Uncle Russell died on February 22, after what was a mercifully short time of duress from a miserable disease. True to the Fox spirit, he was alert and in charge almost to the end. As I have said to a few friends, his was a holy death. A final goodbye, surrounded by loving family and carried in the arms of the church and of his faith.
After his cremation, the funeral mass was held in his home parish on March 20. The intervening weeks allowed his far-flung family to make travel arrangements.
Here's the obituary that ran in the Chicago Tribune, March 7, 2010:
Russell C. Fox, age 91, passed away on Feb. 22, 2010 at his Wheaton home after a brief battle with lung cancer. WWII Navy veteran, Russell was a retired Vice-President for Kellogg Co. Beloved husband of Diane; loving father of Carolyn Fox, Russell (Marcia) Fox Jr. and Deborah (Don) Briggs; proud grandfather of Andrew (Lisa) Fox, Sarah (Al) Rahal, Donnie and Lindsey Briggs; great-grandfather of Ali and Sofia Rahal, Grace and Sam Fox; dear brother of Frances Farris, Martha Evans and Ralph Fox; fond uncle of many nieces and nephews. In lieu of flowers, donations to the Russ Fox Memorial Fund at Trinity Episcopal Church would be appreciated. Family and friends to gather Saturday March 20 for 10:30 a.m. memorial service at Trinity Episcopal Church, 130 N. West St., Wheaton, IL 60187.I'm grateful for this notice on the website of the Vergers' Guild of the Episcopal Church. In fact, the president of the Vergers' Guild travelled to Wheaton to attend and verge at Uncle Russell's funeral service.
It is clear that Uncle Russell took great joy in his role as verger. I think he would have understood the pride I take as crucifer.
For me, there was an added bonus to that weekend. I got to make deeper connections with his wife and children (my cousins). It was a time of discovery and reconnection, for which I am grateful.
My Uncle Russell was the first of the Fox children to escape the miserable poverty and numbing backwardness of the Missouri Bootheel region. And he was the only one of my uncles and aunts to become an Episcopalian. I like to think I followed his lead.