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In Downsville home and at church, Fox served many

September 11, 2005|By MARLO BARNHART

Editor's note: Each Sunday, The Herald-Mail will run "A Life Remembered." The story will take a look back - through the eyes of family, friends, co-workers and others - at a member of the community who died recently. Today's "A Life Remembered" is about Iva V. Fox, who died Sept. 2 at the age of 97. Her obituary appeared in the Sept. 3 edition of The Herald-Mail.

marlob@herald-mail.com

Named after a family friend, Iva Bowers Fox always bristled when someone called her "Ivy."

"Mom hated that name," said daughter Linda Fox, "and when someone called her Ivy instead of Iva, she'd make a reference to poison ivy."

Iva Fox died Sept. 2 at age 97 and, according to Linda, she was clearheaded almost to the end.

Raised on a farm, Iva told her children that she rode a horse to school when she was young.

"She said when she got to the school, she would turn the horse around and send him home," Linda said.

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Iva married a farmer, C. Ambrose Fox, in 1926, and they lived and farmed in Downsville during their time together. Her husband died in 1964.

Together, they had three children. Glenn Fox was 7 when his brother, Don, was born. Eight years later, Linda came along.

"We all grew up in Downsville," Glenn said. He said one of his strongest memories of his mother and his childhood centers around the family table.

"People would come at mealtime and whether they were a friend or a stranger, they'd always sit down for a meal," Glenn said. "It didn't matter whether it was one person or five, no one ever went hungry at her table."

The farming life was hard, but Iva always would work hard to either can or cold-pack the harvest from the farm so there always was food in the pantry and on the table.

"We often had family live with us, and there was always room," Glenn recalled.

Their mother's reputation as a cook was known far and wide.

"People would come and bring steaks to mom if she would fry them," Linda said. She cooked her meats low and slow, covered with a lid to keep in the juices.

In the wintertime, Glenn said he remembers that beef that had been butchered would hang in a room over the kitchen before there was refrigeration. All winter long, meat would be cut from that beef to serve at family meals.

While her children were young, and even after they were grown, Iva devoted a lot of time and energy to her church, Downsville Christian Church. According to her pastor, the Rev. Luz Maiuri, Iva was the oldest member of the church, having joined in 1919 when she was 11 years old.

"The church was a big part of her life," Linda said, noting that her mother was a deaconess for many years.

"She liked to visit shut-ins, and often made things and took them to these people around the holidays."

Seasonal cookies or flowers often accompanied Iva on her visits. She also crocheted afghans and other items as gifts.

Iva's influence extended well beyond her family, as was evidenced in the remarks by the Rev. Delancy Catlett at her Sept. 6 funeral service.

"Iva will long be remembered as a witty, friendly Christian jolly lady who has influenced the lives of many and will remain as an example of Christian life for us all," Catlett said at the service.

Iva lived 52 years in the same house in Downsville. In 2001, she entered an assisted living facility, then moved to Coffman Nursing Home.

Searching back through his memory, Don said Fasnacht Day, just before Lent, always was a special day for him ... and for anyone who happened by the Fox home that day.

"She made doughnuts, maybe 200 or 300 in one day," Don said. The doughnuts were handmade and rolled out separately. She then hooked the ends together.

As the years went by, the cooking memories of Iva's kitchen ensnared another generation. Grandson Rusty Fox said "Nanny" always made either a red velvet cake or a peanut butter pie on his birthday each year.

Glenn, Don and Linda got together the day after their mother's service and exchanged their warm, yet bittersweet memories.

"The history book is gone now," Linda said, referring to their mother's remarkable memory of the past.

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