Walter J. Fox Jr., writer and journalist


Walter J. Fox Jr., 89, of Mt. Airy, a writer and retired journalism professor, died the 8th day of August surrounded by his loving family.

Mr. Fox retired in 1998 as journalism coordinator at West Chester University, where he had taught journalism and American studies and served as a faculty adviser to the student newspaper for 15 years.

Before joining the faculty at West Chester, he had taught journalism for many years at Temple University’s Ambler Campus.

In retirement, he worked for several years as articles editor at the Chestnut Hill Local, a weekly community newspaper in Northwest Philadelphia.

He was the author of “Writing the News: A Guide for Print Journalists,” a book, now in its third edition, that has been published abroad in China, India and Bulgaria. He also had written frequently for newspapers and magazines.

Born in West Philadelphia, he was raised in Lansdowne and graduated from what was then Lansdowne High School. He received a bachelor’s degree in political science from St. Joseph's University and a master’s degree from the Graduate School of Journalism at Columbia University.

Mr. Fox began his career in journalism at United Press International in Philadelphia and then worked for several years as a reporter and suburban page editor for the Norristown Times Herald.

After graduating from Columbia, he stayed in New York where he served on the public relations staff of Fordham University and later was director of public relations at St. Vincent's Hospital. Soon after returning to Philadelphia in 1961, he opened his own public relations counseling agency, specializing in work with nonprofit organizations.

During the 1960s he served as the Philadelphia correspondent for the National Catholic Reporter and in 1968 was the publicity director for the Pennsylvania Citizens for [Eugene] McCarthy.

Mr. Fox had also served for many years on the board of East Mt. Airy Neighbors.

He is survived by his wife of 63 years, the former Francine Trani; sons Christopher, of Mt. Airy, Brian, of Lansdowne, Peter, of Queens, NY, and Daniel, of Wilton, CT; a sister, Marilyn Smith, of Pacific Palisades, CA, seven grandchildren and one great granddaughter.

In lieu of flowers, Walter requested that donations be made to Face to Face, 123 East Price Street, Philadelphia, PA 19144 (, a nonprofit that supports people in need.


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