Purposeful flights with Jack Fox

by | Jul 14, 2022 | Trending News

Beverly and Jack Fox.

A ‘jack-of-all-businesses,’ Jack Fox is currently enjoying life flying, fishing, boating, and playing gin rummy and tennis. He also supports many projects at Ohef Sholom Temple as well as hospitals and museums/performing arts venues in Florida, where he splits his time as a part-time resident of both Boca Raton and Virginia Beach.

Educated as an industrial engineer, Fox ran a bakery and owned a motel in Norfolk, the Tidewater Auto Auction in Chesapeake, and a couple of Exxon service stations in Virginia Beach.

He recalls how he got started in business in 1973. “I left my position as a manager in a large company, and with little money, moved my family to the small town of Emporia, Va. There, I put a down payment on a small bakery operation with six employees.” The bakery made honey buns, cinnamon buns, and small cakes for other bakeries, supermarkets, and vending machines. Ten years later, his company had 400 employees, three bakery plants (Kingsport, Tenn., Baltimore, Md., and Emporia) and 45 tractor-trailers that delivered products from Boston to Miami and west to Chicago. Then, he discovered a way to be even more efficient. “During this period, I found I could do the work of three men by flying an airplane between the plants and visiting customers over this wide area.”

Fox was trained as a pilot through the GI Bill after his Army service. In 1957, he received his degree in Industrial Engineering from Lehigh University, and in 1959 finished the final training and was awarded his pilot’s license. This year marks his 63rd year of flying.

“While I have flown many types of aircraft, for the past 25 years, my wife Beverly and I have owned and flown our Beechcraft Baron twin-engine six-seat aircraft,” he says.

“We have enjoyed flying it across the country and up to Alaska, over the Atlantic Ocean to Tortola in the Virgin Islands. One hot Virginia Beach summer we decided to fly north until we could find a place that the temperature was in the low seventies. That flight took us to Western Newfoundland where we spent a week in cool weather.”

Fox has a hangar at both the Norfolk and the Boca Raton airports to house his Baron.

His most interesting story about flying might just be his volunteer work as a pilot for a charity known as Angel Flight. Pilots donate their time and their aircraft to fly medical patients (many with cancer) to destinations where they can get specific medical treatments or participate in clinical trials. These patients cannot afford the cost of travel, and the volunteers fly them at no charge. The program also services wounded military veterans, where the pilots fly them to their homes for visits when the government does not cover the cost.

“One interesting Angel Flight was a mission to fly a young couple and their baby from Norfolk back to their home in New Jersey. The baby had been treated for a rare medical problem at the Children’s Hospital in Norfolk,” he says. “I arrived at the airport to find the couple was Jewish and the husband was a young Hasidic rabbi. They were apprehensive about the flight and as we approached the airport near his home, the weather closed in and we had to descend through the clouds. I looked at the young rabbi seated next to me, and he was feverishly praying and davening. As we broke out from the clouds and the runway was in sight ahead of us, he shouted loudly, ‘Baruch Hashem!’ As I parted ways with them on the ground, I will never forget his words to me: ‘Jack, no harm will ever come to you when you are doing this work because God is your co-pilot.’”

Debbie Burke