Hamilton Phillips Fox, 93, of Salisbury passed away on Tuesday, November 26, 2013, at his home with his wife, Kathy, by his side. Known to many simply as “Ham”, he was born December 31, 1919, in Baltimore, and was the son of the late Dr. Hamilton P. Fox and Louise Savage Fox.
Ham was a graduate of Randolph Macon Military Academy. He went on the Salisbury Teachers College (now Salisbury University) and later transferred to Washington and Lee University graduating in 1941. He then completed one year of law school at Washington and Lee and transferred to the University of Maryland Law School while working at the Glenn L. Martin Aircraft Plant in Baltimore.
After the attack on Pearl Harbor, Ham enlisted in the United States Navy and was commissioned as an ensign in 1942. He served on a landing ship that ferried troops and equipment to shore during amphibious operations. He served in all major theatres of World War II, including landing at Omaha Beach on D-Day. He was promoted to First Lieutenant, receiving five battle stars, and mustered out in 1945.
Ham resumed his law school studies, graduating from the University of Maryland in 1947, and began the practice of law in Salisbury, Maryland. During his legal career, he was elected States Attorney for Wicomico County for two terms serving from 1948-1956. He was a member of law firm Hearne, Fox & Bailey and in 1982 Ham and John Houlihan founded Fox & Houlihan where he actively practiced until his retirement in 1994. During this legal career, Ham was a member of the American Bar Association, Maryland State Bar Association, and Wicomico County Bar Association. Following the Supreme Court decision in Brown v. Board of Education which ruled that racial segregation of public schools is unconstitutional, Ham and other civic leaders formed the Bi-Racial Commission to desegregate Wicomico County’s schools and public facilities, and Ham served as its Chairman for many years. As a result of the Commission’s efforts, Wicomico County voluntarily desegregated and largely avoided the turmoil that other Maryland counties, such as Dorchester County, experienced.
In 1956, Ham ran unsuccessfully for the U.S. House of Representatives. He remained active in politics throughout the years, including serving as a delegate to the 1967 Maryland Constitutional Convention and to the 1972 Democratic convention.
Active in the community throughout his life, he was a member and director of the Salisbury Chamber of Commerce, President of the County Community Fund (now the United Way), President of the Jaycees, President of the Kiwanis Club, Chairman of the Board of Go-Getters, Inc., a charter member of the Rockawalkin-Ruritan Club, Secretary and then President of the Wicomico Historical Society, Secretary of the Maryland Association for Wildlife Conservation, Inc., a member of the Pemberton Historical Park Board, a charter member of Pemberton Hall Foundation, a member of the Board at the former Eastern Shore State Hospital in Cambridge, and a member of the Community Players, a Salisbury theater group.
Ham enjoyed sailing immensely particularly Wednesday afternoons on the Choptank River aboard “What’s Next”. Last but not least, he was an avid horseman who appreciated the special relationship between horse and rider; who with others founded the Wicomico Hunt Club of which he served as Master for many years, at one point being the longest serving Master in Maryland. Under his leadership, the Wicomico Hunt was nationally recognized by the Masters of Foxhounds Association of America for continuing the great traditions of the sport of fox hunting on Delmarva. Locally, the Hunt had seasonal organized hunts and often appeared at public events with Ham out in front, dressed in his red frock coat and black velvet riding hat, whip in hand always ready to ride to the hounds.
Ham is survived by his wife of 29 years, Kathleen “Kathy” Fox, his three sons, Hamilton P. Fox, III and his wife, Barbara; Jefferson K. Fox, and Davis W. Fox and his wife, Sue; five grandchildren; Duke, Caleb, Gretchen, Adam, and Joshua, and three great grandchildren; Brooks, James, and Harper, the mother of his sons, Evelyn Jefferson Fox, and his cousin, Frances Mezick.
Kathy would like to thank all the wonderful people, especially Tanya Smith and John Zimmerman, who cared for Ham so lovingly these last years.
A funeral service will be held on Monday, December 2, 2013, at 1:00 p.m. at Holloway Funeral Home in Salisbury. A visitation will be held one hour prior to the service. Internment will follow at Springhill Memory Gardens in Hebron.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made either to the Pemberton Hall Foundation, 540 Riverside Drive, Suite 2, Salisbury, MD 21801 or the Wicomico Equestrian Center, c/o Wicomico Parks Department, 28302 Owens Branch Road, Salisbury, MD 21801.
Arrangements are in the care of Holloway Funeral Home, 501 Snow Hill Road, Salisbury, MD 21804. To send condolences, please visit www.hollowayfh.com.
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