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Remembering Jim Fox

The Periodical Department in 1999. (L-R) Natalie Tomasco, Susan Markley, Bill Greene, Laura Hutelmyer, Jim Fox and Betty Lane.

The Periodical Department in 1999. (L-R) Natalie Tomasco, Susan Markley, Bill Greene, Laura Hutelmyer, Jim Fox and Betty Lane.

The Falvey Memorial Library staff was saddened to hear of the passing this month of one of our former colleagues, Jim Fox. When he retired in 2010, the Library paid tribute to him by acknowledging his service with a blog post. Now we wish to take a moment to reflect on Jim’s lasting impact upon Falvey’s staff and share what he truly meant to us.

As stacks coordinator, with Access Services, we relied on Jim to supervise the student workers in Bound Periodicals (the area now known as ‘Falvey West,”) and assist the students, faculty and staff in navigating the mysteries of the microfilm readers. No matter the complexity of the questions posed to him, whether it related to his immediate purview or to impact some general information, Jim’s hearty responses clearly demonstrated his warmth and desire to be of assistance.

Jim will always be part of Falvey. Here are some thoughts by people who knew him:

Laura Hutelmyer, Falvey’s Electronic Resource & Special Acquisitions Coordinator told us:

Jim and I were hired on the same day in August 1996. We split the job of Microforms Supervisor. I worked Monday-Wednesday-Friday and Jim did Tuesday-Thursday because he taught as an adjunct at Penn State and LaSalle Universities on the other days.

  •  He always shook “hands” with his elbow.
  •  He used to ‘verse’ the international students on the importance of St. Patrick’s Day.
  • A lifelong historian, he was trying to get an article published only a month or so ago.
  • His family told me (at his memorial service) that he loved his job here at Villanova.

On a personal note, Laura shared with us that since her father-in-law and Jim were both natives of Germantown, a correspondence began between them, each sharing memories of growing up in the area.  Laura considers herself very fortunate to have such “a priceless set of letters.”

Jeannine Ahern, a Business Processes & Administrative Services Specialist for Falvey’s Director’s office, shared her experiences:

Outside of work, Jim Fox and I shared a common bond.  We both coached girls basketball.  I learned so much about coaching basketball from Jim.  On break time at Falvey, I would often go to Jim for advice.  He taught me fantastic offensive drills and strategies for defense.  But, the most important lesson Jim taught me was to give every player a chance to shine.  Jim told me, “Each player has their own unique talent. It is the coach’s role to see that talent in the player and then give them the opportunity to display it.”  I had a very successful coaching experience as a result.  Our success was not measured in wins. It was measured in the confidence and pride that resounded within the players hearts.

I will remember Jim as being a very kind, thoughtful, funny person.  I’m so glad I had the opportunity to work with him and call him friend.

Jim Fox with Joanne Quinn and Luisa Cywinski in 2010

Jim Fox with Joanne Quinn and Luisa Cywinski in 2010

From Sue Ottignon, Research Support Librarian:

I never really paid attention to Villanova’s basketball schedule. With Jim’s arrival on campus, he introduced me to the strong basketball rivalry between Villanova’s Wildcats and St. Joseph’s Hawks.  It was from Jim I learned key phrases like, “Hawk Hill” and the “Holy War.”  Seeing Jim around brightened my day with just his simple ‘hello’ and ‘how are you’ phrases . . .  a humorous man who was conversant on many topics.

From Joanne Quinn, Team Leader for Communications and Service Promotion:

Jim never believed that I was truly a Villanova University graduate because I was unable to recite the lyrics to our Alma Mater. My response was that I spent my four years in the band playing the trombone, so I never had to actually sing the song. He would not hear of it. I guess when you’d taught high school as long as Jim did, you ate excuses like that for lunch!

Working alongside with him in Access Services, I could be up to my you-know-what in ILL requests and alligators, but hearing Jim gruffly respond “miserable as ever” each time someone asked “how ya doin’” – even from across the room – never, ever failed to make me laugh.  He also reproached me occasionally in my duties as the Falvey whiteboard artist, if I chose to honor a rock or pop star instead of the Saint of the Day – and he always knew which saint that was.  The day I drew the Phillies’ Darren Daulton instead of Thomas Paine, I received an “anonymous” Letter from the Management that “officially” demoted me. It came complete with letterhead and wax seal. True story.

On May 3, 2010, the day he retired from the library, I see that I could have drawn Bing Crosby or Golda Meir…or even the Flyers’ Ron Hextall, but I think I made a better choice…

Whiteboard art from May 3, 2010

Whiteboard art from May 3, 2010

We should all be as lucky to work with someone like this. This one’s for you, Jim:


Villanova, Villanova
When we leave your shelt’ring walls,
We shall leave an echo ringing
Through your treasured halls
We will leave an echo ringing
In the silent night
While our memories are singing
Of our Blue and White.
When the last big game is over
And the last roll call is heard
When the oldest pedagogue
Has had his final word
We shall come to ALMA MATER
In our dreams again
With a prayer for Villanova
And a sweet amen.
 From the Villanova Alma Mater, by Al Dubin and Joseph Burke

Article and coordination by Sue Ottignon, Research Support Librarian



  1. Comment by Christine — June 17, 2014 @ 12:37 AM

    Jim was so great to work with. He will be missed!

  2. Comment by Interested reader — June 17, 2014 @ 5:57 PM

    Thanks for a great article. Jim was such an asset to Falvey and to the University.

  3. Comment by Cathie Putnam — June 27, 2014 @ 1:30 PM

    Love your blog Ladies! Very funny in some parts!! You were so lucky to work with Mr. Jim Fox. Love the character drawing! Friend of his son Jim Fox, who forwarded this to me!

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Last Modified: June 16, 2014

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