Evelyn “Evie” Fox of Niceville went home to heaven on July 11, 2020, after a courageous battle with cancer.
Born to George and Annie (Bernsen) Hoelscher on Dec. 18, 1945, she grew up on a farm in Violet, Texas in a family of 12 children. She earned a bachelor’s degree in sociology from Our Lady of the Lake University in San Antonio in 1967, and not long after married the love of her life, Paul Fox, after he returned from a tour of duty in Vietnam. The couple embarked on the adventure of military life together, traveling around the country and around the world with their two sons.
When Paul was assigned to Eglin Air Force Base in 1980, Evie threw herself into community involvement, volunteering at her sons’ schools and serving many local charities. She lent her marketing skills to a number of organizations, coining the name “Bridgeway” for the local provider of mental health services.
In 1981, she began writing for what was then known as the Playground Daily News. Her popular column graced the paper’s Friends and Neighbors section for many years, winning her the nickname “The Erma Bombeck of the Emerald Coast.” She later hosted a local radio talk show and worked as a freelance writer.
After earning a master’s degree in counseling and human development from Troy State University, Evie went to work for the Healthy Start Coalition of Okaloosa and Walton Counties. As the organization’s executive director, she helped launch the annual “World’s Greatest Baby Shower” – a hugely successful event that provides information and gifts to expectant and new mothers in the area. During her career, she and her staff provided invaluable educational, medical, and emotional support to local families in order to ensure that their newborns got off to a “healthy start.” Her influence extended throughout the state when she served as the chairwoman of the Florida Association of Healthy Start Coalitions as well.
In 2017, the Okaloosa County Commission on the Status of Women recognized Evie’s service to the community by inducting her into the Okaloosa County Women’s Hall of Fame.
Evie was a Catholic by faith. She is survived by her beloved husband of 52 years, Paul Fox; sons Sean and Ryan (Shelly); and numerous friends and relatives who will miss her dearly.
A Memorial Mass is scheduled for 10 a.m. on Monday, July 27 at Holy Name of Jesus Catholic Church, 1200 Valparaiso Blvd., Niceville, FL 32578.
Floral tributes are appreciated, or donations may be made in Evie’s memory to Niceville Catholic Outreach, 1200 Valparaiso Blvd., Niceville, FL 32578.
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