Sunday, March 19, 2017
3:00 to 6:00 pm
Hamilton's on Westown Parkway
3601 Westown Parkway
West Des Moines, Iowa
Monday, March 20, 2017
First Unitarian Church
1800 Bell Avenue
Des Moines, Iowa
Dallas Center Masonic Cemetery
Dallas Center, Iowa
Hamilton's on Westown Parkway
3601 Westown Parkway
West Des Moines, Iowa 50266
James B. Fox
James B. "Jim" Fox, 74, of Dallas Center, Iowa, and Nisswa, Minnesota, died on March 12, 2017. Born in Des Moines, Iowa on November 16, 1942, to Lawrence "Pete" and Carolyn (Luther) Fox, Jim was the 5th generation of his family to live and work in Dallas Center.
Jim graduated from Dallas Center High School in 1961. His stellar GPA propelled him into a major of American Studies at Grinnell College, where he graduated with his B.A. in 1965. After college, Jim returned home to Dallas Center to join his father Pete, and grandfather Harry, at Fox Insurance, which was founded by Harry in 1911.
In 1964, Jim married Johnnie Ruth Edmondson, whom he met at Grinnell. They had two children, Leslie and John. The marriage ended in divorce, and in 1979, he married Anita (Anderson) Ellerman, whom he met at church. Anita died from cancer four years into the marriage. During their marriage, Jim was a loving parent to Anita's children, Sarah and Alex Ellerman. Throwing all caution to the wind, and following the "third time's a charm" rule, on June 27, 1987, Jim married Lynn (Belcher) Smith, whom he also met at church. He became a parent to her two children, Ryan and Kathryn Smith.
In 1996, Jim purchased the abandoned depot in Dallas Center and renovated it into his dream office. He relocated the agency into the Minneapolis and St. Louis Railway Depot, and in 2011, Fox Insurance celebrated its 100-year anniversary. In addition to managing Fox Insurance, Jim was the Assistant Manager of Dallas Mutual Insurance Association from 1971 until 1982, when he became Manager. In 1988, he became President of its Board of Directors until his death. Jim retired in 2016, and following his retirement, he and Lynn divided their time between their home in Dallas Center, which was once owned by his grandparents Fox, and their summer home at Gull Lake.
Jim's hobbies included riding trains, looking at trains, reading about trains, listening to train engines, watching train videos, talking to people about trains, attending conferences about trains, chatting with train conductors, engineers, and track inspectors, meeting other people who enjoyed trains, listening to songs about trains, train whistles, train memorabilia, train books, train magazines, train photography, train ringtones, and buying train accessories for Lynn. He was indeed a ferroequinologist.
A 3rd generation Rotarian, Jim was a Paul Harris Fellow and member of the Dallas Center Rotary Club for over 50 years. His grandfather Russell Luther was a founding member of the Adel Rotary Club, and his grandfather Harry Fox was a founding member of the Dallas Center Rotary Club. If it was a Tuesday in Dallas Center, it was Rotary day!
Jim's favorite place to be was at the lake. Built by his great-grandfather L.M. Macy in 1922, the family cabin at Gull Lake is located "up north" in Nisswa, Minnesota. As a boy, Jim spent summers at the lake learning how to drive the boat and water ski. As an adult, nothing brought him more enjoyment than sharing his love for the lake with his children and grandchildren. Laughter, joy, good times, and generations of memories were shared at the lake because after all, the cabin is where family happens.
Jim never missed an opportunity to visit with folks. He loved his family and his community, and was highly invested in both. He was a kind man with a big heart. He had a quick wit, a warm smile, and was never shy about sharing a compliment or a hug. He was a logophile with a colorful vocabulary, and a quirky sense of humor. His life’s goal was to "retire to a life of running with the devil at night, and walking with the Lord in the morning."
Jim is survived by his wife Lynn; four children, Leslie Fox of Kaneohe, Hawaii, John Fox and his wife Laura, of Kaneohe, Hawaii, Ryan Smith and his wife Jamie, of Des Moines, Iowa, and Kathryn (Smith) Murray and her husband Josh, of St. Paul, Minnesota; four grandchildren, RJ Uyehara, Jaden Fox, and Tyler Uyehara, of Kaneohe, Hawaii, and Maya Murray, of St. Paul, Minnesota; and one sister, Pam (Fox) Warren and her husband Larry, of Minnetonka, Minnesota.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Lawrence and Carolyn Fox; two grandchildren, Briana Uyehara and Dylan Uyehara; and Charlie the cat, whom he secretly liked all those years.
Visitation will be held on Sunday, March 19 from 3:00 pm - 6:00 pm at Hamilton's on Westown Parkway, 3601 Westown Parkway, West Des Moines, Iowa. A Memorial Service will be held on Monday, March 20 at 1:00 pm at the First Unitarian Church of Des Moines, 1800 Bell Avenue, Des Moines, Iowa. A reception at the church will follow. A private burial will be held at a later date.
In lieu of flowers, kindly consider making a donation to either, The Center for Railroad Photography and Art www.railphoto-art.org or The First Unitarian Church of Des Moines www.ucdsm.org. Cards and/or notes may be sent to the family at P.O. Box 607, Dallas Center, Iowa 50063.