Jean Fox

Jean Fox of Knoxville passed away peacefully in her sleep on July 30 surrounded by her family. She was 88.

A funeral Mass for Mrs. Fox was held on Aug. 7 at All Saints Church.

Born and raised in New Jersey, Mrs. Fox excelled at swimming at an early age, competing at the state and national AAU levels while keeping up stellar grades and cheerleading. In 1953 her academic and athletic achievements earned her a scholarship to Purdue University, swimming for the Lafayette Swim Club on behalf of Purdue, from where she graduated in 1957 with a degree in physical therapy.

She met her husband of 65 years, Robert D. Fox, at Purdue on a blind date in 1956 and they were united in love and marriage on Sept. 14, 1957. They were blessed with children Christina, Teresa, Daniel, Michelle, Gregory, Christopher, and Bridget followed by 14 grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.

Mr. and Mrs. Fox and their ever-growing family would move several times as Mr. Fox’s career as a chemical engineer with Dow Chemical Co. took the family from Michigan to Virginia, Minnesota, and eventually Knoxville in 1975.

During their early years, Mrs. Fox joined her husband in the Catholic faith to serve the parishes in which they lived, where she was a member of the Diocesan Council of Catholic Women, choir, Meals on Wheels, and numerous study groups. Her spirit of service included volunteering as swim coach, chaperone, librarian, and chauffeur for her children’s many school and athletic events.

She instilled a passion for all things aquatic in her children, whom she taught to swim before they could walk. She pursued swimming throughout her life and taught all ages and abilities, including lifeguarding and water safety instructor classes, infant-mother swim classes at the Westside YMCA, and coached the Knoxville Catholic High School, Deane Hill Country Club, and Village Green swim teams. She joined the U.S. Masters Swim Club in 1974, competing successfully in her events into her 70s, including at the Senior Olympics. She was a cancer survivor and remained active in the local Masters chapter as secretary-treasurer until age 80.

She was a beloved daughter of Richard and Florence Sager of Verona, N.J., and is survived by her sister, Cheryl Sager Thompson of Macedon, N.Y., in addition to her family.

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