To the Editor:
Monsignor William D. Fox served as pastor of St. Aloysius Catholic Church in St. Johnsbury from September 1952 (“Rev. William Fox Assigned As Pastor At St. Aloysius,” The Caledonian-Record, Thur. Sept. 18, 1952, at p. 1) until his spring 1967 retirement “from St. Aloysius [which] was made to clear the way for the establishment of the present St. John’s parish.” (“Rev. Msgr. William D. Fox, Area Educational Leader, Dies,” The Burlington Free Press, Thur. July 11, 1974, at p. 17).
William D. Fox was born on Aug. 30, 1897 in Saranac Lake, NY. A graduate of St. Michael’s College in Winooski, Fox taught both in public schools and at St. Michael’s until his decision to study for the Roman Catholic priesthood. Following his seminary studies in Denver at St. Thomas Seminary, Fox was ordained on May 21, 1932. Then Father Fox assumed the office of principal at Cathedral High School in Burlington, Vt. (the precursor institution to the present-day Rice Memorial High School) from 1932 through 1940. Father Fox was then assigned by Bishop Matthew Brady to serve as pastor at Saints Donation and Rogation parish in Randolph. During his years in central Vermont, Father Fox established mission churches in South Royalton, Pittsfield, and Rochester, Vt. as he also did during his St. Johnsbury years in fostering missions in Danville, Concord, and West Barnet.
A superb teacher and catechist at heart, Monsignor Fox also served as the diocesan Vicar General for the religious and a charter member of the Diocesan Board of Education, serving in those capacities for then Bishop Robert F. Joyce. His pastorate years in St. Johnsbury were marked by his emphasis on Catholic education, outreach to the poor, and a myriad of quiet acts of charity and service for/to his parishioners and townspeople. Named a Domestic Prelate with the title of Monsignor by Pope John XXIII (Pope St. John XXIII), the investiture ceremony for Father Fox occurred on Thursday evening Aug. 27, 1959 at St. Aloysius Church, with Bishop Joyce presiding (“Bishop Invests Monsignor Fox,” The Vermont Catholic Tribune, Fri. Sept. 4, 1959, at p. 1). Monsignor Fox died at age seventy-six (76) at Fanny Allen Hospital in Colchester on Wed. July 10, 1974. Monsignor Fox was laid to rest at Resurrection Park Cemetery in South Burlington. An able and fondly recalled Vermont Catholic priest and an active citizen during his years in St. Johnsbury.
Christopher E. Ryan
Simi Valley, Calif.