Cover photo for Erna L. Fox's Obituary
1930 Erna 2023

Erna L. Fox

February 26, 1930 — July 24, 2023

Calais

Erna Lisa Fox, 93, passed away peacefully on July 24, 2023, surrounded by family at Calais Community Hospital.

Lisa was born in Bremen, Germany, on February 26, 1930, to Johann Ernst August Storck and Frieda Louise (Huntemann) Storck. Her long and exceptional life was characterized by unfailing optimism and resiliency. These qualities helped her through a disastrous childhood shaped by the rise of Adolf Hitler and Nazism in Germany and the calamities of World War II. Only 9 years old when Hitler invaded Poland, in 1940 she was evacuated along with many children her age to southern Germany to escape Allied air raids on Bremen, a major port and shipbuilding center on the North Sea. This began a series of assignments to youth camps in southern Germany and Austria during the rest of the war, followed by visits to family in Bremen that were punctuated by the air raids that increased markedly after the United States joined the Allies to fight the Axis powers. Her brother Hans, serving with the German Merchant Marine, was lost when his ship went down in the Mediterranean Sea in 1944, which by then was largely controlled by the Allies.

Lisa and her extended family struggled in the immediate aftermath of the war, with much of Bremen and northern Germany reduced to rubble and substantial shortages of food and shelter.  All these experiences at such an early age gave her the ability to work through the challenges she faced later in life with remarkable courage and strength.

In 1949 she met the love of her life, Howard Fox, a Calais, Maine native stationed with the U.S. Army in Bremen. They married in Germany in 1951 and she returned to Calais with him, where they bought an old farmhouse on Hardscrabble Road. The transition from Germany to the U.S. and from city to country was sometimes bumpy, but she adapted and greatly appreciated the opportunity to build a new life in Maine.

Lisa missed her extended German family but leaned into life as a housewife in Calais. A daughter, Diane Fox (1952), and a son, Kenneth Fox (1955), kept her busy. She developed great friendships with Lela Hill, Lois Kahler, Trudy O'Neill, and many others. Lisa was an excellent cook and was expert at canning and freezing food from the large vegetable garden she and Howard kept. In 1960, they acquired a small lot on Bear Cove on Meddybemps Lake and built a camp from salvaged lumber powered by propane gas and featuring an outhouse with a great view of the woods. Lisa also connected to two German families that had emigrated to New Brunswick, Canada, during the 1930s, the Fittjes on the Ledge Road and the Pranges on St. David Ridge. Lisa and Howard spent many Sunday afternoons and evenings visiting their farms, speaking German, and enjoying German food.

During the 1970s, Lisa worked at the Hathaway shirt outlet in Calais; she welcomed her first grandson, Lucas Pola, into the world in 1977. Lisa lost her beloved husband Howard to cancer in 1985 but also welcomed two more grandsons, Matthew (1984) and Michael Gagner (1985). Lisa’s family and her indomitable spirit and love of life helped her to transition to her golden years. She found much satisfaction taking care of her house, her flower gardens, and her dogs. She was also an avid reader of fiction, in particular the work of Stephen King, and faithfully followed television soap operas.

Lisa also traveled frequently, visiting her extended family in Germany, spending time with her sister-in-law Rebecca Carr and her family in Yarmouth, Maine, and taking several cruises with her good friend Priscilla Bailey. A particular high point was taking her children and grandchildren to Germany via Amsterdam to celebrate her 75th birthday in 2005 on a trip to visit relatives in Bremen and Karlsruhe.

Lisa was also a competitor. She was especially fond of playing cards and Scrabble. There were epic games of Pitch on winter Sundays at Hazen Hill's camp on Beaver Lake, as well as Rummoli with a rotating group of players. Scrabble games with Lois Kahler and Trudy O'Neill were knock down, drag out affairs with much good-natured bantering. Until very recently, she played Donahue's Rummy with a group including Pam DelMonaco, Gloria Hollingdale, and Judy Thompson in Calais. Later in life she discovered slot machines when casino gambling came to Atlantic City and eventually Bangor, Maine and made two memorable trips to Las Vegas.

In her later years Lisa worked with the Calais Women’s Benevolent Society to give back to the community that gave so much to her during her lifetime. A special thanks to the members of the Benevolent Society and to Judy and Jim Thompson, Pam and Nick DelMonaco, Joni Miller, and Norma Van Devander for the friendship and support they provided in recent years.

Lisa was predeceased by her father Ernst, her mother Louise, her brother Hans, and her husband Howard. She is survived by daughter Diane Fox; son Kenneth Fox; grandsons Lucas Pola, Matthew Gagner, and Michael Gagner; and granddaughter Autumn Gagner. Donations to the Calais Women’s Benevolent Society in Lisa’s memory can be made at

https://donate.makemydonation.org/donate/16046312 .

Please join us to remember and celebrate the life of Lisa Fox, 1930-2023, at 2:00 pm on Saturday, September 23, 2023, at the Calais Methodist Homes Community Center, 116 Palmer St., Calais , Maine. Refreshments will be served. The Fox family thanks Joni Miller and the Calais Women's Benevolent Society for their help in organizing this Celebration. 

Arrangements by Mays Funeral Home, Calais & Eastport. 

 

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