Papaw Fox, or Walter Edmund Fox, was my grandfather on my mother’s side. He was a hardworking father of 7, Purple Heart recipient from World War II, and the definition of an Appalachian American–loyal, God fearing, and sometimes stubborn in his ways.
Most days you could find him in the woods teaching his grandkids how to whittle a stick into a makeshift knife, slingshot, pop gun or whatever we could think of. On Sundays, you would find him leading the church choir just down the road from the Fox Homestead at Sugarfork Baptist Church. And after church, it seemed like the entire world would come and congregate at Granny and Papaw’s to eat pinto beans, whatever meat was available, taters, greens and ice cold soda or tea.
Papaw was remembered by most in a brim hat, beat up leather boots and overalls–the same stuff you'll find in the store today. He treated his community like family, and he knew a hard day's work. It's an honor to name Fox Mercantile after him and to serve the Franklin community just how Papaw Fox would have wanted.