Jeanette Rose Fox, who operated a Chestertown five-and-dime store with her husband for 40 years, died Sunday of heart failure at Stella Maris Hospice. She was 97.
The daughter of immigrant parents who came to Baltimore from Latvia in the 1880s, she was reared on Pennsylvania Avenue, where her father was a tailor to the Baltimore Police Department. Leaving school after the sixth grade, she went to work for Polan Katz & Co., manufacturers of umbrellas.
While working there, she met and married Baurice Fox in 1913 at age 16. After pursuing various business opportunities in Western Maryland, the couple moved to Chestertown in 1928 and opened their first store on Cross Street and later moved to High Street. In 1967 McCrory's bought the store, which burned in the Chestertown fire of September 1992. Mr. Fox died in 1954.
"I remember it in the 1940s when the farmers would come in on market day and it was one of the most popular places in town," recalled H. Hurtt Deringer, editor of the Kent County News. "They carried everything and if you didn't see what you wanted, they'd order it for you and it became a standard item."
One daughter, Ruth Schreter of Baltimore, said her parents "were very philanthropic and during the Depression extended credit and tried to help people."
Anna Scott, who worked for the couple for 31 years, said: "If anyone had a fire they'd be the first one there to fit 'em up. If you were a good customer, they'd present you with a box of candy at Christmastime. They did many great things for people in Chestertown."
They moved to a 13-acre farm on the Chester River where they enjoyed entertaining friends.
"My mother loved to cook and she was famous for her buns and mondelbrodt, a German cookie," Ms. Schreter said.
A life member of Hadassah, she was a founding member of Temple B'nai Israel in Easton. She lived in Chestertown until 1981, when a broken hip forced her into Milford Manor, a nursing home in Pikesville.
Services were set for 2 p.m. today at Sol Levinson & Bros. Funeral Home, 6010 Reisterstown Road, Baltimore.
She also is survived by daughter Shirley Goldstein of Baltimore, 10 grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren.