Mark Louis Fox passed away on Thursday, November 20, 2014, at the age of 96. He was born in Fowler, on April 23, 1918, the son of Urban and Dorothy (Feldpausch) Fox. He married Marie Rehmann on July 26, 1943 in St. Johns, MI, and she preceded him in death on December 12, 2010. Surviving Mark are his children, Don Fox, Bob Fox, Dianne (Patrick Mullins) Fox, Beth (Terry) Kret, and Michael Fox; grandchildren, Nicole, Amy, and Sara Adams, Marcus, Jennifer and Andrew Kret, Mark Fox, Joe Mullins and Ann Mullins, great grandchildren, Stella Kraus and Cooper Kret; brothers, John (Shirley) Fox and Louis Fox; half-brothers and sisters, Rosemary (Gideon) Marsal, Jim (Bernie) Fox, Marvin (Sue) Fox, Clare (Nancy) Fox and Marlene (Larry) Kreiger, and sisters-in-law, Dorothy and Ione Fox. Preceding Mark in death along with his wife Marie, are daughter, Marilyn Adams, his parents, step-mother, Martha (Lenneman), siblings, Paul (Helen), Hugo (Lucille), Claude and Lloyd Fox. Mark especially engaged with small children and loved to tease and joke with neighbor kids and those of special friends. He even had two “adopted grandchildren” Carolyn and Madi whose grandpas had passed away.
Mark attended Most Holy Trinity School. At the age of 14 his mother passed away and he left high school to work at home helping care for his father and six brothers. In 2004 Fowler Board of Education awarded Mark a Fowler High School Diploma. In 1939 and 1940, Mark completed flying lessons at Davis Field in Lansing and, with his buddy Larry Motz, purchased a Taylor Craft, 90 horse power 2-seater aircraft with fabric-covered wings and enjoyed flights over Clinton County and central Michigan. March 1941, World War II broke out and Mark was drafted to the US Army – the first person from Fowler.
Following extensive training, Sergeant Fox was assigned to the 92nd Signal Battalion and shipped to Europe in December 1943, where he worked to establish communication systems and operated switchboards as troops marched from Normandy through France, Germany, and Salzburg, Austria. Generals Patton and Eisenhower knew him by name because of his switchboard responsibilities. Throughout his life he recounted in great detail senses numbing details of things he witnessed during that time – including the hell he witnessed at Dachau concentration camp outside Munich, Germany. May 1945 Victory in Europe was declared and August 1945 Japan surrendered. Shortly thereafter he was honorably discharged and sent home for a joyous reunion with his wife Marie and his 13 month old son Don whom he got to meet for the first time. Mark was issued a “Thank-You-America” certificate from the French government for his role he played in liberating the country from Hitler’s armies.
For a couple years Mark worked for his father-in-law at Rehmann’s Clothing Store in Saint John’s. In 1947, the family moved to Fowler when Mark joined his brother Paul and together they purchased Fox Implement, the International Harvester Company franchise owned by their father Urban, and Uncles Martin and Clements Fox. The business previously was known as Fox Brothers and was located in what today is the Dallas Township Fire station on South Main Street Fowler. At this time he took advantage of the GI Bill and completed business classes in Lansing. The business was franchised to sell International Harvester tractors and farm machinery, Gehl farm equipment, Whirlpool appliances, and propane. In addition, Mark and Paul together worked a farm of 60 acres north of town on French Road. In 1985 Paul and Mark sold the business and retired.
There was no higher priority in Mark’s life than his family. He attended kid’s ball games, organized Sunday visits to grandparents and cousin’s homes, picnics at Potter Park Zoo, vacations at Grandpa Rehmann’s cabin at Houghton Lake, and July 4th visits with relatives who lived in Stevensville, at Lake Michigan. He enjoyed hunting with his brothers, sons, and friends, in later years he played golf and pool, he especially liked to play cribbage and found great pleasure winning a round of Euchre or Pinochle, croquet.
Mark was active in the community serving as Fowler Village Clerk, Post Commander of Veterans of Foreign War Post #3733 from 1951-1953, and was active in Knights of Columbus and served as an usher at Most Holy Trinity Church.
In their retirement years he and Marie spent winters in Mesa, AZ with many close friends from Clinton County, visiting children and grandchildren, and traveling to Great Britain, France, Germany, and Austria to visit places he traveled through during WWII.
The Funeral Mass will be celebrated at 10:30 a.m., Monday, November 24, 2014, at Most Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Fowler with Fr. Dennis Howard presiding; burial to follow at Most Holy Trinity Cemetery. The family will receive friends on Sunday, 2-4 and 7-9 p.m., with a rosary being prayed at 3 p.m., and a vigil service at 8 p.m., at the Goerge Chapel of Osgood Funeral Homes in Fowler. Military Services will be provided by VFW Post #3733.
For years Dad talked about the joy and challenge, the freedom and thrill of flying and seeing Fowler from the air. Six years ago, April 2008, on his 90th birthday, he went up with an instructor for a ride over Fowler in a single engine plane for the first time in 68 years. As Dad’s plane flew low and slow over rural central Michigan and the village of Fowler family and friends waved to him from the backyard and he was overcome with waves of joy and wonder and peace.
The song “Soar like an Eagle”, from the album “A voice cries out”, by Dianne Stough, says it all. “ . . . I’ll soar like an eagle . . . the Lord is my strength. He gives rest to the weary . . . and power to the weak. He fills my life with goodness . . . He blesses me with peace . . . He blesses me with peace.” Once again, Mark, Dad, Papa, Brother, Uncle, Friend, Comrade may you soar like an eagle. May you rest in Peace!
The family is being served by Osgood Funeral Homes. Memories and condolences may be shared with family, relatives, and neighbors at osgoodfuneral.com Donations may be made in Mark’s memory to VFW Post #3733.