Gene Fox

Gene Fox

  • Funeral Date: 4/23/16
  • Funeral Time: 10:30AM
  • Date of Birth: 7/22/30
  • Date of Death: 4/15/16
  • Funeral Location: Church of St. Dominic - Northfield

Eugene (Gene) Fox

Long time Northfield High School English Teacher, Gene Fox, died Friday, April 15, 2016 at home with his family.

Gene was born July 22, 1930, the oldest of 16 children to Wilbur and Anastasia (Rustemier) Fox in Bancroft, Iowa and was always proud to have been raised in the “Garden Spot” of Iowa.

A 1948 graduate of St. John High School in Bancroft, Gene attended St. John’s University, Collegeville, MN Class of 1952.

After college, Gene entered the U.S. Navy and upon his discharge, he and Claire Liesch married in New Ulm, MN on December 28, 1954.

Gene attended graduate school at the University of Minnesota followed by his first teaching assignment in Walnut Grove, MN in 1955.

In 1958, he began his career as an English Teacher at Northfield High School, retiring in 1989.

While having an impact on hundreds of high school students, Mr. Fox also mentored college students preparing to become teachers as adjunct professor of English Teaching Methods at Carleton College in the 1970’s.

Gene’s interests and activities included serving in a variety of capacities for numerous organizations; Red Cross Blood Mobile, Friends of the Library, United Way Board, Northfield Arts Guild President, and the Minnesota Council of Teachers of English. Gene and Claire volunteered to conduct communion services for residents of the Northfield retirement communities through St. Dominic Catholic Church. He enjoyed gardening and attending his grandson’s sporting events.

Gene and Claire spent time at a lake each summer, traveled and were constantly reading. Many recall the Foxes walking around their neighborhood, throughout the Carleton College campus and in town.

Gene is survived by his wife of 61 years, Claire, daughter Mary O’Boyle (Brian), Aurora, CO., sons Mike (Barb Spurrier), Northfield, Patrick (Michelle Stanton), Lakeville, five grandsons; John O’Boyle (Sasha), David O’Boyle, Charlie Fox, Sam Fox, and Jack Fox, and his great-grandson, Aidan.

Brothers and sisters, Joan Harper (Jerry), Dave (Jean), Larry, Gerald (Rose), Joe (Kathy), Mary Patterson (Art), Katie Buff, Mike (MaryJo), Pat (Rita). Sisters-in-law, Kathleen Fox and Betty Fox (Bernie). Also survived by brothers-in-law Tom Liesch (Gloria) and Phil Liesch (Sue) along with many nieces and nephews.

Gene was preceded in death by infant sons John and Steven, parents Wilbur and Anastasia, mother and father-in-law Victor and Hilda Liesch. Brothers Jim, John in infancy, Bill, Roger, Bernie, Richard. Sister-in-law Judy Fox and brother-in-law Roy Buff.

Visitation 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. Friday, April 22, St. Dominic Catholic Church 104 Linden Street N., Northfield, MN 55057.

Memorial Mass will be held at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, April 23 at the Church of St. Dominic in Northfield.  Gene’s final gift was donating his body to Mayo Clinic for educational studies and research for future generations.

Memorials preferred to St. Dominic Catholic Church, St. John’s University, Friends of the Northfield Library, Northfield Hospice.

Arrangements are with the Bierman Funeral Home.


  1. Lorie Tuma

    Robert and I have wonderful memories of your father, Gene, as a teacher and mentor. He was a great and caring man and will be truly missed.

  2. Amos and Joan Hard

    Rest in peace Gene , we have many fond memories of Gene as a great story teller, friend and teacher.

  3. Eleanor Salisbury

    Gene was a person who made his students enthusiastic about writing. I believe that he also taught a very popular class about Mark Twain.

    He taught all of my children and step-children. He was one of the teachers that they shared stories about around the dinner table.

    I even took a course he taught in writing for teachers. One assignment was, “Tell about one of the teachers that you remember the best.”

    I looked forward to the comments he wrote between the lines and on the borders of my papers. As always, a good teacher makes the student want to share a story and improve his/her writing.

  4. Mark Porter

    In my work today as a school superintendent I do a great deal of public speaking. I still rely heavily on the lessons learned in Mr. Fox’s speech class. He was a truly great teacher. Married for 61 years speaks volumes as to his character as well. Well done.

  5. Julie Hall Hays

    Mr. Fox was one of those teachers I will remember forever. I’m sure everyone in the Hall family had him for English in school. Great man and a nice man.

  6. Kevin Giebel

    Mr. Fox was a dear friend and close teaching colleague of my parents, Arnie and Kay Giebel. A man of class and impeccable character, he remains a respected role model for generations of NHS students.

    The Giebels send their best wishes to the Foxes in celebration of Gene’s life and career.

