Cox wanted to show Liz the beautiful places he had worked.

They visited Garden of the Gods, Santa Fe, Taos, and the hot springs at Ojo Caliente, N.M.

They had no idea it would be their last vacation.

“He planned it all, as if God ordained him to do that,” Liz said.