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Verner Clifford “Papa” Hitchcox

Verner Clifford “Papa” Hitchcox, 94, passed away Saturday morning, October 20, 2012 at Erlanger Bledsoe hospital in Pikeville surrounded by family.

“Tough old bird,” “man of his word,” “hard worker,” were only a few of the comments over the past week as friends and family sat with him in his final days on this earth. He was all of those things and more. Cancer and heart surgery were only bumps in the road to Papa. Neither kept him from continuing the farming that he loved so well. Work was never too hard and the workdays were never too long. He was always willing to lend a helping hand and made a friend to everyone he met.

Papa proudly served this country during World War II. The horrors of war were not always easy to talk about, but when the old army buddies came by, the kids all gathered ‘round just to hear the tales. Their favorite story was about their troops landing on the shores of Iwo Jima as the flag was raised. Those stories were the beginning of the sense of patriotism Papa fostered in his children.

The greatest joy in Papa’s life was his family. The greatest sorrow in his life, was the loss of his infant daughter Charlotte, his oldest daughter Betty Hitchcox Rains, and his oldest son Clifford Hitchcox.

His parents, Jim and Annie Songer Hitchcox, preceded him in death  along with his brother Benton Hitchcox and sister Thelma Gifford.

He is survived by his wife of 64 years, Gladys Swafford Hitchcox; three daughters Patty (Bill) Holland, Carol (Perry) Swafford, and Sandy (T.A.) Swafford; one son, Billy Joe (Geneva) Hitchcox; daughter-in-law Sandra Hitchcox and son-in-law Bobby Rains; sister Juanita (Benton) Smith; and sister-in-law, Thelma Hitchcox; 13 grandchildren, 18 great-grandchildren; several nieces and nephews; and a host of friends and extended family.

Funeral services with Military Honors were held on October 22 in the funeral home chapel with Minister T.A. Smith officiating. Burial is in Granny Ruth’s Garden on Lower East Valley Road. Memorial contributions can be made to the Betty Rains Memorial Scholarship Fund at First National Bank in Pikeville.

Online condolences can be made at

Arrangements were made by Putnam-Reed Funeral Home in Pikeville.

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