Dick Fox was one of the Augusta Canal's most passionate supporters -- and a generous and tireless civic volunteer.
The 78-year-old founder of Fox Appliance Parts, who died Tuesday, was also a founding member of the Canal Authority, which spearheaded a preservation plan that led to its congressional designation as a National Heritage Area.
"All his friends called him a 'river rat' for his love of the canal and Savannah River, and he just loved that," said Rebecca Rogers, the authority's marketing director. "We'll really miss him. He was a real friend to the canal and to Augusta."
Fox served on the authority from its creation in 1989 until 2006 and was its chairman from 1997 to 2001. He was also very active with the Augusta Rowing Club.
Since his retirement, he had remained active in many projects involving Augusta's waterfront, the canal and the Savannah River.
"If it was anything in the water, or on the water, he just loved it," said his daughter, Ginger Fox Connell. "He was very much a champion for the canal, its trails and having as much of it as possible open for recreation."
After a long battle with lung cancer, Fox died Tuesday at University Hospital after collapsing at his home.
In appreciation for his years of service to the canal and its historic preservation causes, Fox was honored in 2007 with a proclamation naming him "commodore" of the Petersburg boat fleet that ferries visitors and tourists up and down the canal.
He was given a plaque and a mariner's cap bearing a specially created Augusta Canal Commodore insignia.
During his many years in Augusta, Fox also encouraged others to help promote Augusta and its waterfront.
"He always sponsored anything that would be on the water," Connell said. "He and my mom really embraced anything that brought people to the city. They felt that was part of your job -- if you are part of the city then you should do all you could to help the city."
The family will receive friends from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday at Thomas Poteet & Son-Funeral Directors, 214 Davis Road. Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. Friday at Lutheran Church of Resurrection.