Maxine Louise Engelbert Fox was born June 22, 1931, in Axtell, Kansas, to Natalia Marie Chesler and Clement Engelbert. In 1936, Maxine’s father and maternal uncle moved their families from the drought-stricken Midwest to dairy farms near Jerome, Idaho. Maxine attended public school in Jerome and nurse training at Marymount College in Salina, Kansas, before moving to Phoenix, Ariz., where her son, Tim, was born. Having found wonderful adoptive parents for Tim, she moved back home to Jerome in 1957 and soon met an idealistic young farmer from Hailey named John Fox, grandson of pioneer J.C. Fox. They married in 1958 and started Fox Acres egg farm at the mouth of Quigley Canyon.
Maxine worked for the Sun Valley Hospital when it was still on the upper floor of the lodge, moving to Moritz Hospital when it was built, and then to Blaine County Hospital as an RN, later becoming OR supervisor. John’s tragic death in a farming accident in 1972 left Maxine with three small children, 600 acres of alfalfa, and thousands of chickens. In her usual practical and gracious way, and with the help of her mother-in-law, Mildred Fox, she provided a stable and nurturing environment for her children through the challenges of re-envisioning her life as a single mother and selling the farm.
She was an avid reader, played piano, walked hundreds of miles behind her lawn mower, and enthusiastically embarked on long, educational and activity-packed road trips with her children. She retired from Blaine County Hospital in 1994 to help care for her grandchildren.
She passed away peacefully on Nov. 10, 2013, from complications of leukemia, while surrounded by her family and holding the hand of her granddaughter. All who knew her remember the joyful, caring, deeply grounded, beautiful woman she was, adopted mother and grandmother to so many.
She is survived by her son, Tim, and granddaughter, Alexandra, of Phoenix, Ariz.: daughter Catherine (Rick Davis) and granddaughter, Natalia, of Seattle; daughter Julie (John Valenzuela) and grandchildren Cassidy, Keah and Corson of Hailey; son John (Molly Young) and granddaughter, Miette, of Hailey; brothers Jerry and Leonard Engelbert of Twin Falls and Jerome. She was preceded in death by her parents, husband, and sister, Lucille.
The family would like to express their gratitude to Maxine’s P.E.O. sisters for their kind support, to Emily Karrasik for going far beyond her professional duty, and to the more-than-wonderful hospice staff. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to Hospice of the Wood River Valley.
A celebration of a life well lived will be held on June 22, 2014, Maxine’s birthday. Please visit the Wood River Chapel website for more details, photos and to share stories and condolences.