Josef W. Fox

Philosophy and Humanities Faculty

Josef Fox, former UNI professor of philosophy and humanities, died of a heart attack August 7, 1980, at his Peacham, Vermont, home, seven months after his retirement.  Fox, who taught at UNI for thirty-two years, had dedicated his entire teaching career to the betterment of the institution Fox joined the Department of English and Speech at UNI (then known as the Iowa State Teachers College) in 1947.  In the years following, he was instrumental in developing both the general education and humanities programs at the university. For years Fox wrote the controversial "Obiter Scripta" column for the College Eye, the student newspaper which later became the Northern Iowan.  In this column, he quite freely expressed his criticisms of administrative policies, causing much controversy at times. Fox was born in Lebanon, Pennsylvania, in 1914.  He obtained his B. A. degree in 1937 from Pennsylvania State University, and his M. A. in 1938 from Louisiana State University.  He was awarded the Ph. D. degree in English from the University of Chicago in 1953, and did post-doctoral study at Harvard University. During World War II, Fox served in both the US Army and the US Navy.  He was married to Priscilla Kakis in New York City in 1944. Fox received the "Favorite Teacher" award several times during his career at UNI, a reflection of his extreme dedication and love for his students.  He retired from the UNI Department of Philosophy and Religion in December 1979, and moved to Vermont with his wife. He is survived by his wife; two brothers, Paul, in California, and Carl, in Pennsylvania; and a sister, Kathryn Bemesderfer, in Ohio. Memorial services were held at 4 P.M. Wednesday, August 27, in the Education Center.  Speaking at the ceremony were Thomas Thompson, professor of philosophy and religion, H. W. Reninger, former head of the Department of English, and J. W. Maucker, former UNI president, all long-time friends of Fox. Copyright Northern Iowan, August 29, 1980, p. 4. TO: All Faculty and Staff FROM: Margerette Eby, Dean College of Humanities and Fine Arts DATE: August 21, 1980 Professor Emeritus Josef W. Fox, 65, died of an apparent heart attack Sunday, August 17, 1980, at his retirement home in Peacham, Vermont. Dr. Fox was born November 20, 1914, in Lebanon, Pennsylvania, the son of Kathryn Eva and Peter L. Fox.  He attended school in Lebanon, earned his A. B. degree in 1937 from The Pennsylvania State University and his M. A. from Louisiana State University in 1938.  He was awarded the Ph.D. degree in English from the University of Chicago in 1953, and also did post-doctoral study at Harvard University. He served with the United States Army and the Navy during World War II, and married Priscilla Kakas in New York City, March 30, 1944. Dr. Fox joined the then Iowa State Teachers College Department of English and Speech in 1947.  He retired in December, 1979, from the Department of Philosophy and Religion, as a professor of philosophy and humanities, to reside with his wife in Peacham. Dr. Fox had devoted his entire teaching career to UNI.  He was instrumental in the development of the University's general education program and of the two-course Humanities sequence encompassing the history of Western Culture.  He also was interested in, and developed a course on, "The Present Predicament of Mankind," which grew from twenty-five students the first time it was offered to 110 in the final session last fall. He was several times the recipient of the "Favorite Teacher" award by students, and for years he wrote the controversial "Obiter Scripta" column in The College Eye, and later the Northern Iowan. Dr. Fox is survived by his wife, two brothers, Paul in California and Carl in Pennsylvania, and a sister, Kathryn Bemesderfer, Hamilton, Ohio.  He was preceded in death by his parents and a brother, Peter. His body has been cremated.  Memorial services will be held at 4 m. Wednesday August 27, 1980, in Education Center 244-45.  Professor Thomas Thompson, former President J. W. Maucker, and Emeritus Professor H. W. Reninger will speak during the service. The flag will be flown at half-mast during the time of the services. Contributions to the Josef Fox Scholarship Fund may be made in care of the UNI Foundation, 137 A&I Building, University of Northern Iowa, Cedar Falls, Iowa 50614.