Josie Fox loved music and people and in turn, she was loved by hundreds of students, colleagues and community members.
Sunday from 2 to 6 p.m., a concert will be held on the Village Green in Peace Dale to honor Fox, a long-time South Kingstown High School employee and Peace Dale Congregational Church board member who unexpectedly died in 2013. The concert is free, but donations for the high school’s Community Spirit Scholarship established in Fox’s memory are requested. In case of rain, the concert will move to the high school cafeteria.
The concert will feature the high school Jazz Ensemble, high school a capella group eSKape, Dylan Sevey and the Gentlemen, recent Wakefield Idol winner Olivia Rich, singer Regina DeSalvo, and the Peace Dale Congregational Church Praise Team. High school teacher John O’Malley and his band, Saddle Up the Chicken, also will perform.
“I knew [Fox] from church,” Rich said in an interview. “She inspired me because I am also really interested in the music program at my church. She was an inspiration to me, and was a really kind woman. She really contributed to the community.”
Fox worked at the high school for 24 years. As a secretary in the main office of the high school, Fox was responsible for keeping the financial details for student activity accounts – processing checks for athletics, fundraisers and field trips – and fulfilling a variety of administrative functions. She also was a class adviser and adviser to the Surf Club. Her friendly manner and outgoing personality and excellent listening skills made her a natural mentor to many students. A bench near her desk was a popular stopping point for students, faculty and parents, especially when they needed a lift.
“She was like a magnet for young people,” said Barbara Thompson, event organizer and member of the Peace Dale Congregational Church. “She was a class adviser, even though teachers typically do that. She did confirmation classes. For every single church mission trip, she would go and give up some of her vacation. She just did everything for kids.”
Fox was active in Peace Dale Congregational Church, where she served as president, deacon, youth group adviser and with the choir and bell choir. She also helped to create the church’s contemporary Christian music service, where music is performed by the church’s Praise Team, a band with 12 singers.
“She was so community-orientated,” said Ed DeFusco, director of the Praise Team. “She was one of those people that when she had something on her mind and she wanted to get it done, she would get it done.”
The Praise Team will open the concert Sunday and will share some words about Fox.
“I think the concert is going to be emotional, it’s going to be joyous and it’s just to honor Josie,” Thompson said.