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Gainesville attorney remembered for kindness, generous spirit

David Fox’s hustle was unmatched, whether it was in his professional career or on the hardwood.

“He wanted to make it to the big show — he wanted to referee high school (basketball) games,” law partner Graham McKinnon said.

Fox, 70, died Monday. He worked for the Fox Chandler Homans Hicks and McKinnon law firm, having practiced since 1974.

McKinnon said he was one to “kill you with kindness,” a man with the perpetual smile that put others first.

“Very humble but also one of the great mediators, one of the great lawyers. I saw him do things that were magical in the courtroom,” he said.

In the middle of a closing argument, Fox would crack a joke to the jury.

“It’s crazy, and the jurors — they loved him. He’s been very successful over the years, but just to see the way he could interact with the jurors and connect with them was incredible,” McKinnon said.

Between 1986 and 1990, Fox served as a part-time Juvenile Court judge. He would be succeeded by former judge Cliff Jolliff in a full-time facet.

“In his passing, our bar has lost the friendliest attorney I’ve met in my career. He was a diligent advocate for his clients, but always treated the other side with respect,” Northeastern Judicial Circuit District Attorney Lee Darragh said in a statement. “Candid and trustworthy, he was a worthy hardworking opponent. Always jovial, he will be missed for the man and professional example he was.”

Fox was known for his competitive spirit, including a $10 bet among friends to run an 8-minute mile in his suit through the summer heat. 

Friend and fellow attorney Roland Stroberg, who first met Fox in the early 1970s, remembered rounds of golf where the hazards were muddy through half of the year.

“He hit a ball in there one time and waded in there to get it. (He) not only got the ball but tried to play it,” Stroberg said.

Fox’s philanthropic résumé included being the past president of the Gainesville Rotary, the Hall County American Cancer Society and the Hall-Dawson Court-Appointed Special Advocates. He taught Sunday school at First United Methodist Church and refereed school basketball games.

“His word was his bond. He was a fine lawyer and a fine man and a fine citizen of this community. I don’t know of a better one,” Stroberg said.

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