Dr. James Fox made TV house calls

  • Article by: BEN COHEN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: December 29, 2007 - 7:08 PM

The physician, who had regular TV and radio programs, also was a successful businessman and author.

Dr. James Fox of Rogers made house calls over radio and television, as well as being a Minneapolis physician.

Fox, who broadcast health advice from KUOM Radio, WCCO Radio and KSTP-TV from the late 1940s to the 1970s, and was also a successful businessman, died on Dec. 18 in Rogers of complications from Alzheimer's disease.

Fox, a longtime resident of Edina and Naples, Fla., was 85.

The St. Paul native graduated from St. Paul's Cretin High School in 1939 and from the University of St. Thomas in 1943.

In 1948, Fox began a private practice in Minneapolis after graduating from the University of Minnesota Medical School. He completed his residency at the old General Hospital in Minneapolis, now Hennepin County Medical Center.

His specialty was internal medicine.

Fox, a clear communicator, could relate medical information in layman's terms, said his son, Stephen Fox of Edina.

"His delivery was straightforward. He was communicating with you at home," said his son.

Fox enjoyed broadcasting and took it seriously, said his son.

"He said, 'If you have to read a teleprompter, you weren't very prepared,'" said his son, adding that his dad used a mannequin with internal organs to better explain health issues.

In 1949, Fox had a weekly show "How's Your Health?" on University of Minnesota's KUOM radio. In the 1960s, he began doing regular segments on WCCO Radio and some work on WCCO-TV, said his son.

In the 1970s, he did regular news segments at KSTP-TV, said Jerome Wasley of Arden Hills, a former KSTP director.

"He was ahead of his time," said Wasley. "He was a charming man," and a good communicator, he added.

Over the years, Fox served as medical director for Minneapolis Public Schools personnel, for Control Data and the old United Capital Life Insurance.

He shifted his practice to occupational medicine and in the 1960s, he became a partner in United Capital Life Insurance Co.

He was much in demand as a speaker, according to a 1955 Minneapolis Tribune article, and was a leader in the Hennepin County Tuberculosis Association.

Fox believed that improved technology and advancements in computers would improve communications. So he helped establish the James Rogers Fox Communications Center at the University of St. Thomas, a multi-media learning center. He also worked with others to provide dispute-resolution services at the university.

He is the author of "Dr. Fox's Family Health Guide," published in 1965 and is a founder of the Academy of Occupational Medicine, a physicians' group.

His wife, Shirley Leidl, died in 1996.

In addition to Stephen of Edina, he is survived by his other sons, Michael of Annapolis, Md., Richard of Edina, Charles of Golden Valley; his former wife, Elizabeth Webster Curtin, of Edina; stepson, Michael Leidl of St. Paul; stepdaughter, Julie Smith of Maple Valley, Wash., and 16 grandchildren.

Services have been held.

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