January 2, 2012 | by Joey DiGuglielmo
Local singer Peter Fox succumbs to cancer

Gay singer Peter Fox. (Photo courtesy of Signature)

Peter Fox, a likable local gay singer/songwriter, died early Monday morning, according to a statement released by his family. He was 45 and died of central nervous system lymphoma according to his friend, fellow musician Tom Nichols.

Fox, a Pompton Plains, N.J., native, studied business and music at Pennsylvania State University and had devoted the last seven years mostly to singing. He performed at corporate and LGBT events, sang at the 2010 AIDS Walk and performed a cabaret show last summer at Signature Theatre. He had previously been active in the Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington and sang in its Potomac Fever ensemble. His eponymous debut album came out in May, 2010. By day he was membership director for an HIV medical certification association. He had previously been a truck driver.

Fox had a good relationship with his family and said his coming-out process had been easy. His brother was at his cabaret show last summer and Fox told a funny story about taking his (straight) father to a Pittsburgh gay bar.

“The Fox family is deeply saddened to share with you the passing of our beloved brother Peter in the early morning hours of Monday,” the statement said. “He left this earth peacefully in the loving arms of his family. We thank our family and friends for their love and support during this difficult time. Service and memorial details will follow soon. Prayerfully, the Fox family.”

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Fox became ill suddenly in November. A round of chemotherapy did not go well and doctors advised no further chemo treatment, Nichols said. Fox had just performed with Nichols at the release party for Nichols’ debut album. The two had sung together for more than a decade in the Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington.

Fox was single but previously had a relationship with Antonio Casavez who lives in Australia but returned to the U.S. to be with Fox in his final weeks. Casavez declined to comment but Nichols said the two had “a special relationship” and even when they were in relationships with others, “were soul mates and had a special place in each other’s hearts.”

Fox and Nichols were roommates for about three years before Fox bought his own place. Nichols remembers him as a motorcycle enthusiast and a great roommate.

“He was a true artist,” Nichols said of his friend. “He had a one-in-a-million voice … and a unique ability to make every single person he encountered feel like they were the only person in the room.”

Fox was preceded in death by his parents but is survived by three brothers and a sister. A public viewing is planned for Thursday at DeVol Funeral Home (2222 Wisconsin Ave., N.W.) from 6 to 9 p.m. The service is set for Friday at 10 a.m. at Foundry United Methodist Church (1500 16th Street, N.W.). Anyone may attend.

In lieu of flowers, the family has asked that memorial gifts in Fox’s honor be made to the Icla Da Silva Foundation, the largest bone marrow recruiter for the National Marrow Registry.

Joey DiGuglielmo is the Features Editor for the Washington Blade.

15 Comments
  • Sad news — Peter was always a delight to run in to / talk to / hang out with, and his kind manner and warm spirit will be missed. He was a talented vocalist and musician who greatly enjoyed sharing his gift with others. Those who had the privilege and pleasure of knowing him, if only casually, will miss knowing he might appear around the next corner with his bright smile and energizing personality.

    • Tuesday afternoon, January 3

      Peter performed at my late partner’s “Celebration of Life” on Saturday afternoon, August 21, 2004.
      Stephen Brent Miller and I had been partners for more than 42 years when he died in July 2004.

      Among the songs that Peter sang that afternoon was “Moon River.” Beginning in fall 2004, Peter
      and I became close personal friends. Peter was one of truly special people that I have known in
      my 70 years. When I looked at Peter, I saw the face of God.

      Paul Kuntzler

  • George Fulginiti-Shakar

    Dear Peter. What a fine human being. We did music together and I was always delighted by his intelligence, quick sexy smile, and uplifting attitude. Taking aim on doing what he loved most — singing. And going for it in such a relaxed but focused way. I’ll miss you, my friend, but I’m better for having known you.

  • I am deeply saddened to hear of Peter’s passing! Peter and I have been friends for years! He was one of those people who made you feel better just for knowing him. He had such talent, charisma and always had something positive to say about everyone. This is a terrible loss for those of us who were lucky enough to call him friend! My sincerest condolences to Peter’s family. Rest in peace my friend.

  • I am deeply saddened by this news. I always admired his talent and spirit. I didnt even know Peter but saw him around Dupont often He projected a warm and upbeat personality. Very handsome and no attitude. My thoughts are with his family

  • Raymond DeMichiei

    One aspect of Pete’s life that was not mentioned, and speaks to his giving personality, and how I had the occasion to know and be a friend of Pete’s, was he is also a Paramedic. We met and he was my semi-regular partner on a Medic Unit at a local Advanced Life Support Ambulance Service in the Greater Pittsburgh Area. Pete also made his medical skills available as part of the medical team for a number of AIDS Bike Marathons where he was also a rider. Good-by old friend.

  • Pete was a good friend and former college roommate. We lost touch over the past 20 years…(you need to make time to keep in touch with old friends…too young to die! ) I will always remember and admire his optimism, confidence and debating skills. He was not afraid to speak his mind. Pete touched a lot of lives during his short visit on this planet, he will be missed. To all of his friends and family: Please accept my sincere condolences. Sprek

  • Peter was a special person and the arts were his passion. Here is additional information that others may want to know that was sent out by his family regarding donations:

    In lieu of flowers, Peter would like gifts made to the Icla Da Silva Foundation, which has helped his god daughter Tracy with her Leukemia. http://www.icla.org/

    You may also make a gift to the Sitar Arts Center, which promotes music and the arts to kids. http://www.sitarartscenter.org/

    (Stay tuned for more info on a project with Sitar to continue Peter’s legacy)

  • This is really sad and brings me to a very sad place when I lost my sister to cancer. I know Peter and I hope he is in a better place. I admire Antonio for being there for him, his roommate, and especially the family. I know how hard it is. My prayers with all of you.

  • What horrible news. He was such a nice man.

  • Peter was so wonderful. Talking with him was always a pleasure-such warmth and genuineness. Very sad news.

  • Pete was one of the kindest, sweetest, and most talented men I’ve ever known. We didn’t see as much of each other after he moved to DC, but we stayed in touch. I last saw him in May 2009 during a Potomac Fever performance, and I wish we had been able to get together more. As a fellow musician, I was pleasantly surprised when he took to performing professionally and was pleased to see him becoming more and more successful. Before he took ill, he and I had started to plan a cabaret performance here in Pittsburgh. His physical life may have been cut short, but he will live on in the hearts of all who were touched by his musicianship and his humanity. He will be sorely missed.

  • Richard Hulkenberg

    Peter was a friend and fellow motorcyclist. We were on several motorcycle adventures together, including a tour of the state of Arizona. He had such love for life and brightened every room he entered. While riding, he even made time to wave at the truck drivers as he passed by on the Interstate. I will never forget him or our motorcycle adventures and I will always look back at those times as a true highlight of my life.

  • What a sweet man. I am so sad to hear about his passing.

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