DANVILLE - Robert V. "Bob" Fox, 90, of Danville, died at 8:14 p.m. Thursday, October 12, 2017, at Hawthorne Care Center.
Bob was born March 14, 1927, in Danville, the son of George F. and Rhoda Jones Fox. Bob was proud of his parents. They were active in the Danville area community. Bob attributed his success and the many friends he made in Vermilion County to them.
Bob was a lifelong resident of Danville. He grew up on Center Street, and later on Poland Road. For a brief time he attended Cannon and Garfield schools, but spent most of his school years at the old Liberty School on the corner of Vermilion and Liberty Lane. He graduated from Danville High School in 1945, where he participated in cross country and wrestling. While a junior at DHS, he enlisted in the Headquarters Company of the Illinois Militia, commanded by former DHS wrestling coach Lester Bandy, and was called to flood duty in Peoria and Cape Girardeau, Mo. Before graduation from high school, Bob enlisted in the Navy and served aboard the U.S.S. Saidor (CVE 117) during WWII.
Following his service in the U.S. Navy, Bob was employed by Illinois Bell Telephone Company in Danville as a Central Office Technician for 35 years, retiring in 1982. Though he was offered positions in management at Illinois Bell, he declined them to stay in Danville, close to his family and friends.
In addition to his work at Illinois Bell, Bob also served in various public offices throughout his lifetime. After the passing of his father, George Fox, in 1961, Bob was asked to run in his father's place and won the job of Assistant Supervisor of Newell Township and membership on the Vermilion County Board. In 1963, he ran for the position of Newell Township Supervisor, and held that office for 20 years. After retiring from the telephone company in 1982, Bob ran for Vermilion County Clerk, an office that he held until 1990. In 1992, he was once again elected to the Vermilion County Board, serving until November 30, 2016.
Bob married Carryl J. Winfield, on May 7, 1950, in Danville. She survives. He and Carryl met when he installed her telephone, and he called her the finest woman in Vermilion County.
Also are surviving are two children, Teresa (Jim) Novaria of Kalamazoo, Mich., and Kenyon (Susan) Fox of LaGrange, Ill.; five grandchildren, Katie Novaria of Washington, D.C., Andrew (Christine) Novaria of Springfield, Ill., Nathan Novaria of Chicago, Sullivan and Delaney Fox of LaGrange, Ill.; and several nieces and nephews. Bob was very proud of his family and their achievements. He was preceded in death by his parents, and two sisters, Barbara and Dorothy.
Bob was a proud American, and citizen of Danville and Vermilion County. He was active in Republican politics throughout his adult life. Bob believed it was very important to vote in every election, because his father once won an election by just one vote. Bob served as a Republican precinct committeeman for 60 years, and worked tirelessly to get the candidates he supported elected. In 1988, Bob was an Illinois delegate for George H.W. Bush at the Republican National Convention in New Orleans. After Bush's election, Bob and his wife were guests at the inauguration in Washington, D.C. He also ran as an alternate convention delegate for Jeb Bush in 2016.
Bob was a 72-year member of First Presbyterian Church. He was a life member of the American Legion Post 210, where his father signed him up when he joined the Navy in 1945. He served as Commander in 1953, when the present Roselawn Clubhouse was built, and had fond memories of presenting trophies to the winners of the Golden Gloves with Homer Hilleary, and of his father serving as a judge for the Legion at the fights at the old armory on North Hazel. Bob called the Legion his second home.
He also was a 69-year member of the Elks Lodge 332, another group where his father, Elks Exalted Ruler in 1937, signed him up at age 21. Bob was part of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 728; Vermilion County Voiture 405 of the 40/8, the honor society of the American Legion; Telephone Pioneers of America; and Anchor Lodge 980 Ancient Free & Accepted Masons, where he was raised to a Master Mason on March 5, 1964. He was his Navy ship's reunion coordinator for many years, and a Life Member of the Escort Sailors and Airmen Association. He was a member of Danville Noon Kiwanis, where he enjoyed getting speakers for meetings and pouring coffee for pancake day. Bob told of having one coffee pitcher with an R for regular, or Republican, and another with a D for decaffeinated, or Democrat.
Additional memberships include AARP, Illinois Association of County Board Members, and a charter member of the George W. Bush Presidential Center. He was the first chairman of the E-911 board for many years, helping to get it up and running with his telephone experience. He was at one time on the City of Danville's planning and zoning commission.
Bob's greatest honor was in 2005, when the Newell Township and the Vermilion County Boards named a bridge on West Newell, near the boardwalk, after he and the late Harlan Hosch for their 20 years of service to Newell Township. He also was honored by the Republican Party in 2016 at the Lincoln Day Dinner with the Lincoln award statue for his dedication to the party since 1957.
Bob never met a stranger, and so valued the relationships he had over his lifetime with so many people in Danville.
A Celebration of Life will be at 10 a.m. Friday, October 27, at First Presbyterian Church, 100 N. Franklin St., Danville, IL 61832. Reverend Ann Schwartz and Father Richard Lewis will officiate. Visitation will be 4-8 p.m. Thursday, October 26, at Sunset Funeral Home and Cremation Center, 3940 N. Vermilion St., Danville. Burial with military honors will be accorded by American Legion Post 210 at Spring Hill Cemetery. Following burial, a celebration in Bob's honor will be at American Legion Post 210, 201 Prospect in Danville.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the American Legion Post 210 Building Fund, 201 Prospect, Danville, First Presbyterian Church, 100 N. Franklin, Danville, or Vermilion County War Museum, 301 N. Vermilion, Danville.
Please join Bob's family in sharing memories, photos, and videos on his Tribute Wall at www.sunsetfuneralhome.com.
Published on October 20, 2017