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Charles Fox

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Charles Fox

June 28, 1935 - July 16, 2016


Lost a good one today! Charlie Fox who lived in Ladysmith on Vancouver Island died today, July 16th, at the age of 81. Charlie had a life full of experiences, mostly centered on social justice. He was a Lutheran minister, a probation officer, historian, songwriter, poet, musician and father. Born on the prairies, he lived across the west and finally settled in BC.
Charlie‘s life began in Regina, Saskatchewan. His first marriage to Donna Milne gave him three sons: Randi, Duane and Sheldon.  They were subsequently gifted with 10 grandchildren: Randi & Jeannette have Lydia, Eva Rae, Etta; Duane with Ann Marie had Sadie, Levi, Trinity; Sheldon with Joanne had Dallas, Cody, Donnalee and Destyne, and 1 great-granddaughter Aniya. 
In 1961 after his studies and internship Charlie was ordained in Regina in the Lutheran church and his ministry took the family to Southern Saskatchewan and Northern Manitoba. Music was a passion for Charlie and Donna, and they began to perform and compose their own songs and music in the early 1960s.  Charlie was a “Social Justice” advocate before it was an acceptable option among the clergy.  His unconventional style and his early work with First Nations upset traditionalist church people so Charlie took a break from ministry. His desire to continue this work led to his career as a Probation officer in Northern B.C. 
In the 80s, recognizing that Charlie’s early work with First Nations had been ahead of where the church was at that time, he was invited to return to ministry in Regina, and then later to Saskatoon heading a “Native Ministry” ecumenical outreach. He was innovative and again ahead of his time promoting the dynamic of the “worship circle” where various religious cultures could share their stories.  His signature song “Red Willow” was written with Donna on a trip to historic Batoche. Many other songs followed telling the philosophies and stories of the First Nations and Métis. In the 90s Charlie and Donna went their separate ways.  
After retiring again from the ministry, Charlie became a financial planner. While in Saskatoon Charlie met and later married Verna Conway. They lived in Kelowna for a number of years, travelled extensively and eventually retired to Vancouver Island. In 2010, Charlie was predeceased by his beloved Verna. They were both active at Hope Lutheran Church in Nanaimo, where Charlie hosted the folk music scene with a monthly Coffeehouse gathering of local musicians at the “Red Willow Café.”  
Charlie was also a member of the Ecumenical Task Force on Latin America, which promoted education and action on justice issues especially in Central America.  
One powerful song was composed in honor of slain Catholic Archbishop Oscar Romero, and Charlie was invited every year to sing his song at the annual Romero Commemoration event at St. Andrew’s United Church in Nanaimo. At a protest in Vancouver Charlie sang this song on the sidewalk outside of the American Consulate, which drew the attention of the security guards.  
Charlie was also passionate about worker rights. His song “A million tons of coal” denouncing the coal barons and their treatment of the miners was always an essential ritual of the annual Joseph Mairs Memorial in Ladysmith.  
At the age of 70 Charlie and a small group cycled across Canada from Victoria to Newfoundland, mainly as a challenge, but as usual with Charlie he gave this tour a justice theme through song raising awareness about mental health. 
Charlie had a distinctive musical style that will be missed by all. His songs remain powerful calls for justice and peace. Thank you Charlie for your songs, your passion, your commitment and your friendship. Charlie Fox – Presente!! 

Celebration of Life event 2 pm Saturday, July 23rd at the home of Duane Fox at 
4820 Hillbank Road, Cowichan Bay BC

2 pm Celebration of Charlie’s Life & Music: 
You are welcome to share Brief reminiscences & music as you feel moved – no dreary music.
3pm Refreshments
Potluck “Wake” to follow for those who wish to linger

Hosted by Randi Fox 250 681-3691 & Duane Fox 250-415-7959 
Donations in Charlie’s name to: www.kairoscanada.org/donations#commemorative

Written by Phil Little
friend and brother


Send a condolence, light a candle and/or share a memory, click "Send Condolence". Once your message has been approved by the moderator it will be posted to the website.

From: H.W. Wallace Cremation and Burial Centre Staff

H.W. Wallace Cremation and Burial Centre Staff send our condolences to family and friends.

From: Alan and Audrey Lomax
Relation: Red willow Coffee House

Sorry to hear of the death of Charlie. He gave us the opportunity to perform at the Redwillow Coffee House on many occasions.

Service Schedule

  Funeral Service

Date & Time:
July 23, 2016
Beginning at 2:00pm

Fox Residence
4820 Hillbank Road
Cowichan Bay, BC Canada

4820 Hillbank Road
Cowichan Bay, BC Canada

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