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James S. Fox

Died: April 23, 2018

James Sayre Fox died peacefully at home in Des Plaines, Illinois on April 23, 2018, only one month after discovery of rapidly spreading gastric cancer. Jim was born in Evanston, IL to Clarence Eldredge Fox, Jr. and Ruth Sayre Fox. He grew up in Glencoe and graduated from New Trier High School, where he founded the student tutoring program.

Jim graduated from Yale in 1966, was a member of Timothy Dwight College, and majored in industrial administration. He attended Yale on a ROTC Scholarship, and following his graduation, Jim served three years as an officer in the US Navy aboard the aircraft carrier USS Wasp. Upon ending his service, he thought to attend Harvard or Chicago Business School, but was persuaded by a professor-friend that was starting the operations research department at North Carolina State to join him.

Jim was intrigued with the idea of a startup program and being among the first to focus on the relatively new field of operations research. During his time at the university, he received awards for teaching undergraduate courses. He completed his PhD in 1972. Upon graduation, he and his young family moved to Winston-Salem, where he was employed by Wachovia Bank and Trust. He spent the early part of his career as a vice president and internal consultant for Wachovia, building systems and financial models. He then left to serve as a Principal of Limited Interest, Inc., a financial consulting firm. He returned to the Chicago area in 2000, living on the North Shore and continuing his financial consulting career.

He was intellectually curious, as demonstrated by his lifelong habit of reading. His daughter reported he was a voracious reader, and “remembered all that ever read.” And he instilled his own enthusiasm for mathematics in both of his daughters, teaching them through challenging math puzzles and logic problems from the time they were in pre-school into their high school years.

Another aspect of his intellectual curiosity resulted in his discovery of the teachings of “A Course in Miracles.” Beginning with a self-study course, he looked into this spiritual system that sets the possibility of peace and contentment through awareness of love in one’s own life. He was taken with these teachings to the extent that he began to lead, mentor, and teach others in group sessions in the northern suburbs of Chicago.

Jim enjoyed many hobbies, including cooking and travel (with several trips to China). Perhaps his most important passion was playing classical guitar. Jim began studying the instrument in high school, and continued playing, studying and teaching guitar throughout his life. His love of music extended to singing in choirs and playing and singing traditional Irish songs on all sorts of occasions.

Jim will be remembered as a funny, joyful, and steadfast friend, and a gift to all who knew him. He is survived by his partner, Helen Koutoupis of Des Plaines, two daughters by his former wife Janet, and his six grandchildren.

James S. Roberts