FOX—Laurie Fox of Florence, Ore., died February 14, 2022, at age 71, in Newport, Ore., from heart and several other health complications.
Laurie was born in Inglewood, Calif., on July 19, 1950, to parents Alma Clark and Norman Fox and was raised in Westchester, Calif. She joined two older sisters, Nancy and Jeannie; the family was completed with birth of younger brother Jim. Laurie attended school in Westchester.
In 1965 Laurie, Nancy and Jimmie flew with their parents to Frankfort, Germany, where they purchased a Volkswagen bus and traveled across Europe to Greece. From there they traveled by ship to Egypt to visit her father’s brother and his
wife, Uncle Paul and Aunt Gladys.
Taking a German freighter through the Suez Canal, they landed in Kenya, Africa, where they drove to Pretoria, South Africa. The family lived in Pretoria for a year as Laurie and Jimmie went to school and their father directed an engineering project. This adventure remained a highlight of Laurie’s life.
After returning to Westchester to complete high school, Laurie joined the Women’s Army Corps in 1969, becoming a WAC.
She left the Army with an honorable discharge soon after marrying Terry Madison in 1970, with whom she had three sons, Brian, Christopher, and Don. Brian died of SIDS at 3 months old.
The family lived in South Carolina, Germany and Japan then moved back to the states.
With divorce, the boys moved to live with family. Donnie, 7, was raised by his father’s half-sister, Jean, in Nebraska. Christopher, 9, was raised by Laurie’s sister, Nancy (husband, Paul), in Ephrata, Wash.
In the early ‘80s Laurie moved to Newport, Ore., where she began attending AA and working various jobs including as a police dispatcher, staffer in Newport Library and, later, her favorite job as a clerk in Sea Towne Books in Newport.
She married Viv V. and they bought a farm in Eddyville, Ore., by the Yaquina River where they raised ducks. Viv built a duck house with a window; Laurie nurtured the flock and encouraged the ducklings on the pond. Ducks remained a lifetime joy to her.
She designed and rebuilt the kitchen; played on the river, and built a lovely garden, gardening being another passion of hers. At the end of that relationship, Laurie moved back to Newport to work and began college studies in natural medicine at Oregon Coast Community College, receiving an AA degree in General Studies.
She married Willie Strong; they bought a home in Siletz where she built a rose garden. They later moved to Portland, Ore., in order for Laurie to attend Portland Community College where she received an associate degree in general studies. They bought a house in Portland that she redesigned while learning to do stained glass, creating lovely pieces.
She and Willie built a motorcycle trike and spent many weekends camping with a clean and sober cycle group. In the early 2000s they moved to Florence, Ore., where in 2002 they divorced.
At this time, Laurie took up kayaking on the lakes of Florence, and drumming with friends. She continued with local AA and her education.
In 2007, she earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Liberal Studies from Eastern Oregon University, La Grande, after which she joined AmeriCorps *VISTA, working several places on the Oregon coast. Her health was deteriorating, so she returned to Florence, living in an apartment where she used the bit of earth outside her backdoor to create another fun garden.
She longed for her own home and in 2017 purchased a house in Florence. She set to remodel the house and build her best garden yet, a 5-foot wide and waist-high raised bed complete with lavender, hollyhocks, peonies and roses a ‘plenty, surrounded by a pale green and blue picket fence highlighted with birdhouses that she painted blues, reds, and yellows. It was joyful to see and to accent her message she put a sign, JOY, in her front window and impressed the word in the cement walk leading to the front door.
After a year of increasingly poor health, in December 2021, Laurie entered Avemere Rehabilitation of Newport. In January 2022, she attended a Zoom meeting of AA and took a coin for 40 years. She entered hospice in February and died on Valentine’s Day.
Laurie was predeceased by her parents, sister Jeannie Mayer (Joe), son Brian Madison and a niece, Victoria Stalcup. Surviving her is her sister Nancy (Dean) Smith, brother Jim (Kim) Fox, sons Christopher (Tracy) Madison and Don (Sandy) Madison and grandchildren Elliot, Abby and Ben. Also surviving are her nieces Alexandra Fox and Patricia McChesney and nephew David Love.
Remembering Laurie are her friends Patsy and Karen, among others.
At Laurie’s request, there will be no funeral, but there likely will be a gathering of family and friends in late summer by Siltcoos Lake, at which time Karen will scatter her ashes from a kayak. The bulk of her estate will be donated to Florence Food Share. Gifts in her memory may be made to a Food Share of your choice, and, as she would say, “for giggles,” plant or give a rose to someone.