‘Other’ Sam Fox makes mark in Senior Olympics

By Jill Kassander, Special to the Jewish Light

It is important to make this distinction from the beginning: this story is about the other Sam Fox — not the U.S. Ambassador to Belgium. This is about the 94-year-old Sam Fox who is the oldest bowler in the St. Louis Senior Olympics.

Fox is the captain of his bowling team, the Ten Pins, which meets every Friday at the Strike ‘N’ Spare Lanes in Creve Coeur. He has bowled with the team for over 10 years and Fox said they won the league championship this year. He has been a participant in the Senior Olympics for over 25 years.

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“I did some table tennis previously but I have always done bowling,” Fox said.

Fox’s interest in bowling started from his support of the St. Louis Flyers, a minor-league hockey team. He joined their booster club which used to go out of town with the team. After the games Fox and the other booster members used hang out together and go bowling.

“It was a great place to meet girls,” Fox said.

Fox has been bowling ever since and he’s won a lot of trophies over the years. He does admit age has taken its toll on his average.

“I had a 265 game many years ago,” Fox said. “I had a 150 average last year and this year I have a 142 average.”

That is still not too shabby for a man born in 1913. Fox was born and raised in St. Louis; the second oldest of six children. All six children took violin and piano lessons, said Fox. He attended Soldan High School for two years before his father took him out of school to go to work for him at the Reliable Clothing Company.

“It was a factory that made men’s clothing,” Fox said. “I started as a bookkeeper since I was good at arithmetic.”

He left the business in 1941 when he was drafted into Army during World War II. Fox went to Pearl Harbor and then was “lucky to be stationed in the States for the duration of the war.”

Fox went back to work for his father after the war until the company closed in 1963. He continued working at other companies until he retired in 1978. His wife Minna passed away in 1993. The couple had been married for almost 42 years and had three children and two grandchildren.

Humor and keeping active are two of the important keys to his longevity, according to Fox. He has been active with the Jewish War Veterans since 1946. He was post commander for 10 years, a national executive officer twice and the president of the joint posts for two years. He and Minna worked at the Lambert Airport USO (United Service Organizations) for 16 years.

“I called bingo at the Jefferson Barracks and Cochran Hospital on Grand Avenue for over 50 years,” Fox said. “Now I do the Bingo calling at Covenant House.”

He was also an active member and past president of the Tuesday Men’s Club which used to meet at the Jewish Community Center. The club met on Tuesdays for “socializing and charity,” said Fox.

“The Senior Olympics is great place to enjoy yourself and you get to meet nice people,” Fox said. “I make a lot of friends, and know a lot of people. They remember me.”