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John F​ox, Union Leader, Survivor, Dies at 82

May 14, 2009
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John Fox, 82, longtime manager of the Philadelphia Joint Board and former international vice president of the Amalgamated Clothing and Textile Workers Union, died April 15. He was a resident of Huntingdon Valley.

Fox was born in Tuszyn, a small town outside of Lodz, Poland, which was known as the "Polish Manchester," and was famous for its large and influential trade union movement.

Fox was 11 at the outbreak of World War II. He fell into the hands of the Nazis and was sent to a number of concentration camps. His mother and sister died in Treblinka; his father died in Nordhausen. Fox was rescued by Czech partisans in 1945 while on a death march.

At the war's end, Fox was given the chance to go to England, where he completed his education. He served a seven-year apprenticeship as a tailor there.

Arriving in the United States in 1956, Fox worked for 10 years in the clothing industry, and was later hired by ACTWU as a business agent. He became an advocate for the future of Israel and its labor movement.

Fox was elected manager of the Philadelphia Joint Board in 1981, and international vice president of ACTWU, positions he served until he retired in 1999.

Fox served leadership roles in many social-justice and equity-oriented programs, including as co-chairman of the American Trade Union Council for Histadrut; a member of the Executive Board of the National Trade Union Council for Human Rights; co-chair of the Philadelphia Jewish Labor Committee and national chairman of its administrative committee; vice president of the Jewish Community Relations Council; co-chairman of the Labor Division of Federation Allied Jewish Appeal; a member of the Coalition of Labor Union Women; and chairman of the Memorial Committee for the Six Million Jewish Martyrs.

He is survived by his wife of 56 years, Betty Fox; daughters Lesley Testan, Lynne Fox and Jacqueline Fox; brother Harry Fox; and five grandchildren.

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