Thomas J. Fox, OFM
1917 – 2007
Fr. Thomas J. Fox, OFM, was born on May 4, 1917, in New York City. From 1936 to 1940, he attended St. Joseph Seminary in Callicoon, N.Y. In 1943, he received a bachelor’s degree and in 1946 a master’s degree in missiology from St. Bonaventure University, Allegany, N.Y.
On Aug. 12, 1940, Fr. Thomas was received into the Franciscan Order at St. Bonaventure Friary in Paterson, N.J., and professed first vows there Aug. 13, 1941. He professed solemn vows Sept. 17, 1944, at Holy Name College, Washington, D.C. He completed his philosophical studies at St. Stephen Friary, Croghan, N.Y., and St. Anthony Friary, Butler, N.J., and theology at Holy Name College. On June 9, 1946, he was ordained a priest in Mount St. Sepulchre Friary Church in Washington.
Fr. Tom’s first assignment was parochial vicar at St. Joseph’s Parish in Winsted, Conn., for three years. From 1950 until 2002, he was a missionary in Brazil, serving as assistant, pastor and superior, in various parishes in Anapolis, Ceres, Porangatu, Jatai, and Quirinopolis. He returned to the United States briefly in June 2002 and resided at St. Anthony Friary in Butler. He went back to Anapolis that September only to return nine months later to Holy Name Friary in Ringwood, N.J.
Fr. Tom was a genuinely fun-loving, happy and deeply spiritual man. He was a friar who not only preached about loving one another, but his life was a living example of what he preached. Fr. Tom was a spiritual guide for Sr. Elizabeth Sweeney when she started a group of Franciscan nuns who worked especially with the lepers and the very poor in the state of Goias. He had a great personal devotion to St. Patrick and incorporated that love in his missionary work in Brazil.
He died June 4, 2007, at Holy Name Friary. Fr. Tom was 90 years old, a professed friar for 65 years and a priest for almost 61 years.