Obituary: Lothar “Larry” Fox

Great-grandfather, decorated U.S. Army veteran, world traveler, jazz musician and deejay

Lothar “Larry” Fox died November 15 at age 91 in Upland.

Larry was known and acclaimed for many things during his rich and varied life. He earned a number of medals during his 27-year career with the U.S. Army, including the Bronze Star, the Meritorious Service Medal, and the 

Legion of Merit. After retiring as a colonel in 1977, he began a second career as a successful contract manager. He was also a jazz disc jockey for many years as well as a successful and acclaimed jazz drummer. 

“But his main claim to fame was that he was a friend to everyone,” his family shared. “His friendly nature attracted anyone who met him.”

He was born in Germany and emigrated to the United States during the Holocaust, in 1938. He attended public schools in Atlanta and played drums in his high school band. After graduation he attended Hartnett Music School in New York City, during which he frequented jazz clubs where famous “jazz cats” performed. 

Struggling to make ends meet, he joined the U.S. Army in 1950, where he was assigned to the Army Band. He decided to make the most of his service, attending officers candidate school in Fort Belvoir, Virginia, after which he was promoted to second lieutenant. 

Over his long military service he was stationed at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, where he met his wife Annabelle and where his son Jack was born; Korea; Japan, where his daughter Lorie was born; Columbus, Ohio; Germany (twice); Vietnam (twice); Thailand; El Paso, Texas; Alexandria, Virginia; and Pasadena, California. 

In 1963 he earned a bachelor of science degree, and in 1969 a master’s in business administration, both from the University of Maryland. 

In 1976, the couple bought a house in Claremont, where they lived for 40 years. In 1977, he retired from the U.S. Army as a colonel.

He then began his second career as a contract/procurement manager at Parsons Corporation in Pasadena. From 1987 to 1994 he worked for Parsons in Yanbu, Saudi Arabia, and from 1994 to 1999 for a Saudi company in Jedda, Saudi Arabia as contract and general manager. 

He traveled throughout the Middle East for business during this time, as well as to the United Kingdom and Italy. He and Annabelle also traveled extensively for pleasure around the world. Mr. Fox provided consulting services in various U.S.ß locations from 2002 to 2012 and retired completely from the business world in 2012.

Throughout both of his careers, he maintained his love of music and played percussion in bands wherever he lived, including the Claremont Symphony Orchestra, Pomona Concert Band and the Ontario/Chaffey Community Show Band. 

At Oakmont of San Antonio Heights assisted living center in Upland, where Mr. Fox spent his last years, he would often “sit in” with jazz and other musicians for regularly scheduled and special events. He was also the president of Oakmont’s residents’ council until his death, and was a member of the University Club of Claremont.

He fulfilled one of his lifelong dreams and became a jazz disc jockey at KSPC radio in Claremont in 2008. He was known as “Larry the Fox,” whose show “All That Jazz,” (originally called “Claremont Straight Ahead”) was scheduled, as he put it, “to keep jazz alive on Saturday from three to five.” He was known not only for his excellent taste and varied selections but for his soothing baritone voice. He hosted an annual jazz roundtable discussion in which he interviewed and played cuts from various well-known jazz musicians, occasionally having them jam live on the air. 

He interviewed more than 60 jazz musicians and dignitaries during his time at KSPC. He retired from the station in 2016 but was an occasional guest disc jockey thereafter. He recorded his last show from his apartment at Oakmont during the pandemic in May 2020. 

He was one of several deejays to be included among the inaugural inductees into the Treasury of Claremont Music in early 2020.

He enjoyed attending jazz performances of all kinds, including California Jazz Arts Society house concerts, the Playboy Jazz Festival and the Newport Beach Jazz Party, among others. “He was a cool cat to the end,” his family added.

“Larry was a rare mixture of high ability and achievement on the one hand and selflessness, charity and humility on the other,” his family continued. “Steadfastly moral, he was an independent thinker with true, penetrating wit and relaxed humor. He was welcomed musically, professionally and socially by all. He was a beacon of truth and honor, a rock to call home, a moral foundation and what anyone would want in a father or grandfather.”

He was preceded in death by his wife Annabelle and son Jack. 

He is survived by his daughter Lorie, her husband Bob, and their adult children Jonny and Lena;  great granddaughter Laila; grandson Ian, and many other relatives, friends and admirers.

Memorial donations may be made to the California Jazz Foundation at www.californiajazzfoundation.org or to the California Jazz Arts Society at www.caljas.org. 

Mr. Fox’s remains will be interred at Riverside National Cemetery.

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