The Man Behind the Fox Brothers
Lynn Gilbert Fox, Sr. 1928-1998 Who has had the biggest influence on your lives and career?"Our daddy", said Randy Fox, lead singer and one of the three blood brothers of the popular Williamson County Christian-Country quartet, The Fox Brothers. His son's answer is a simple, honest tribute to Lynn Gilbert Fox, Sr., who died in April, 1998, after a long illness. Behind his son's answer is the story of a honest, hard-working father who devoted his life to God; his family; and his work. Mr. Fox, Sr., was born in 1928 in a sturdy frame house near the intersection of Bending Chestnut Road and Garrison Road where the Fox family grocery store stands today. A few years after graduating from Hillsborough High School in the Leiper's Fork community, he was drafted into the U.S. Army and was sent to Korea near the end of the Korean Conflict. He was stationed there for two years. When he returned to Bending Chestnut in 1952, he married his sweetheart, Mildred Irene Dugan, on December 24, 1952.
Their first son, Lynn, was born in September, 1953. Two other sons, Randy and Roy, were born a few years later, establishing the Fox family. The same year his son Lynn was born, Mr. Fox went into the lumber business with his brother, T.C. Fox, and became the co-owner of The Fox Brothers' Sawmill, which they operated together until a few months before Mr. Fox's death. It was in this hot, dusty working-man environment that Mr. Fox began to teach his sons the values and human relations skills that they use as entertainers today as they travel around the country, performing Country, Christian-Country and Gospel music as "The Fox Brothers". As kids, in the summer, we would work there, said Randy. We'd deliver lumber and sawdust - whatever needed to be done. It taught us the importance of relating to people, especially how to relate to farmers; and that's who we deal with now on the road. Roy said that his father taught them to do things right, and do the very best that you can do. He did this by teaching his sons to take care of the land on which they cut timber. They used mules for logging as long as it was feasible, Roy said. He didn't like the way that heavy equipment would mess up the land. Not only did Mr. Fox make an impression on his sons through his lumber business, he also impressed his friends and the business people with whom he worked. He gave us work, when we were just starting our company, said Don Summers of Summers Lumber & Timber Company in Nashville, who inspected and sold walnut lumber for Mr. Fox. He'd give us lumber on consignment. He was one of the most honest, kind and God-fearing men you'd ever run into. Mr. Fox also instilled in his sons the importance of faith, Roy said.