Leon Marshall Fox, 98, died Saturday, Jan. 14, at Lower Cape Fear Hospice and Life Care Center in Whiteville following a brief illness.
He was born Feb. 22, 1918, in Ravenel, S.C., the son of the late Barney and Salley Platt Fox. He was one of 11 children. He and his wife of 61 years, the late Evelyn Bolling Fox, made Wilmington their home since moving there in 1948.
Captain Fox was preceded in death by his beloved wife, Evelyn Bolling Fox; and his granddaughter, Amy Lynn Fox Schmitzer.
Mr. Fox’s early interest in aviation led to his becoming a student in the Civilian Pilot Training program operated by Piedmont Aviation Inc. under a contract with the Civil Aeronautics Administration. Soon after his flight training was completed, he joined the Army Air Corps and served as the pilot of a C-47 transport providing support to Allied forces in North Africa in World War II.
After the war Mr. Fox briefly worked for a charter airline before joining the newly formed Piedmont Airlines. On Feb. 20, 1948, he piloted the inaugural flight of Piedmont on a route originating in Wilmington, N.C. and terminating in Cincinnati, Ohio. Thirty years later on Feb. 20, 1978, two days before his sixtieth birthday, Captain Fox retired after piloting his last Piedmont Airlines flight.
Captain Fox continued his association with members of the Piedmont Airlines family through an organization of retired employees known as the Piedmont Silver Eagles, and he served three one-year terms as president of the organization between 1982 and 1990. He also continued his military service following World War II as a member of the U.S. Air Force Reserve and retired with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel.
At the request of Captain Fox there will be no memorial service at this time. Andrews Mortuary is announcing.
He is survived by three sons, Leon “Lonnie” Fox Jr., and wife, Ann of Lake Waccamaw, Donald Fox and wife, Frieda, of Houston, Texas, David Fox and wife, Lisa, of Bellingham, Wash.; one daughter, Chesca Fox and husband, Louis Daniel Duval III, of Littleton, Mass; three grandchildren, Beth (Mike) Fields of Supply, Jeffrey (Robyn) Fox of Sherman, Texas, and Laura Fox (Vale Fitzpatrick) of Lewisville, Texas; one grandson-in-law, John Schmitzer of Wake Forest; eight great-grandchildren, Kate and Jack Schmitzer, Anna and Tanner Fields, Ava and Olivia Fox, Aubrey Tarantine, and Jackson Newman; one brother, Tally Smith Fox of Richmond, Va.; and several nieces and nephews.
The family would like to thank caregiver Mamie Beatty for three years of aid to Captain Fox at Lake Waccamaw. A special thanks to the medical team of NHRMC Adult Inpatient Surgery for the care and compassion they extended to Captain Fox.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the charity of one’s choice.
Condolences may be offered to the family at www.andrewsmortuary.com.