Harry William Fox, Sr, 93, passed away Friday, May 20, 2016 near his home in Palm Desert, California.
Harry was born in Saint Clair, Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania. He served six years in the military and became a Communications Officer in the Army Air Corps with the 52nd Bombardment Squadron, Twenty Ninth Bombardment Group.
He flew with well known pilots including Paul Tibbets, who dropped the first atom bomb, the actor Jimmy Stewart, General Tinker, and with General Travis, who requested him as radio operator on many of his flights. He was a Staff Sergeant at 19 and a Master Sergeant at 21.
When his group was transferred from MacDill Field, Florida to Gowen Field in Boise, Idaho, he met and married Pauline Ginder. They were married 73 years. He served time in the Philipines and was in Japan briefly at the end of the war, having flown into Sugi Airdrome near Yokohama days before the ’Instrument of Surrender’ was signed in Tokyo Bay.
After an honorable discharge from the military, he became an air traffic controller for the Civil Aeronautics Association, which later became the Federal Aviation Agency. He started at Boise Airport, then was sent to Malad City, Idaho to run the airport and do weather reports.
While in Malad City in 1952 he rescued a group of men stranded at a mountain weather station in a snow storm. Near this same time he was interviewed on live national radio by Paul Harvey. Later, after moving to Seattle, he was given a ’Medal of Award for Meritorious Service’ by the United States Dept. of Commerce for the rescue. At Seattle Tacoma Airport he directed flights without the use of radar.
But in 1954 he was sent to McChord Air Force Base in Tacoma, Washington as the radar expert, since McChord had the only radar at the time. He trained the radar controllers and was the draftsman who drew the charts that appeared on the facility’s radar screens. He directed flights into Seattle Tacoma Airport as well as military flights into McChord, and flights into industrial and private airports.
In 1961 he became the first president of the Washington, Idaho, Oregon, and Montana Chapter of the Air Traffic Controllers Association. He remained at McChord, taking on a supervisory role for a number of years. He retired early, went back to school, and became a commercial photographer.
He was a former member of Toastmasters and The Elks Club in Tacoma, Washington. He was a Paul Harris Fellow with the Lakewood Rotary Club, also in Tacoma. He loved family, world travel, cooking and entertaining, dancing, sport fishing, literature, music and theatre. He’s survived by his wife Pauline, his sons Harry Jr and David of Coachella Valley, California, his daughter Susan of Port Townsend, Washington, his sisters Mrs. Betty Fox Aipel of South Pasadena, Florida, and Mrs. Jeanette Fox Haslam of Saint Clair, Pennsylvania. He also leaves six grandchildren and six great grandchildren.Print This Post