Robert ‘Bob’ Fox

A photo of Robert ‘Bob’ Fox


Celebration of Life
Willow Ridge
Saturday June 15, 2024
Words of Remembrance at 2:00pm

Robert (Bob) Fox passed away on June 5, 2024 at Mount Hope in London, Ontario. Throughout his life, Bob enthusiastically embraced a personal philosophy of “Be There!”.

Bob was raised in the Northern Ontario mining village of Swastika (yes, it does exist). He loved the north, being outdoors amidst the wildlife, trees, wind, rocks, and the secluded bays and lakes that surrounded his hometown. Over his life, he cherished the poetry of Robert Service, and the paintings of the Group of Seven and other artists who profiled Canada’s north.

As a youth, Bob excelled academically and athletically, specifically in football, hockey and baseball. Bob was a skilled outdoorsman, canoeing rapids, fishing, cooking over camp fires, felling trees and clearing brush with an axe, spending his summers as a teenager in canvas tents working in Northern Ontario and Quebec. The “life lessons” Bob shared with his children and grandchildren generally involved analogies to his time living and working in the “bush”, as he forever described it.

Bob studied physical education at the University of Western Ontario. In the era of “two way” football, Bob played offensive and defensive line on the Western Mustang football team. He was a member of teams that won Yates Cups, and the first national championship in Canada in 1959, now known as the Vanier Cup. The teams and players were inducted into the Western University Athletic Hall of Fame.

After university, Bob was heavily recruited to play for the Hamilton Tigercats and Montreal Alouettes of the Canadian Football League. However, he and his classmate and future wife, Lynn (nee Patterson), pursued long careers in education, both teaching and coaching primarily at Blenheim District High School. Bob completed a Master of Education degree at the University of Windsor as part of his progression through the educational ranks, ultimately retiring as the Interim Director of Education for the Lambton Kent District School Board.

He believed that he had a duty to help rural communities like Blenheim, not simply survive, but thrive through community-based public schools, organizations, and facilities that were accessible to community members of all ages. This value drove his creation of, participation in, and/or leadership of, charities, educational, athletic and creative initiatives, programs, construction projects, and political organizations throughout his life.

Bob passionately believed that kids needed the chance to pursue as many different academic, co-curricular and extra-curricular avenues as possible and that schools must provide these myriad pathways and low-cost opportunities. He recognized that each student had gifts, academically, athletically, artistically, and believed that teachers must pro-actively encourage all students to try to identify a passion, increasing self confidence, and finding their “success” in life. He bore a responsibility to positively contribute to communities, schools, and students. He simply refused to accept that Blenheim should receive crumbs while larger centres got the whole pie.

Throughout his life, Bob was a good friend, advisor, mentor, and a forceful, but private, advocate, and confidante to many.

Bob was the proud father and lifelong champion of his children and grandchildren. He enjoyed their various paths and successes, travelling for years over the course of weekends, to “Be There!” for their activities and events. Bob was a lover of the multitude of ill-behaved Fox family dogs, and barn cats. Privately, he often fed stray animals, and on many occasions, tried to nurse injured birds, squirrels, and turtles he came across.

Bob is survived by his sister Susan Stevenson (Bob), his children, Elizabeth (Scott Guidolin) and David, his grandchildren Thomas, Grace and Katie, sister-in-law Barbara Fox, nieces and nephews Catherine and Gwen Stevenson, Jason (Eileen) and Gavin (Jenifer) Fox, and families, and cousins Fred (Kathy) and Nancy Mallett. Predeceased by his wife of 58 years, Lynn, brother David, and cousin Joan (Al) McNabb. Lynn and Bob’s dear friend and confidante of many years, Noreen McLauchlin, suitably accompanied Bob back home to his beloved Blenheim on his final day. Bob will be missed by his long-time friends Denis, Jane, Jerry, Windy, Lyle, Doug, Ivan and Joe. Predeceased by close friends, Coop, Donny, Lach, and Paul. Elizabeth and David extend their deepest gratitude to Cathy Phipps and to Bob’s private caregivers Tammy Murphy-Lodewegen, Tilly DaSilva, and Tammie Matt-Barnes for their skilled and respectful care over the last years.

