GALION — In 1966, when Homer Fox told his wife Jeannette he wanted to quit his job as head of maintenance at Galion Community Hospital to start his own business, she was less than impressed.
“I thought he was nuts,” Jeannette joked from the office she shares with her son David at Fox Plumbing & Heating Inc., 126 N. Washington St. “He wanted to give up a good paying job, to start something new? I did, I thought he was crazy.”
But the wild dreams of Homer, who died in 2006, have more than lived up to fruition.
Fox Plumbing and Heating is celebrating 50 years in business. The two person start-up has grown to 11 employees.
Jeannette quit her full-time job to handle the paperwork for the family’s start-up business. Homer said paperwork was part of the reason he quit his job at the hospital. He hated doing that stuff.
Five decades later, Jeannette is still very involved in the business, and she says she loves doing paperwork, even though there is a lot more to do now than there was in 1966.
The company has moved twice since it’s beginnings at the Fox home on North Union Street. In 1973, they moved into a bigger building on Boston Street. In September 1976, an adjoining property was purchased to build an additional structure for storing equipment and the subsequent sheet metal shop. In November 1984, the company’s present location, 126 North Washington St., was purchased.
Still very much a family business, sons John, Bill and Dave remain with the company, as does Bill’s wife Pennie. Rick Fox worked in the family business for years, but now works at Covert Pattern Works. Some of the grandkids have worked for the company through the years, and other long-time employees have been there for decades. Three daughters, Helen, Sue and Linda, are in the healthcare business.
Homer’s sons all worked alongside their dad, as did the grandkids.
“There was a lot of on the job training,” Jeannette said. “Homer was a great teacher.”
When Homer was on the job, he was as serious as anyone.
“He commanded perfection,” she said.
But when he came home after work, especially because he worked so often with his wife and kids and grandkids, the plumbing business was the last thing family members discussed.
“He said that when you leave work, you don’t bring it home with you. It should remain at the office,” she said.
Fox Plumbing & Heating’s areas of expertise include residential, commercial and industrial market places. The company specialize in hot water and steam heat, forced air systems, plumbing work, air conditioning, well pumps and water softeners and custom sheet metal work.
The company has licensed and bonded contractors certified to install and service medical gas systems for hospitals and dental offices and also are certified to install, check and repair backflow devices.
The North Washington Street business also has a full line of repair parts for many makes and models of equipment, as well as a stocked showroom. It provides water testing for swimming pools and spas as well as chemicals and repair parts.
The employees wish to thank all their customers for their support over the past 50 years.
Pennie Fox helped with this story, providing the history of company.
Russ Kent is editor of the Galion Inquirer. If you have a comment or story idea, email him at [email protected]