William Edward ‘Ed’ Fox, 97, of Wilmington, died peacefully in the Lord on Wednesday, April 20, 2016. Born August 12, 1918, near Cornersville, Tenn., Mr. Fox was the son of William Edward Fox Sr. and Hallie Clark Fox of Lewisburg, Tenn.
After graduating in civil engineering from the University of Tennessee in May 1942, he joined the Army Air Corps in July 1942 as an aviation cadet in meteorology. He received his military training and instruction in meteorology at the University of Chicago, Illinois. In May 1943, he was commissioned a second lieutenant weather officer in the 21st Weather Squadron and assigned to William Northern Airfield in Tullahoma, a training facility for fighter pilots.
In February 1944, he was promoted to first lieutenant and later traveled to England and was assigned to the 53rd Troop Carrier Wing at Greenham Commons Airfield near Newbury, England. The invasion of Europe (June 6, 1944) occurred during this time. Mr. Fox was under the command of General Eisenhower when the paratroopers were launched on the night of June 5, 1944, and his mission was to provide weather forecasts for the troop carrier pilots who were dropping paratroopers and supplies to advance troops.
During January to June 1945, the 53rd Troop Carrier Wing moved to Melun, France, near Paris, and Mr. Fox was instrumental in forecasting weather conditions for the aerial drops of supplies for General Patton’s division. Mr. Fox was promoted to captain in May 1945. Shortly afterward, he was assigned to weather offices in Frankfurt, Bremerhaven and Stuttgart, Germany and continued to provide weather forecasts for flights, military activities and the general public. He returned to the U.S. and was honorably discharged in March 1946 and began working in Wilmington as a civil engineer.
In 1947, Mr. Fox married Mary Daniel Carr of Wilmington. During Mr. Fox’s career as a hydrologist and meteorologist, they lived in Fort Worth, Texas, Washington, D.C., Augusta, Ga., and Atlanta, Ga. His work eventually led him to serve as the director of the Southeastern River Forecast Center for NOAA in Atlanta. After his retirement in 1980, Mr. Fox became a consultant to the United Nations working on flood control overseas, including in China and Pakistan. Mr. and Mrs. Fox moved to Wrightsville Beach in 1986 and later to nearby Wilmington. Mr. Fox was a member of Pine Valley Church of Christ as well as the American Society of Civil Engineers, American Geological Society, National Society of Professional Engineers and the American Meteorological Society.
Mr. Fox was preceded in death by his parents and his sisters, Doris Fox Cantrell of Cornersville, Tenn., and Beverly Fox Cathey of Lewisburg, Tenn.; and his beloved wife of 59 years, Mary Daniel Carr Fox.
He is survived by his two sons, Daniel Carr Fox, and his wife, Tammy, of Raleigh and Dr. William E. Fox III of Raleigh; and three grandchildren, Lindsay Caroline Fox, William Carr Fox and Samuel Becker Fox.
Mr. Fox was dedicated to his family, loving wife, church, and to helping others, whether it was by providing tax advice to seniors or his generous donations to many charities. He enjoyed nothing more than sharing stories and laughter with his two sons. He was an inspiration to all who knew him, and he will be greatly missed by his family and friends.
A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. Saturday, April 30, at Pine Valley Church of Christ, 3601 S. College Road, Wilmington. A private burial will be held in Sunset Cemetery, Littleton.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests that memorials may be sent to Pine Valley Church of Christ, The Davis Community, or a charity of your choice. The family wishes to thank the staff of The Davis Community healthcare center and his dear friend, Mary McLamb, for their kind and loving care.
As Mr. Fox said in his retirement speech, ‘Old hydrologists never die, they just float away.’
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