  7. patricia lamberty imai

    He had a gift for teaching, always bringing out the best in students. Rest in peace.

  8. Dolores Haupert Inman

    Gene graduated from St. John’s a year before me. His brother, Jim, was a classmate of mine.
    Sorry to hear the news.

  9. Don Robinson

    I well remember Mr Fox as we knew him. I was one of his students on his first teaching job at Walnut Grove. He was a young, but very well respected teacher. I remembered that he was from Bancroft Iowa. This past summer I was traveling near Soda Hot Springs, Idaho, and there is a small community there by the name of Bancroft. I always think of Gene when passing that sign. May he rest in eternal peace. I am sure he will be remembered and be respected by many.

  10. Beth Fangmeier

    Mr. Fox continues to be one of the teachers who I remember best from my years at NHS. I have fond memories of both him and his classes.

    My thoughts are with his family and friends at this time.

  11. Laurie Henning-Johnson

    On behalf of the Henning family, our sincerest and deepest condolences on the passing of Mr. Fox. We have fond memories, not only to his dedication as a teacher, but as a member of St. Dominic’s church. Gene would visit our father, Roy, at Three Links while he was there and those visits were a highlight for our father. We pray for peace and blessings upon the Fox family as you navigate these coming days, weeks and months. May your memories carry you through and know that Gene is forever in our blessed Father’s hands. Peace to each of you. ~ The Hennings.

  12. Gene Fox is my example of a classroom teacher. In the role of a most important educator he inspired all five of my kids. We talked about him as a teacher and colleague at most of our family gatherings. Gene and Claire were such a loving and friendly couple. They are my ideal. In my struggle to remind the world of our profession I’ve used Gene as a star in a great faculty in Northield.

    My hatred for retirement will be even tougher now that he has left us.

  13. Dick Viken

    Gene Fox was a fabulous teacher. A real professional. A role model for the rest of us. What a privilege to also have had him as a wonderful friend. A real life to celebrate.

  14. Terry Rydberg

    “Mr. Fox” made school a great place to be. I LOVED his teaching style, his sense of humor and his plaid sport coat. Gene was in his late 30s when I had him as a teacher, and although I thought he was “really old,” I also thought he was really cool. Thank you, Gene, for putting up with us during the turbulent 60s and 70s and creating a positive classroom environment where we could grow intellectually and emotionally. Thank you to his family for all the evenings and weekends he spent writing creative and relevant curriculum, and thoughtfully evaluating our work. He was an incredible teacher and I wish I had let him know how much I loved his class when I was still a self-absorbed high school student.

  15. Pauline Lentner

    Dear Patrick, Michelle and family,

    My deepest sympathy. Eternal rest grant onto his dear soul. I will see you Friday.


  16. Mary Ann Rustemier Coady

    I am sorry to hear of Gene’s death. He was a year older than me. I graduated from St. John High School in Bancroft with his brother Jim. I was always proud to call his brothers and sisters my first cousins. RIP

  17. Duane Brayton

    I have many fond memories of Mr. Fox at Walnut Grove High School 1956 & 1957. I remember him telling of his train trip to Mexico City over Christmas break one year. He was a good teacher and a good man. Well done.

  18. Joyce & Richard Moore

    Mike, Barb and to the family of Gene Fox. Sorry for you loss, you are in our prayers and thoughts.
    Gene Always had a smile on his face whenever I saw him.

  19. John & Christine Worwa

    Pat, Michelle & The Fox Family,

    We are sorry for your loss. Our thoughts and prayers are with all of you.

    God Bless,

    John & Christine

  20. Ken Warner

    Gene ande I were colleaues on the NHS staff for 19 years, I considern him and indpiration and a master teacher wihouts a rival.
    He was a great friend and the MVP of an outstanding staff in the 70’s and 80’s. I treasure our time together.

    My sympathies to his surviving family. Much affection
    Ken Warner

  21. Ron Williams

    Our Condolences to the Family and Friends
    From the NHS Class of 1962
    We too want to pay tribute to Gene Fox, who we all loved and respected as our junior year English teacher. Each of us was impacted in different ways by this man whose class and sense of humor made every day in the classroom an educational experience. We all admire Gene’s thirty-one year teaching career at NHS. For years after 1962, many of us got to know Gene as a friendly citizen of Northfield who served in many volunteer positions. Great men live great lives and leave their imprint on the memories of all those who knew them. Few great men have a major influence on several thousand teenagers. The members of the NHS Class of ’62, now all more than 70 years old, extend out tribute to Mr. Gene Fox.

  22. Gene and I were first cousins and grew up together in Bancroft. I
    graduated one year before Gene and we were in sports together and
    we were like brothers. Gene had a great since of humor and I am not surprised he was a great teacher. My wife and I met Claire and Gene years ago and Claire you have our deepest sympathy for
    your loss.

    Ann & Bill