John Dana Fox

HANCOCK POINT and Gainesville, Fla.

John Dana Fox, 89, passed away peacefully Sunday, Dec. 31, 2019, in his new abode in Bar Harbor. He was born in Evanston, Ill., Feb. 24, 1930, son of the late George F. and Helen D. Fox.

John was a graduate of the Lawrenceville School and received a bachelor’s degree in physics from Princeton University and earned a Ph.D. in physics from Washington University, St. Louis. John had a career in particle physics and served at Nuclear Particle Accelerator Labs in the U.S., Germany and Switzerland — at the Brookhaven National Lab on Long Island, the Deutsche Elektronen-Synchrotron (DESY) Lab in Hamburg and at the CERN Lab near Geneva, respectively. This was cutting edge science in the ’50s. He understood the abstract theories easily and could explain them to us kids in a way we could understand. With others, he was the first to measure the magnetic moment of the antiproton. Earlier, John served as a commissioned officer in the U.S. Navy, primarily on the U.S.S. Ammen (DD-527), a destroyer. John was a private pilot.

He was best known for his cheerful manner, love for his extended family, especially the children, and all things fishing and boating. Having no children, he enjoyed time with his niece and nephews and, in turn, their children and grandchildren. He loved to play with the littles. He was always ready when they visited, had games, toys, boats and treats ready to go. He was a welcoming host at Treetops in Maine, Palm Terrace in Gainesville and in Palm City, Fla., and took large groups of family and friends on vacations often. John was bright and he enjoyed conversing on many subjects with his extensive knowledge and good memory. For the older group, he relished spirited conversation and liked to play the devil’s advocate to promote debate, even when he had to promote an unpopular position to do so. John loved to be on the water, including sailing, fishing and adventures on powerboats. He explored in “Boatie,” a tiny sloop rigged skiff, as a boy in Summer Haven, Fla., in the Half Moon on the Hudson, where he resided on the shores of the Tappan Zee; and in Boston Whalers throughout intercoastal Florida, Downeast Maine, on the Kanawha and Elk rivers, W.Va., and on Pamlico Sound, N.C. He was always happy and smiling when aboard any vessel. Among his many adventures, he and some teenage mates sailed the 18-foot sloop Bridget and a sister ship from Hancock Point to Roque Island without charts and without mishap. He also canoed to Long Porcupine Island by moonlight on a less than calm night, just for fun.

John was close to his maternal home in Charleston, W.Va. He summered there as a boy and for the last several decades. He was a board member of Kanawha Roxalana Co., a private firm that brought him back to Charleston, maintaining his connections with numerous cousins.

John is survived by his sister, Katherine Fox Burnett; niece, Bridget Hanson; nephews, John Burnett and Ben Burnett; five grandnieces and nephews; and by their four children in turn. He was predeceased by sister, Helen.

There will be a memorial service and gathering in Hancock in early June.

Arrangements by Jordan-Fernald, 113 Franklin St., Ellsworth.

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