In memory of
Lester J. "Les" Fox
In memory of
Lester J. "Les" Fox
Lester J. “Les” Fox Aug. 08, 1924 - Oct. 11, 2016 SOUTH BEND - Lester J. (Les) Fox, 92, of South Bend, IN passed away on October 11, 2016 at 2:35 a.m. in the Sanctuary at St. Paul's in South Bend, IN. He was born on August 8, 1924 in Chilton, Wisconsin to John and Lillian (Bowe) Fox. Along with his parents, he was preceded in death by five brothers, Raymond, John, Robert, J. Henry and Leo Fox. He is survived by his sister, Laurine Wilke, of Portage, Wisconsin and hundreds of great friends. Les is also survived by a legacy of service and leadership. Les was a U.S. Navy Veteran of World War II. On July 19, 1949 Les married the love of his life, Viola Kurtz. Viola preceded him in death on August 4, 2002. Les devoted his life of service not only to the citizens of South Bend, Indiana, but to the country as a whole. Mr. Fox was employed by the Studebaker Corporation from 1944 until the closing of the plant in 1963 where he served as a union leader and held the position as vice president of Local #5 of the International Union of United Automobile Workers. The closing of Studebaker led him to a new career as an advocate for the unemployed, the elderly, and the underserved. Mr. Fox became the director for Project ABLE in 1963, a program that developed and implemented a network of services for unemployed older workers. Then, in 1965, Mr. Fox officially joined the War on Poverty and was hired by Sergeant Shriver to establish the Regional Office of Economic Opportunity in Atlanta, Georgia. His charge was to implement the Economic Opportunity Act, introduced by President Lyndon Johnson in 1964. In May of 1966, Mr. Fox returned to South Bend and became the President and CEO of REAL Services, Inc. He testified before congress and helped lead the effort to pass the Older Americans Act. Initially the agency studied the needs of the elderly but REAL Services became much more. Under his direction, REAL Services was designated as the Area Agency on Aging which allows the agency to serve older adults in 5 counties. In 1990, became the Community Action Agency, serving low-income families. Les served on numerous Advisory Councils and Boards throughout Indiana. He served as Program Consultant to the U.S. Department of Labor, the United States Senate Committee on Aging and the National Council on Aging. He was awarded the Sagamore of the Wabash from Governors Orr, Bayh, O'Bannon, Kernan and Daniels. This award is the highest honor bestowed by the governors of the State of Indiana. In 1996, Mr. Fox was inducted into the South Bend Community Hall of Fame. After almost 41 years as President/CEO of REAL Services, Les retired on March 1, 2007 at the age of 82. During his retirement he served as a volunteer for the Sister Maura Health Clinic, St. Joseph Regional Medical Center, St. Joseph County Auditor's Office and REAL Services. Les loved the game of golf and enjoyed the game well into his 80's. He enjoyed the friends who played alongside him as much as the game itself. He would often say that the anticipation of playing a round of golf was as much fun as playing the game of golf. Les was very proud that he “shot his age” on more than one occasion. Through the years Les Fox has been an articulate and forceful advocate for those less fortunate. He led by example and mentored many others through this commitment and dedication. His essence is really best described by his own words. The following is an excerpt from a speech that he gave in 1996: “We as a people have thrust upon us great burden of responsibility - greater than any generation that has ever lived Few of us individually will be able to shape our society, but each of us can work to change a small portion, and in the total of all of these acts, will be written the history of our generations. The future of our society may lie beyond our vision, but not beyond our control.” Visitation will be from 4-6 p.m. Wednesday, October 19, 2016 at Kaniewski Funeral Home, 3545 N. Bendix Drive, South Bend, IN, where a Funeral Service will follow at 6:00 p.m. Wednesday in Kaniewski Funeral Home. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to REAL Services, P.0. Box 1835, South Bend, Indiana 46634. To send online condolences, please visit www.kaniewski.com ... Show More
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