Steven Baird Fox

Jan. 4, 1961 – Jan. 1, 2022


When Steve Fox passed away on Jan. 1, he left behind many who knew and loved him – but he took with him much of the heart and memory of the Crescenta Valley, the community that had anchored his life for 60 years. Steve was a local-history buff but not the sort of man who was content to indulge his passion for the past by reading books and old documents in the solitary comfort of home; for Steve, love of history meant love of the people who came before us and a duty of care for the things and places they built for us – the community their labor made possible.

Steve was born in Burbank to David and Katalin Fox but he spent most of his life in the Crescenta Valley: an acolyte at St. George’s Episcopal church in La Cañada, and, in 1980, a graduate of La Cañada High school. Blessed with a tenacious spirit and a mind for detail, it was only natural that he should work his way to the rank of Eagle Scout and even shoot down the Colorado River in a homemade kayak with other Boy Scouts. His encyclopedic mind and discriminating taste enabled him to become an expert importer of fine international spirits and liquors. His sportsman’s affinity for the outdoors often took him to Cabo San Lucas, one of his favorite places for deep-sea fishing.

But it was his love for history – and especially the living spaces the past has bequeathed to us – that filled his days. In 2015 he was selected People’s Warden of St. Luke’s of the Mountains Episcopal Church, the officer primarily responsible for the preservation and care of the iconic century-old building. Steve got to work immediately, enthusiastically developing plans for the long-term preservation of the stone church, culling the files for historical documents, salvaging relics of its distant past from forgotten corners and closets, and arm-twisting his many friends into volunteering their time and labor in numerous restoration projects. Steve could draw a diagram from memory of the church’s electrical or plumbing systems, hidden from view by decades-old timber, or sketch a plan to reroute a faulty drainage system through parts of the building not yet built.              

Steve’s devotion to St. Luke’s, its history and its people, did not end when his term did in 2020. He kept a constant and careful eye on the grounds. In fact, while many today spend their free time binge watching their favorite shows on Netflix or Hulu, Steve binge watched St. Luke’s security cameras. Like the way new parents sometimes glue themselves to the baby-monitor of their first-born child, Steve could spend hours vigilantly surfing the different camera feeds for anything of concern.

And there was usually something. Like the early evening when a church worker was struggling to get one of the ancient timers to switch on the parking lot lights, his cellphone rang: “Turn the lights on manually,” the voice on the other end said. The worker looked up to see the blinking security camera.

“Then set the start time back an hour. Trust me, it will work fine tomorrow.” And it did, of course. Or the cold December evening just a few weeks ago when a homeless mother sat on the bench beside the church playground nursing a child. Steve was the only one who saw her – and immediately got on the phone to find her help.

“I was just worried about that baby,” he said.

Those who knew Steve best understood that he did not so much live in the past, but with it. He thought it an honor to walk the halls or sit in chairs or kneel at an altar left to us – left for us – by people whose names we cannot now know. Steve felt that their lives and labor make our lives together possible. It is only fitting, then, that our lives and labor bring theirs to fruition.

Steve Fox leaves behind his loving and supremely devoted wife Sandra; mother Katalin Fox; siblings Debbie and Laurin; niece Stephanie; brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law, godsons, nieces and nephews, grandnieces and grandnephews, and many friends at St. Luke’s of the Mountains Church.