CHARLESTON – Retired Marion County Circuit Judge Fred L. Fox II has died. He was 79.
Fox, who died Nov. 27, retired in 2010 after serving 40 years as a circuit judge. He also served briefly on the state Supreme Court. Former Chief Justice Richard Neely appointed Fox to serve for a year in 1995 during the illness of the late Justice William T. Brotherton Jr. Fox also frequently sat as a replacement when justices recused themselves from cases.
A courtroom in the Marion County Courthouse is named in his honor.
Fox was born and raised in Sutton, and his grandfather Fred L. Fox served on the Supreme Court from 1937 to 1952.
Fox was a three-sport athlete in high school and played a year of Division I baseball at Washington and Lee University before transferring to Davis and Elkins College. After college, he served in the Marine Corps from 1960 to 1963. He then attended West Virginia University College of Law, opened a law practice in Fairmont, and joined the Marine Reserve.
He was recalled to active duty and served eleven months in Vietnam, where he was injured by a mortar and shot in the foot Jan. 31, 1969. His left leg was badly injured. He received two Bronze Stars, the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry and a Purple Heart.
Fox returned to Fairmont to practice law and was elected judge in 1970. He was re-elected every eight years until his retirement.
Chief Justice Allen H. Loughry called Fox's death an enormous loss to the court system and his community.
“He was an incredible judge, a strong leader in the judiciary, and an intelligent and kind man," Loughry said. "He was for many years the most senior circuit judge in the state, and other judges often called on him for advice.
"Even after his retirement, he was mentor to many young judges. Our entire court family sincerely wishes his family the very best during this difficult time.”
Justice Margaret Workman agreed.
“Fred Fox was an outstanding judge, and it was a pleasure to serve with him on the Supreme Court for one year," she said. His fairness, intelligence and devotion to duty were top-notch. He loved his work, he loved the law, and he loved his family.
"He was a good friend to me and many others in the judiciary who enjoyed his sense of humor, his insight, and his graciousness. My thoughts and prayers are with his family and his many friends.”
Justice Robin Jean Davis echoed those sentiments.
“I thoroughly enjoyed working with him for the past 20 years," she said. "He was a wonderful judge and a wonderful person.”