Residents across the township are mourning Ross ‘Foxy’ Jewell, a community icon in Sunderland and a member of the Brock Sports Hall of Fame.
Jewell passed away peacefully last Tuesday (May 7) night at the age of 84. A celebration of his life will be held from 2 to 5 p.m. on June 8 at the Sunderland Legion.
“I am very saddened about this news. Foxy, as so many of us refer to him, has has been a staple in our Sunderland community for countless years,” said Mayor Debbie Bath-Hadden.
“We were very fortunate at the Township to have him as a volunteer firefighter for as long as we did. He was the keeper of our old Sunderland fire station and was always the first one on scene. When Foxy retired, he spent his weekdays looking after the ball diamonds at the park in Sunderland on behalf of minor baseball. You would see him there pretty much every afternoon with his lawn tractor, grading the diamonds before the kids took to the field at night. We will truly miss Foxy. My heart goes out to his family as they go through this difficult time.”
A mentor to many area firefighters, Jewell served on the executive of the Fire Fighters Association of Ontario (FFAO), including a stint as president of the organization.
“He was a gentleman, a kind soul and a guy with a memory that could shock any historian,” said Port Hope Fire Chief Ryan Edgar.
“Thanks, Foxy, for your many years of service to the FFAO and the fire service in general. You always put a smile on my face.”
In addition to his role with the local fire department, Jewell was a fixture at the Sunderland ball diamonds for more than five decades as a player, umpire and volunteer.
He hit the field with the Sunderland Tigers club for nearly 30 years and served as an umpire into his 80s for a variety of leagues and teams.
“Whenever we were organizing a tournament, he was the first person we’d call,” said Dale St. John.
“He was always available to help with umpiring and officiating.”
Jewell was inducted into the Brock Sports Hall of Fame in 2017.
He was also a longtime volunteer with the Sunderland Fall Fair, collecting admission at the gate.
“Foxy was quite a character. He loved being around people,” St. John said.