Cremation has taken place and a celebration of Bob’s life will be held on Saturday June 15, 2024 at Willow Ridge Golf Course in Blenheim between 1PM and 4PM (remarks at 2 PM). Those who can attend are encouraged to bring their favourite recollections of encounters with Bob. In lieu of flowers, those who are able are encouraged to donate to, either, the Western Fund, or the Chatham-Kent A.L.L. for Kids Program.

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So very sorry to l learn of Bob's passing. Sincere condolences to the family.

So very sorry to learn of Bob's passing. He will be missed.

Sorry to hear of Mr. Fox's passing. My condolences to his family and loved ones.

Bob was one of those special people that - if you are lucky - you meet along life's way. It is a blessing to have known him.

To the entire Fox family: my hearfelt condolences on your loss.

My heartfelt condolences to the entire Fox Family. There are many things in life that I am deeply grateful to Bob. As a student, I learned discipline and resilience. The Blenheim Swim Team, originally were called the Foxtales in honour of the Fox Family, played a leading role in the Club getting lane ropes and starting blocks and then contributed the remaining funds to secure backstroke flags and poles. As a school board trustee, I got to see Bob raise the games of the people in school administration to his level . Bob did nothing half hearted. He was always all in. That is what I have really taken from him. Thank you Bob! To David and Elizabeth, thank you for sharing your Dad. Treasure the many memories you had with him.

Bob, "Mr. Fox" to most of us was a tough mentor but behind the scenes he worked harder than anyone to ensure we ALL benefited. I was fortunate enough to have him as a coach, coworker, and mentor. He was a tireless leader in the education system as well as the community. His intensity and passion for life allowed him to improve those around him and the community of Blenheim in countless ways. Once a BOBcat ALWAYS a Bobcat! Thank you for the years of selfless service.

Bob was the VP at Tilbury District High School when he hired me in June 1977 to teach math and coach cross-country and track and field. He ended up at BDHS as a VP and then later as the Principal where I was teaching math and coaching. He was a very principled man who held high standards for his teaching, custodial, and office staff. He also expected this high standard from his students. I know that I benefited from his positive criticisms and words of encouragement. He was funny, thoughtful and very conscientious. He will be missed!

As a Superintendent, Bob hired me many years ago as a new Vice-Principal. He frequently checked in on me and always gave of his time to answer questions and offer terrific advice. He was always interested, sincere and fully invested in helping me. Years later and after his retirement, he would always show interest and offer encouragement when we would bump into each other downtown. Bob was a genuine leader whose commitment to students, schools and his community were respected by all who knew him. RIP.

Elizabeth, my condolences. I am away this weekend but will be thinking of you and your family. Sari

Elizabeth, my condolences. I am away this weekend but will be thinking of you and your family. Sari

Dear family, friends, loved ones and colleagues of Bob, I have struggled for days about what words to honour Bob with. So many wonderful things have already been said. I have decided to post a poem where I believe the last line says it all about this extraordinary man. For the family in particular, I wish you love as you journey on your roads of choice without him. Love, Audrey Hummelen The Road not taken by Robert Frost Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, And sorry I could not travel both And be one traveler, long I stood And looked down one as far as I could To where it bent in the undergrowth; Then took the other, as just as fair, And having perhaps the better claim, Because it was grassy and wanted wear; Though as for that the passing there Had worn them really about the same, And both that morning equally lay In leaves no step had trodden black. Oh, I kept the first for another day! Yet knowing how way leads on to way, I doubted if I should ever come back. I shall be telling this with a sigh Somewhere ages and ages hence: Two roads diverged in a wood, and I— I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference.

Fair thee well in heaven !! Bob and Lynn Fox

Treasure your memories!

Mr. Fox was the vice principal at TDHS my first year teaching. I had a great deal of respect for him. He was always quick to praise and would offer constructive criticism to aid professional growth. I always enjoyed working with and for Mr. Fox. He certainly left a living legacy professionally and within the community.

Elizabeth, David, Susan and families, please accept our condolences. What an honor it is to know Bob. He is indeed a model for each of us. He worked 30 hours a day to make things happen. He was beyond the best as an administrator, coach, teacher and person. He will long be remembered for his passion and precision to commitment, whether it be in education, Capital Theatre or community. He has left a most incredible legacy of achievement and respect.

Elizabeth, David and family I am sorry for your loss. Your dad was a well liked man.

