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Robert W. Fox

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Robert W. Fox Obituary
Robert W. Fox, 79

Professor Emeritus Robert W. Fox, 79, of West Lafayette, passed away on Saturday, January 25, 2014.

He was born July 1, 1934, in Verdun, Quebec, Canada, to the late Kenneth and Jessie Glass Fox. Professor Fox came to the United States in 1952 to attended college at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, NY where he was the goalie on the 1954 NCAA National Championship hockey team - one of the highlights of his life. He received his BS degree in Mechanical Engineering from RPI in 1955, earned his MS in 1957 from the University of Colorado and a PhD from Stanford University in 1961.

His marriage of 51 years was to Beryl Williams on December 15, 1962 in West Lafayette, IN. Following completion of his PhD. at Stanford he joined the faculty of the School of Mechanical Engineering at Purdue as an Assistant Professor. He was subsequently promoted to Associate Professor in 1963 and to Professor in 1966. He was co-author of the undergraduate textbook "Introduction to Fluid Mechanics" first published in 1973 and subsequently through its 8th edition in 2011 - a book published in five languages and used around the world. During his 39 year tenure in Mechanical Engineering he held a number of positions: Head of Fluid Mechanics Group (1964-'71), Chairman, Graduate Program (1969-'71), Assistant Head (1971-'72), Assistant Dean of Engineering for Instruction (1972-'76), Acting Head of Mechanical Engineering (1975-'76), Associate Head (1976-'98). He also served as Chairman of the University Senate 1971-'72. Professor Fox was an active member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers serving (ASME) as a member of: the fluid mechanics committee (1962-'72), a program evaluator (1979-'85), the Council on Education (1990-'94), the Board on Public Information (1992-'04) and the National Nominating Committee (1996-'98). His activities with the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology included serving as a member of: the Accreditation Commission (1985-'90) and the Board of Directors (1990-'93). His memberships included Covenant Church, American Society of Engineering Education (ASEE), Pi Tau Sigma, Tau Beta Pi, Sigma Xi and Delta Tau Delta. He is listed in American Men of Science, Who's Who in Engineering, Who's Who in America, Who's Who in Technology and Outstanding Educators of America.

He served as Faculty Advisor to: Purdue Chapter Tau Beta Pi 1962-'66 and 1982-'86; Pi Tau Sigma 1970-'73; Engineering Student Council 1974-'77; Kappa Delta Rho Fraternity. Professor Fox received the Standard Oil Outstanding Teacher Award in 1967; The Harry L. Solberg Award for best teacher in Mechanical Engineering, 1978 and 1983; the M.B. Scott Tau Beta Pi Exemplary Character Award, 1983 and 1987; the Rensselaer Alumni Association Fellow, 1990 (as distinguished graduate of RPI) and the Donald E. Marlowe Award, ASEE 1993. He was elected a Fellow of ASME in 1993 and ASEE in 1995. After retiring in 1999 Bob and his wife traveled to all seven continents and enjoyed many memorable trips with his family. Surviving along with his wife are a son, David Fox (Kathy) of Franklin, TN; a daughter, Lisa Cloud (Mike) of Brentwood, TN; a sister, Betty Kimber (Brian) of Gravenhurst, Ontario, Canada; four grandchildren, Allison & Andrew Fox and Peter & Sarah Cloud.

A celebration of life service will be held at a later date. In lieu of flowers the family respectfully requests contributions be made to the Robert W. Fox Outstanding Mechanical Engineering Instructor Award, c/o Purdue Foundation, 403 West Wood Street, West Lafayette, IN 47907. You may sign the guest book or leave memories at

Published in the Journal & Courier from Jan. 28 to Jan. 31, 2014
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