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Petaluma teen's memorial Sunday

From the time he was a toddler, Danny Cox loved running and jumping.

He would chase his older sisters around their Petaluma house, surprising them with his strength. Later, he would challenge his dad to out-jump him to tap the overhead signs in the grocery store.

At Petaluma High School, he became a star long-jumper, leaping 21 feet and placing 11th in the state high school sectionals in Berkeley.

Danny Cox, 1992-2011


But just weeks after he graduated last year, Cox was paralyzed from the chest down in a freak diving accident at Lake Tahoe.

Sunday, just three days shy of the one-year anniversary of his injury, Cox died in a single-car crash on Highway 101 south of Petaluma when his handicap-equipped car struck an oak tree along the highway. The cause is still under investigation.

A public memorial service will be held at 1 p.m. Sunday at the Petaluma High School track, followed at 3 p.m. with a reception at the Mystic Theatre in downtown Petaluma.

His family asks people to wear yellow and black, Cox's favorite colors.

In addition to his athletic skills and broad smile, Cox will be remembered for his sense of humor, one that ranged from silly to gross.

"He was a huge goofball," said his father, Chris Cox of Petaluma. "Once when he was 10 years old, we were in the video store, and he said out loud, &‘Daddy, don't put me back under the stairs when we get home.' Or in public, he'd say, &‘Daddy did you get your special ointment for your groin?' But I enjoyed it. That was him."

His mother, Maureen McGowan of Petaluma, recalled when young Danny asked about the Tooth Fairy.

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