Gone but never forgotten. Bob's legacy will stay for a long time. He was an inspirational, generous, and kind person.

Elizabeth, David and family, On behalf of my wife Sue, I would like to express our sincerest condolences to both you and your family following the passing of your Dad. Bob was our principal at BDHS from 1987 until his promotion to Superintendent in 1995. He had a significant influence on me during my formative years as a young teacher. Bob's door was always open to me when I wanted to discuss a variety issues, mostly educational in nature. He taught me the importance of something he called "professional accountability". As long as you worked hard on behalf of your students you will succeed. There were a few stumbles along the way at BDHS that Bob straightened me out on. I always appreciated his candor and straightforward manner in dealing with matters that came up from time to time. They were lessons I carried with me during my entire 32 year teaching career. Bob's devotion to BDHS and the community of Blenheim cannot be questioned. His wisdom, direction and guidance is something that many schools today could benefit from. I was fortunate to know Bob as an administrator, mentor and friend. Rest in peace, Mr. Fox. Dennis and Susan Dutry

So sorry for your loss Mr Fox was an huge inspiration to me both as a principal and Football Coach. pushed me to be best I could be ! He also hired me to help out around his Blenheim Home at a time I was feeling low he would perk me up and I am so grateful for the father figure he was. I will surely miss him.

Elizabeth and David so sorry to hear of your Dad’s passing . Many memories of him and your mother.

Mr. Fox was always a driving force for him students. Our son Allan was so happy for the encouragement that your Dad and Mom gave him when he was a BDHS. So sorry for your loss.

Elizabeth and David—Our deepest condolences. Your father’s devotion to our community was unparalleled, especially his extraordinary efforts in the restoration of the Capitol Theatre. His enthusiasm and drive was contagious. More important, he had a way of recognizing people that made them feel valued. Be very proud of your father, and your mother’s legacy. Thinking of you all.

Elizabeth, Scott, David and Families, Sincere condolences in the passing of your father. Bob was a very respected man and a good friend too many. Our thoughts and prayers are with you all. Sincerely, Peter & Linda

Elizabeth, Scott, David and Families, Sincere condolences in the passing of your father. Bob was a very respected man and a good friend too many. Our thoughts and prayers are with you all. Sincerely, Peter & Linda

My condolences to the Fox family. Mr Fox motivated you to be the best you could be. You always knew he cared and he was truly a special person always a role model. His many lessons have served me well over my career . He made a difference in the community and the school board. Mike Elson Mike Elson

Sad to hear that Mr. Fox has passed away. I have a rather unusual, although, not unlikely friendship with Mr. Fox. As a student, I can say I was a little distracted during his classes at times, and as some other male students might attest to, the punishment for those distractions was quite, shall I say, memorable. Make no mistake about it, I deserved whatever punishment was doled out, after all punishment is meant to be memorable, and I always had much respect for Mr. Fox. Later on in life however our paths would cross once again when we both played hockey with Morpeth of the East Kent Hockey League. Bob was a Defenseman, and a damn good one, while I was the goalie. Picture a scenario where the only way you ever address a man was by Mr. and now, as a team mate calling him Mr. Fox in the team room with all the rest of the team present. One night however, after about five games into the hockey season, I again called him Mr. Fox, and after doing so, while the rest of our team was busy with their conversations, Mr. Fox looked at me and in a very low tone, I could also read his lips as he said, "Call me Bob", which I did for many years after with him as a team mate. I had tremendous respect for him as a Teacher, as a team mate, and for everything he did for the community after his retirement. I will also remember his friendly speeches, stories and jokes, (always in good taste), while we celebrated some of our successes as a hockey team, as those times were, as well memorable. Most of all I will remember Bob Fox as one of the best at every thing he did. Now that Bob has passed away, I feel compelled to say, Rest in Peace Mr. Fox. Bill Bentley

To learn from you was to know you. RIP Bob Fox. Condolences to his Family, he was a great man.

