RISMEDIA, Dec. 4, 2007-G. William “Bill” Fox, passed away on December 1, 2007, age 66, at his home in Medford, New Jersey, surrounded by his loving family, and after a 17 year battle with Huntington’s Disease, a debilitating neuron-degenerative disease. He is survived by his beloved wife, Sandra Williams Fox and children, G. William Fox, Jr. (Marianna) of Medford, New Jersey, Tacie Fox (Michael Ratliff) of Washington, DC, Liza Fox Lyons (Christopher) of Medford, and Sara Fox (Thomas Cutbush) of Philadelphia. He was the devoted grandfather of Sara, Erik, Alexander, Nancy, Nicholas, Christopher, Sydney and Elizabeth. Bill enjoyed spending time with his extended family, including his dear brother, Frederick S. Fox, III of Cherry Hill, Mary Fox Zwally of Harrisburg, and Jane Fox of Mt. Laurel.
Fox attended Haddonfield High School for two years, and then transferred to and graduated from The Peddie School in 1959. After graduating from Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut in 1963, he joined the family’s real estate business that his grandfather had founded in Philadelphia in 1886, Fox & Lazo, Inc. Bill helped grow the business from 8 agents in 1963 to over 3,000 agents in 2003, when it was recognized as the dominate firm in the Philadelphia tri-state area, and the 4th largest privately owned residential financial services firm in the nation.
When Fox was diagnosed with Huntingdon’s disease in 1996, he gathered his family and closest business associates and told them. After a period of consultation and soul-searching, and recognizing that he might soon be impaired, Fox then embarked on a journey to find a suitable company with strong management with which to partner. Fox’s search was fruitful and as 1997 drew to a close, Fox & Lazo merged with Roach/Wheeler, a family firm led by Larry Flick and Chip Roach, with a strong presence in Pennsylvania. The merged entity left Fox as Chairman and largest shareholder, with Larry Flick as CEO, running day to day operations. Fox’s stature was such that he disclosed his condition to all the agents and was completely transparent about what he was facing. Despite his own personal tragedy, Fox championed the growth of the company and in 1999 helped drive the acquisition of the Prudential franchisee in Philadelphia. That acquisition doubled the size of the company and Prudential Fox & Roach became the dominant player in the area and the largest Pudential franchisee in the country. In 2000, he was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award by the national real estate industry at RISMedia’s Annual Real Estate Leadership Conference.
With his business and family future secure, Bill, Sandy and Tacie began devoting considerable energy and effort to promoting the organizations that were dedicated to finding a cure for Huntington’s Disease, a disease closely linked to Alzheimer’s, ALS and Parkinson’s disease. They established the Fox Family Foundation that supported clinical trials, diagnostic and screening research, and conferences where Nobel Prize winners and other leading biochemists, geneticists and physicians could share ideas and fruitful avenues for further research. Bill also spent more and more time with his children and grandchildren sharing with them the wisdom that can only come from recognizing that no day on Earth should be squandered.
Fox continued as Chairman of Prudential Fox & Roach, but realized that his strength was waning. With the same foresight and determination that had marked his career as a business leader, Fox told his partners that it was time to sell. He helped organize the deal team representing the sellers and appointed his long-time friend, Sam Kirschner, to head up the effort. On Christmas Eve, 2003, the company was sold to his partners, led by current CEO, Larry Flick, in a management team buy-out that had the financial backing of Prudential. Bill’s son, Bill Fox, Jr. continues to run the NJ Title business of Pru Fox.
Fox continued with his charitable, spiritual and family oriented activities until the day he passed. He was a recognized leader in community service and served for many years on the Board of the Ronald McDonald House, Cooper Hospital, Core-States Bank, the Haddonfield Methodist Church, the HD Society of America and South Jersey Young Life. He touched many so deeply that their lives were transformed in the process. We grieve for his passing yet know that he has returned to the light from where he can continue to watch over those he loves.
Relatives and friends are invited to the viewing on Wednesday, December 5th from 6pm – 9pm at BRADLEY FUNERAL HOME, Rte 73 & Evesham Rd, Marlton, NJ. Funeral services will be held at 11am Thursday at the Haddonfield Methodist Church, 29 Warwick Rd, Haddonfield, NJ. Interment will be private. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be sent to the Hereditary Disease Foundation, 3960 Broadway, 6th Floor, New York, NY 10032, where a special fund will be set up in his honor to fund research to find a cure for Huntington’s disease.