Lester Franklin Fox, age 91

Lester Franklin Fox, age 91, passed away November 25, 2020 at his home in Clinton.  He was a longtime member of First Baptist Church of Clinton.   Survived by his wife of 70 years, Iris Frankie (Mickey) Fox; sons, Bruce D. Fox (Mary Jane), Terry W. Fox (Tara), and Jeffrey Todd Fox (Melissa Gail); grandchildren, Ryan Elizabeth Hollingsworth (Jamie), Mary Welch Fox Stasik (Ryan), Francis Lauren Fox Pettit (Andrew), Justin David Fox, Jacob Todd Fox (Taylor), Sherry Fox, and Bailey Christian Fox.   

Born on August 2, 1929, Lester was the youngest of nine children and began working at age 14 driving a wrecker during WWII.  After the war, he drove a coal truck and helped with Fox Bus Company transporting workers to the plants in Oak Ridge.  He eventually got a job at K-25 in the early 1950s.  From there, he went to work selling cars for his brother, Eugene Fox.  In 1966, his brother was awarded the Toyota franchise for East Tennessee.  Following his brother’s death in 1968, Lester became the Toyota dealer, and in October 1976, he obtained the Oldsmobile franchise.  Ultimately, the Lester Fox family had 12 automobile franchises in Anderson County.   Lester loved selling cars and served his industry in numerous roles during his long and successful career, including President of the Southern Olds Family, Vice President of the Tennessee Automotive Association (from which he received the Andrew Jackson Outstanding Achievement Award), and as a member of the General Motors National Dealers Council.  He also served his community as a member of the President’s Council of the Civitan International Foundation, the Board of Directors of the Methodist Medical Center of Oak Ridge, and the Board of Directors of Clinton Utility Board.  In 2012, he was inducted into the Anderson County Hall of Fame.  He was a proud member of the Shiner’s Kerbela Temple and the Royal Order of Jesters.   His joy in selling cars was deep and unmistakable.  He had a remarkable memory and could recall a car he had sold to a customer more than half a century ago, including the year, make, model, and usually the color.  He always enjoyed seeing the excitement on the faces of his customers when the deal was done, whether it was a first-time car buyer or a senior citizen who’d bought many cars in the past.  To Lester, they were equally important because customers became part of his “family.”   

Anyone who spent time around Lester quickly learned he was a consummate storyteller who could amuse any audience, large or small, with tales from his life.  They usually focused on the people and places of Anderson County and East Tennessee and could bring both a smile to your face and a warm feeling to your heart.   

The family would like to offer special thanks to his caregiver, Rosa Palacios.   

Due to the current COVID 19 constraints, a formal service and Celebration of Life will be held at a later date.   

Holley Gamble Funeral Home in Clinton is in charge of all arrangements.  Online condolences may be made at www.holleygamble.com

About Jim Harris

Jim Harris has been WYSH's News & Sports Director since 2000. In addition to reporting local news, he is the play-by-play voice for Clinton High School football, boys' and girls' basketball and baseball. Catch Jim live weekdays beginning at 6:20 am for live local news, sports, weather and traffic plus the Community Bulletin Board, shenanigans with Ron Meredith and more on the Country Club Morning Show on WYSH & WQLA. Jim lives in Clinton with his wife Kelly and daughter Carolina, his mother-in-law and cats Lucius and Oliver.

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