The Duke University basketball team lost its most passionate and devoted fan last week. Pat Fox was so much more than a fan of his alma mater’s team, and this short obituary cannot possibly fully honor and convey the great life he led and the huge loss now felt by his family. Pat was a wonderful family man. He was a trusted son, brother, husband, father, Papa, uncle, and friend. His humor, high intelligence, integrity, warmth, and gentle nature will be missed by all who knew him and loved him. We are so very blessed that God selected us to share his life, and we will reserve a place for him in our hearts until the end of ours.
Patrick Clayton Boyd was born in Roanoke, VA to Hazel and Russell Boyd. Sadly, his father died while serving in the US Army in France during WWII, and the two never met while on this Earth. After the war, Hazel married Robert Fox, a wonderful man and veteran, who later adopted Pat and raised him as his own son. When Pat was nine years old, the Fox family was completed by the birth of his sister, Robbie. Pat loved his family, and his family loved Pat.
The Fox family moved to Charleston, WV where Pat graduated in 1961 from Charleston High School where he was a National Merit Semifinalist. Pat was highly intelligent but also genuinely humble. He was a proud graduate of the Duke University class of 1965 where he was a member of Phi Kappa Psi fraternity. Of his academic record, he often joked that he was lucky to get into Duke and even luckier to get out! Pat took great pride and joy in cheering Duke on to win 5 national basketball championships during his lifetime. He loved sports and was a skilled athlete who played first base for the Duke freshman baseball team. He didn’t play after his first year so he could focus more on his academics. This allowed time for him to take an elective course called golf which later became a lifelong pastime and passion.
Pat met the love of his life, Kathi, in Auburn, NY when his GE coworker and friend, Hartley Hurst, introduced him to his daughter, who was a summer intern. Kathi’s parents chose Pat as her suitor and always found an excuse or two to have Pat get to know her. One time, while at a company picnic, Hartley was insistent that Pat give Kathi a ride home (even though Pat had brought another as his date to the event). They had a short courtship followed by a 7-week engagement and were married in Camillus, NY in 1968. Pat loved his wife, and his wife loved her husband.
Over the next 10 years, Pat and Kathi lived in Schenectady, NY, Peabody, MA, and Cary, NC before finally settling in Hendersonville, TN in 1978. They raised their 3 children in a loving and very active home. Pat was involved in all of the kids’ activities including coaching them in several sports. He was a great father and encouraged his children to reach their full potential in all of their life pursuits. When the grandchildren arrived, Pat earned the reputation of being a baby hog because he always insisted that he hold the babies. He adored the next generation and attended multiple academic award ceremonies, dance recitals, music performances and sporting events to support them and their achievements. Pat looked forward to annual family beach trips to North Carolina where the entire family gathered to spend a week with each other. He was always appreciative that everyone wanted to vacation together…it is the source of many of our family stories and favorite memories. Pat loved his children, and his children loved their Dad.
Pat had a very successful career in corporate accounting and finance. He was employed by General Electric for 19 years and then made several moves during his 50+ year career including: Empire Berol, Baird Ward, Shrader Automotive, Datrek and Sona MedSpa, until he finally retired as the CFO of Tasti D-Lite. He often described his last job at Tasti D-Lite as his best job due to the family culture and mutual respect extended to all. Pat worked so hard during his life and paid many professional dues in order to provide for his family. He and his adorable wife (as he affectionately called her) provided a wonderful childhood for their family full of love, for which they are all eternally grateful. Well done, Pat.
Pat was an avid golfer and a long-time member of Bluegrass County Club. He successfully shot his age on two different occasions, the last time when he was 78. Pat also had a hole-in-one during a tournament. In addition to playing with his close golf buddies on Saturday mornings and traveling with his senior golf group, Pat loved to play golf with his family. He made many special memories playing in events and tournaments with his beloved wife, Kathi, his father-in-law, Hartley, and his son, Kevin. Pat and Kathi traveled with close friends Linda and Charles to play golf in nearby states, making countless memories on and off the course. After he retired, Pat and Kathi were also fortunate to go on several cruises with their close friends. Pat loved his friends, and his friends loved Pat.
Pat had a great sense of humor and very dry wit which perfectly complemented his intelligence and drive for achievement. He knew and told countless jokes (many of which are now out of date), with a twinkle in his eye. Pat was fun loving and so enjoyed making his grandchildren laugh, telling them “dad jokes” long before that term was popular. A fan favorite was the one about the wide-mouth frog! Pat loved his grandchildren and his grandchildren loved their Papa.
Pat was a long-time member of Hendersonville First United Methodist Church and served for many years on the finance committee.
Pat was preceded in death by his dear parents, Russell Boyd, Hazel and Robert Fox; his parents-in-law, Hartley and Lorene Hurst; brothers-in-law Bobby Hurst and Eddie Sutton; and sister-in-law, Ellen Jacobs.
He is survived by his loving wife of 55 years, Kathi; sister, Robbie Sutton; children, Amy (Steve) Holtermann, Kevin (Brencie) Fox, Sara (Andrew) Henderson; grandchildren, Mia Holtermann, Ella Holtermann, Brody Armstrong, Clara Fox, Rachel Fox, and Harper Fox; sister-in-law, Judie Shain; brother-in-law, Harry (Nina) Hurst; nieces and nephews, Elizabeth, Ted, Kristine, and Ryan; the entire Holtermann family; and many close friends.
A visitation will take place at Hendersonville First United Methodist Church from 4:30-6:30 pm on Friday, September 8. A Celebration of Life will be held at HFUMC on Saturday, September 9 at 2:00 pm with visitation preceding from 12:30-2:00.
HFUMC Address: 217 East Main Street, Hendersonville, TN 37075
As a tribute to Pat, in support of his alma mater and favorite team, visitors are encouraged to wear Duke University colors of navy blue and white. And don’t worry, anyone wearing “Carolina blue” will also be warmly received (probably).
In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made in Pat's honor to Hendersonville First United Methodist Church 217 East Main Street, Hendersonville, TN 37075 (https://hfumc.org/give).