Virginia Jones Fox

Virginia Jones Fox image

Virginia Jones Fox (May 31, 1907 – December 21, 2009) and her husband, Maurice P. Fox (June 26, 1902 – May 17, 1990) were both born in Danville, Virginia of modest families and moved to northern Virginia prior to World War II where, through hard work and good investments, they became multimillionaires. At their deaths their ashes were returned to Danville for burial in Leemont Cemetery and a large part of their estate was bequeathed to Roman Eagle Memorial Home Inc. for use in providing adequate housing for elderly people who might not otherwise be able to afford it.

Virginia Jones Fox was the youngest child of Benjamin L. Jones and Janie Corbin. Her father was the son of Rev. John N. Jones, a Methodist minister, and Jennie Douglass who moved to Danville after the death of her husband and became a member of Calvary Methodist Church. Upon her death on May 29, 1909 she was the first person to be buried in the Jones plot (OP 21-22) in Leemont Cemetery. Benjamin (Ben) L. Jones lived at 525 Keen Street with his wife, Janie, and was the station accountant for the Southern Railway in Danville prior to his death in Biltmore, N. C. on March 18, 1911 at about 35 years of age when his daughter, Virginia, was only three years old. His funeral was held from Calvary Methodist Church with interment in a grave adjacent to that of his mother in Leemont Cemetery with graveside services conducted under the auspices of the Royal Arcanum and the Odd Fellows. In the 1920 census for Pittsylvania County, Virginia is listed as M. Virginia Jones, but we have no indication of the name for which the initial “M” stood. She had two brothers, T. Douglas Jones, who was six years her senior and Frank H. Jones, who was four years older than she was. After the death of her father, Virginia lived with her mother, her siblings and two other relatives in rental property at 719 North Main Street. Her mother was the daughter of Thomas Jefferson Corbin and Martha Ellen (Mattie) Rhodenizer. She taught school at Stonewall Jackson Public School before moving to Washington D. C. then to McLean. After the death of her first husband she married William Robinson who predeceased her. She was a former member of Calvary Methodist Church but belonged to the Church of Christ Scientist in Washington, D. C. at the time of her death on May 23, 1970. She is buried beside her first husband in the Jones plot in Leemont Cemetery.

Frank Jones (January 9, 1904 – June 10, 1988), Virginia’s brother, was a clerk at American National Bank in 1923-1924 living at 929 North Main Street prior to moving to Washington, D. C. in 1924. He was an excellent salesman and was a principal in the Fox-Jones Office Supply Co. with Maurice and Virginia Fox from 1951 – 1979. Upon his death, after a private memorial service in McLean, he was buried in the Jones plot in Leemont Cemetery in Danville next to his mother.

Maurice P. Fox (June 26, 1902 – May 17, 1990), also known as Morris, was the son of John H. Fox and Roxianna (Roxie) A. Rodenizer. John H. was a retail grocer and the family lived at 320 North Ridge Street. Earlier, in 1902-3 he had been a policeman. By 1925 Roxie was a widow and was living at 703 Grove Street with her sons, Maurice P., who was an advertising salesman for the Register Publishing Company, and Milton H., who was a clerk for the Union News Co. In 1927 Maurice was living at 711 Grove Street and was still a salesman for the Register. By 1931 Roxie and Milton were living at 729 Grove Street but Maurice was no longer with them. Roxie A. Fox was a member of the Second Baptist Church. She died in 1942 and is buried in Green Hill Cemetery.

Sometime after 1927 Maurice Fox married Virginia Jones and they moved to Northern Virginia prior to World War II. Mrs. Fox worked first at the Ginns stationery supply company in Washington before helping to form the family business, the Fox-Jones Office Supply Co. Her longtime friend M. Patton Echols, Jr. said that her brother, Frank, was an excellent salesman, and her husband was the risk-taking entrepreneur, but Mrs. Fox had the best business instincts. She and her husband invested in real estate in the Tysons Corner area when much of the land was rural, and this land increased in value tremendously over the years. They also invested in many start-up businesses and owned the Fox-Keller car dealership in Fairfax. Mrs. Fox donated to Marymount University in Arlington, Virginia, which was founded in 1950 by Religious of the Sacred Heart of Mary and was the first Catholic college in Virginia. She also donated to the Christian Science Church in McLean of which she was a member. When she died in 2009 at age 102 she left most of her estate to Roman Eagle Memorial Home in Danville to build a facility for low-income seniors, having made a generous donation to the Home in prior years. She had no immediate family survivors, but her obituary mentioned a niece, Sarah Bruni, of Richmond who presumably is the daughter of her brother, Douglas. Her portrait hangs in a place of honor in Roman Eagle Memorial Home.

The cemetery plot OP21-22 in Leemont Cemetery where the ashes of Mrs. Fox are buried is surrounded by a low cement border and contains eight graves, six of which have already been mentioned. The remaining two are those of her aunt, Mary Corbin Jones, (August 5, 1869 – August 25, 1955) whose husband was James A. Jones and of her son, George Carrington Jones (July 25, 1896 – April 16, 1970). Mary Corbin Jones, who was making her home in Boston, Mass., and was a member of the Christian Science Church of Boston, died suddenly of a cerebral hemorrhage during a visit to her son in Danville. George Carrington Jones never married and was retired from Dan River Mills. He was a veteran and a Past Master of Ramah Masonic Lodge No. 70 which later merged with Roman Eagle Masonic Lodge No. 122. His funeral was arranged by Miss Marion Browder, a cousin. The plot in Leemont contains no elaborate tombstones, only foot markers, some of which contain only the date of death and not the date of birth.