---- — John L. Fox, 86, of Shelbyville, passed away June 26, 2013 at Major Hospital in Shelbyville.
He was born Sept. 26, 1926 in Shelby County, the son of Thelma B. (Fair) and Wray M. Fox. John was a 1944 graduate of Fairland High School. He then went on to study agriculture at Purdue University. John married Wanda L. Pollitt Jan. 11, 1951.
John lived in Shelby County his entire life, working as a farmer and purebred swine breeder. He was a fan of Purdue sports and the Indianapolis Colts.
In 1936, John began his involvement in the purebred livestock business by purchasing two Poland China hogs for 4-H. It was the beginning of a very successful swine operation. As Mr. Fox became a leader in purebred production, he incorporated Hampshire hogs into his operation.
John exhibited purebred hogs all over the state and country. He won numerous awards, including many Grand Champions, with his quality Hampshires and Poland Chinas. He was the first winner of the Grand Champion Carcass at the International in Chicago and exhibited the Reserve Grand Champion at the show. At the Indiana State Fair, his achievements included Grand Champion Barrow, Carcass, and Pen of Three.
One of his greatest achievements was in 1954. John exhibited the Grand Champion Barrow over All Breeds (with a Poland China named “Spout”) at the Ohio, Illinois, and Indiana State Fairs. No other producer repeated the feat.
John played a vital role in promoting and producing purebred livestock. He also served agriculture and his community in many leadership roles. The following are some of his activities: director on board of National Poland China Association, Indiana Commission of Agriculture and Rural Development, treasurer and president of Indiana State Fair board, director of Indiana Livestock Breeders Association, president and secretary of Indiana Poland China Association, vice-president of Indiana Hampshire Association, president of Shelby County Rural Youth, president of Shelby County 4-H Advisory Council, president of Shelby County Extension Board, vice-president of Shelby County Farm Bureau, president of Shelby County Purdue Ag Alumni, chairman of Farmfest for Shelby County.
John’s awards and honors include: Purdue University Livestock Hall of Fame, Indiana State Fair lifetime pass for exhibiting 50 years, Sagamore of the Wabash (Indiana’s highest honor), Honorary Indiana Commissioner of Agriculture, Distinguished Purdue Ag (every year consecutively from 1952 to 1956), and the Shelby County Jaycees Outstanding Young Farmer award.
John is survived by his wife, Wanda (Pollitt) Fox of Shelbyville; his children, John C. (Karen) Fox of Shelbyville, Melina (Robert White) Fox of Greensburg and Jana (Ted) Everhart of Shelbyville; his grandchildren, Ted F. Everhart, Matthew Wray Fox, Justin Fox, Vanessa Stewart and Trisha Ann Fox; great-grandchildren, Jimmy Gruss, Nathan Everhart and Clair Fox; and his sister, Betty Rose Nelson of Shelbyville.
John was preceded in death by his parents and one daughter, Mara Fox.
A visitation will be held for family and friends from 3 to 8 p.m. June 30 at Glenn E. George & Son Funeral Home in Shelbyville. Graveside services will begin at 11 a.m. July 1 at Asbury Cemetery in Morristown. Pastor Gwen Pew will be officiating.
Memorials can be made to Liberty United Methodist Church and Shelby County 4-H Advisory Council c/o the funeral home.