Louis Fox, auto dealer, quiet philanthropist

Louis J. Fox, a founder of Fox Chevrolet who also headed the Associated Jewish Community Federation of Baltimore and its national counterpart, the Council of Jewish Federations, died yesterday of heart failure at Sinai Hospital.

Mr. Fox, who was 83 and lived in Pikesville, was still chairman of the automobile company he and his late brother, Robert Fox, started in 1933 on Hanover Street in South Baltimore.


He had been company president before becoming chairman in 1966. In 1972, the dealership moved to Woodlawn, and, in the 1980s, established dealerships elsewhere selling different brand cars.

Mr. Fox served three years in the late 1950s as president of the old Jewish Welfare Fund and in 1965 and 1966 as president of the Associated Jewish Charities. The groups merged and later became the Associated Jewish Community Federation of Baltimore.


He continued to be a director for The Associated. That group's president, Darrell D. Friedman, described him as having "an elegant modesty" and as giving to those in need "without seeking recognition or reward for his charity."

Mr. Friedman cited the Jill Fox Memorial Fund which was set up in 1960 after the death of a daughter as a "fund of last resort for people with serious medical needs."

Mr. Fox was president of the Council of Jewish Federations in 1966, 1967 and 1968.

Philip Bernstein, retired executive vice president of that national organization, described Mr. Fox as "a truly extraordinary national leader, very creative and innovative." He cited Mr. Fox's desire to involve young people in community affairs and the fund that he and his wife established for yearly courses for the federations' young staff members.

Mr. Fox also had been president of the Baltimore Hebrew Congregation, the first president of its Parents' Association and a member of the executive board of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations.

He had been a director of the University of Baltimore and of Sinai Hospital and South Baltimore General Hospital, now the Harbor Hospital Center.

His community work, which began in the 1930s, included service as the first president of the Jewish Community Center, a regional chairmanship of the national Conference of Christians and Jews and fund raising for Israel and for units of what is now the United Way. He also was a founder of the Jewish Historical Society of Maryland.

And he had been vice president of the Suburban Club.


Born in Baltimore, Mr. Fox was a 1929 graduate of City College and served in the Army during World War II.

He was named to the City College Hall of Fame.

He was the 1971 winner of the Brandeis Award of the Baltimore District of the Zionist Organization of America and was honored by other groups.

Services were to be held at 2 p.m. today at the Baltimore Hebrew Congregation, 7401 Park Heights Ave.

He is survived by his wife, the former Dorothy Newman; a daughter, Shirley Scholder of North Haven, Conn.; and three grandchildren.

The family suggested memorial contributions to the Jill Fox Fund at the Associated Jewish Community Federation of Baltimore.