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A monk of Assumption Abbey Father Richard Fox, the son of James Fox and Margaret (Russell) Fox, was born on July 30, 1933 in Chicago, Ill., and departed this life on Jan. 5, 2008, at the age of 74 years, 5 months and 5 days.
Father Richard died at his home at Assumption Abbey outside Ava, minutes after his monastic brothers had gathered around his bed to pray in mid-afternoon.
Father Richard was a monk of Assumption Abbey, a Roman Catholic monastery of the Cistercian Order near Ava, since moving from the New Melleray Abbey in Dubuque, Iowa in 1954.
In the late 1960s and early 1970, Father Richard pursued academic degrees at St. Thomas University, St. Paul, Minn., and at Notre Dame University, Ind.
At the Abbey, Father Richard served as director of novices and as treasurer. His principle contribution, though, was his talent as a singer. For decades, until his decline in 2002, Father Richard was the cantor for the monastic liturgies.
Father Richard was a generous and faithful friend and a compassionate listener. He also had a terrific, if somewhat unusual, sense of humor. He loved to laugh, and up to the last days of his life and in his weakest state he was ready to laugh and to find the humor in things.
In the monastery, Father Richard was devoted to the ancient monastic practice of holy reading. He spent regular daily periods at reading and meditation, and the fruits of his prayer came out in his homilies at Mass, but especially in the honest way he lived and related to people.
Father Richard spent the last four years of his life in residence at Mercy Villa, Springfield. There he was loved by the staff. Even when he could do nothing for himself, he preached the Gospel by his cheerful patience, his ready smile, and his evident gratitude to all who served him.
He was preceded in death by his parents; two brothers, Dr. Donald Fox and Father James Fox; and a sister who passed in infancy.
Father Richard is survived by his brother, Peter Fox, of Mishawaka, Ind.
Funeral Mass was held on Jan. 8, at 10 a.m., in the Assumption Abbey Church with Abbot Mark Scott officiating. Interment followed at the Assumption Abbey Cemetery. Local arrangements were conducted by Clinkingbeard Funeral Home; Ava. Online condolences may be made at www.clinkingbeardfuneralhome. com.