Longtime classics professor
Bernice Fox dies at age 92

Bernice Lee Fox, 92, emerita professor of classics, died Dec. 11, 2003, at Community Medical Center in Monmouth, where she had been a resident of the long-term care facility for more than a year.

Born Feb. 19, 1911, in Ashland, Ky., Fox graduated magna cum laude from  Kentucky Wesleyan College in 1932 and earned her master's degree from the University of Kentucky in 1934. She was a graduate assistant in English at Ohio State University from 1936 to 1941.

Prior to joining the Monmouth faculty in 1947, she worked as a research director  and a literary revisionist. She was named chairman of the Monmouth classics department in 1970 and was elevated to full professor in 1977. She retired in 1981, having served 34 years on the faculty

Fox was awarded an honorary degree by Monmouth College in 1991, which in 1985 established an annual lecture in her name. Dedicated to preserving the classics and making them applicable to the modern age, she was active in the Illinois Classical Conference and promoted the Illinois State Latin Tournament. She translated several popular stories into Latin, including the children's classic, "Charlotte's Web," published by Harper and Row in 1991.

During her long career at Monmouth, Fox never once took a sabbatical, although she traveled frequently to Europe during summers, usually accompanied by two or more of her students. She will be remembered for her zeal for teaching and her unconventional teaching methods. "I teach on top of my desk," she once said. "I don't put on a dance up there; I sit up there while I teach. It keeps the desk form separating me from the students."

Advanced classes in Latin and Greek were taught for many years in the basement recreation room of her home, located less than a block from campus. Her lectures often employed slides from her travels and even erotic cartoons from such publications as Playboy magazine. She had a razor-sharp wit. When a well-meaning alumnus once remarked that she hadn't changed a bit since he last saw her, she responded, "I HOPE I didn't look this old 15 years ago!"

Miss Fox donated her body to science and requested no memorial service or memorial fund.