Monday, October 21, 2013

Grandpa Foxy

Philip Foxwell Sr. 
Faithful family patriarch
Servant of God for 99 years
A source of wisdom 
Awe and wonder
and never ending good humor.
Truly one of the greatest men I have ever known.
Grandpa Foxy. 

Philip saw a magician doing card tricks in a park in Junior High and immediately picked it up. A few weeks later, his eighth grade teacher saw him demonstrating the card trick to his classmates and called him to the front of the class to perform for the rest of the students. He marked this as the day he became a “real” magician.

After high school, he was employed by the Lyceum Bureau in Chicago. During the two academic years between 1936 and 1938, he and Marco Polo (his red Ford) traveled the equivalent of six times around the world on the Lyceum circuit. He performed in more than a thousand programs and traveled through 30 states – sometimes doing five performances in a day. In 1939, Philip was recognized as the foremost illusionist and slight-of-hand magician in the world by the International Brotherhood of Magicians.

Philip attended Wheaton College where he received “two degrees and the president’s daughter" [A bachelor’s in 1942 and master’s in 1944, later marrying Jane Alice Buswell]. He went on to earn a bachelor’s of divinity from Northern Baptist Seminary in 1946 and TSM from Faith Theological Seminary in 1947. He and Jane moved to the war-torn nation of Japan in 1947 and served together as missionaries for more than 30 years. He dazzled and amazed multitudes with his magic shows while preaching, teaching and founding Tokyo Christian University and Seminary, where he served as president and professor of Apologetics and Greek (in Japanese).

Upon retirement from Japan, Philip worked at the U.S. Center for World Missions in Pasadena, Calif. He was a member of the International Brotherhood of Magicians, Fellowship of Christian Magicians, the Magic Castle in Los Angeles, Alhambra Kiwanis and is the author of Missionary Magician.

His tremendous legacy lives on through the lives of his wife, Eillean Eckardt-Foxwell; children, Mary Loeks, Martha Berg, Linda Pettit and Philip Jr.; 14 grandchildren and 15 great-grandchildren, who all call him “Grandpa Foxy.”

His energy, intellect and humor were a force of nature and anyone he encountered would agree – he never met a stranger. Philip’s life was far less about shows and lectures and clubs than it was about prayer and wisdom. As the Foxwell patriarch, he leaves the family with countless nuggets of truth to keep them close to one another and close to the Lord he loved so dearly – one such maxim, “blessed to be a blessing,” has become a family motto.

Philip truly lived a life with no regrets – and Heaven just got a little bit livelier as he is likely saying even now among the angels, “name a card, any card, except for the ace of spades…”

Grandpa Foxy always reminded us, through his actions and his words, to be thankful, to be faithful in prayer, and to keep the main thing the main thing. He would tell me to say the magic words as he pulled streams of color from my ears to my absolute amazement, but he also taught me that beyond the magic words and mind tricks, we shouldn't get caught up in details or stepping-stones to success. He always told us to "be thankful," and to "keep the main thing the main thing." This is from a letter he dictated through my dad a few years ago:

To my dear grandchildren

As the patriarch of the clan, I am greatly enriched by what you all have added to my enjoyment of life.  When you have a good proud moment of success, I am very thankful; and when you huAs the patriarch of the clan, I am greatly enriched by what you all have added to my enjoyment of life.  When you have a good proud moment of success, I am very thankful; and when you hurt or are in sorrow, I hurt with you, because sympathy comes from the Greek word "pathos" [to feel] and "sum" [together with], so when you are in distress I will be praying in your direction. You can count on that.

As you know the word Octogenarian means someone who is 80yrs old, and Nonagenerian means you are in your 90s.  I am a nonagenerian, and I nominate myself to be the most thankful nonagenerian in California and beyond.  I will add other regions as you honor me by doing well.

When I pray, I often give thanks I had a perfect mother and you have a perfect grandmother.  I am often helped by John 17:10 "I am on display in you…"  If I lean some toward deviation, this brings me back with the realization that Jesus is on display in me.  I consider age 85 to 95, bonus time on planet Earth.  The bonus time has allowed me to be on the radio show "Unshackled", allowed me to give the key note address at the Intl Magician's Convention, honored by CASA, Cal-State, and lots of other speaking opportunities and chances to be a part of other people's lives, BUT most of all it allowed me to get to know all of you better --and meet several great-grand kids, for which I am eternally blessed!

It is with sadness that we say goodbye, but with joy that we remember Grandpa Foxy's life. And what a life it was! His love, lessons and memories will always remain, and as I try to live my life by "keeping the main thing the main thing," I will look to the path he leaves behind. 

1 comment:

  1. Is this from people's comments at the funeral? Thanks so much for posting them! I mostly knew him through a fairly large percentage of his family, and they have all blessed me, so the legacy lives on!