I would like offer my deepest and am sorry for your loss I’ve met Bob over the yrs he was an wonderful fellow for sure

Elizabeth, David and families, Remembering your Dad as a fellow teacher and friend. Cherish all of those memories. ❤️

Classmate, Teammate, Soulmate, Best Man, Friend. We know Bob that your favourite bard Robert W. laid out your yearning long ago - ‘There is a land - oh it beckons and beckons, And you want to go back and you will’… ‘It’s the great, big, broad land way up yonder, It’s the forests where silence has lease; It’s the beauty that thrills me with wonder.’ Rest in peace Wayne and Rochelle Neal

Rest in Peace

Our sincere sympathy, Elizabeth and David, on your dad’s passing. He was a kind and respected man who gave generously to his community and to all the students who were fortunate enough to have benefited from his guidance. Our condolences to all the family. Rest in peace, Bob.

Foxy was a special guy and a devoted, caring friend . The many special times we enjoyed as friends together will forever live with me. I admired especially Foxy’s devotion to his students and his family. He truly cared for the welfare of others. P

My condolences to all of Bob’s family and friends, especially David, Elizabeth and their families. We hope that time with friends and family will help ease your grief, and that stories will be told to keep his memory alive for many years to come.

My deepest sympathies to Elizabeth and David. He was a great man that was respected and loved by many. Connie and Dennis Toth and Family

A huge personality whose passing can hardly be expressed in words. The motto of Rotary International is “Service Above Self”. Bob lived this in his school life and community contributions both. Many teachers and even more students owe him so much for his supportive ways and his lack of fear in confronting where necessary. “Confronting is caring,” he often said. One mother, dealing with a tough to handle son, once said to me, “ I have spoken to Mr. Fox and he has promised me that he will keep a careful eye on my boy and intervene when necessary. I am so thankful.” Thank -you Bob. We all owe you.

Our condolences to the Fox family. He was a good man.

My sympathy to Elizabeth (Scott), and David. I worked with Mr Fox at BDHS for many years when I was the school’s Attendance Clerk. He was a great man in general and to work with.

RIP my dear friend Mr Bob Fox I was blessed and honoured to have had the opportunity to meet you as your companion-care giver. I will miss your singing, whistling ,your beautiful laughter and our walks together. You were always a real perfect gentleman and I will miss you forever. 🖤 💔 My condolences to all the Family.

I have a huge respect for Bob Fox and family. My deepest condolences. 💐

Our deepest sympathy for your loss, our thoughts and prayers are with you.

Condolences to David and Elizabeth, Mr Fox was a very good man and role model.

“Bob” Fox was a giant of an administrator in the Kent County Board. He was loved and feared by many of us young teachers and coaches but he had our deep respect. Now there was a man who could manage and organize a well-run Secondary School!! I saw the magnanimous community man when he was working to make the Capital Theatre a reality. What a building!! What a tribute to him!! Sincere condolences to the Fox family! They do not make administrators like Bob Fox any more!!

Bob has been and always will be one of the true heroes of my life. His courage, tenacity, and generosity were beyond compare, and the way he lived his life defined the word 'altruism'. What he did for all of us at the Chatham Capitol Theatre project was an absolute feat of moral strength, and I will never forget him.

So sorry for your loss. Bob was a good VP and an even better neighbour. You will be dearly missed

Elizabeth & Scott, and David. Thomas, Grace, Katie, and all of Bob's family. You have so eloquently painted the portrait of this great man. Bob and of course Lynn, played such a wonderful part in my life. As I have stated many times - you were next-door neighbours who became lifelong friends. We are so blessed to have had Bob, and Lynn, in our lives. They both will remain in my heart, and in my memories forever. Love, Myra & Don, and Shayna

Dear Elizabeth and David - so sorry to learn of your dad’s passing. We had some fun times working together, even more so when we found an error he had made. He worked extremely hard so that everyone he meet, he could name them and share something with them. I’m sorry I can’t make the celebration but my thoughts and prayers are with you both. Again my deepest condolences to all.

My sincerest condolences to Mr. Fox’s family.

Elizabeth, Scott, David and families. We are so sorry to hear of Bob's passing. He was a wonderful caring man. Please accept our condolences and hugs.

So sorry to hear of Bob's passing. He was a teacher at BDHS when I was a student there and when I worked in the office there after graduation. Both he and Lynn were friends.

Fox family, I’m so sorry for your loss. Mr. Fox was the first one to show me how to be a goalie. He made this folder full of pictures, diagrams and explanations about goaltending. I remember studying that quite a bit as a novice and atom goalie. He was always there for some words of encouragement or a high five. I have the utmost respect for Mr. Fox. Rest in peace Mr. Fox