Shirley Jeanne Fox

February 20, 1932 - December 17, 2021

Shirley Fox

Shirley J. Fox, 89, of Batavia passed away Friday, December 17, 2021, surrounded by her family at Northwestern Medicine Delnor Hospital, in Geneva. She was born February 20, 1932, in Ottawa, IL the daughter of Earling Ostrem and Gernie (Edwinson) Ostrem. She was united in marriage to Robert Fox December 30, 1978, in Batavia, IL.

Shirley was born into a farming family near Ottawa, IL during the Great Depression. Her beloved birth mother Gernie (Edwinson) Ostrem was a talented music teacher who was known to have taught in Ottawa High School. Gernie Ostrem died when Shirley was 6 months old and brother Lowell was 3. Her father later married Helen Wing, affectionately known as ‘Mother Helen,’ who had two additional children, Vernon and Sharon. Shirley attended a one-room schoolhouse that she and her siblings would walk to every day. Shirley excelled in music and literature, earning high grades that helped her receive a scholarship to attend Northern Illinois State Teachers College in DeKalb. She earned her Bachelor of Science Degree in Education, High Honors, and later her Master of Science in Music Education from University of Southern California in Los Angeles. Shirley moved to Batavia, IL and became an elementary school music teacher, and later, classroom teacher for the next 38 years. A beloved teacher and member of the Batavia community, Shirley was known as a generous and gracious lady who was the first to help a friend in need. She married Bob Fox in 1978 and became active in community theater, Playmakers, Inc., volunteer piano playing, accompanying school children in contests and musicals, and performing with her husband in presenting musical programs to local church groups, retirement centers, and parties. Their signature song, ‘I Remember It Well’ from the musical Gigi was a sure hit every time. In her retirement she continued to spend time in many musical endeavors, and with her 10 grandchildren and 21 great grandchildren.

She is survived by her sister-in-law Norma Ostrem; nephew Stanley (Sampa) Ostrem; five nieces, Carla (John) Stone, Rhonda (John) Crate, Doreen (Lance) Taylor, Holly (John) Banister, and Deanna (Rick) Skoczen; two cousins, Jim Ostrem and Elaine Ostrem; stepchildren Linda (David) Clemens, Roberta (Hans Koelsch) Fox, Jack (Diane) Fox and Elizabeth (Gerry) Sullivan, and above mentioned grandchildren and great grandchildren.

In addition to her parents, she is preceded in death by her stepmother Helen (Wing) Ostrem, husband Robert C. Fox, her two brothers Lowell and Vernon Ostrem, and her sister Sharon McNeilley.

Funeral services will be at 11 a.m. Tuesday, December 28, 2021 at Bethany Lutheran Church 8 S. Lincoln St, Batavia, IL 60510. Visitation will be held 4-8 p.m. Monday, December 27 at Moss Family Funeral Home, 209 South Batavia Ave., Batavia, IL, and at the church one hour prior to the service, on Tuesday. Interment will be private at Little Indian Creek Cemetery, in Leland, IL. Facemasks are required at all indoor locations.

In lieu of flowers memorial contributions may be directed to the Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation, 230 East Ohio Street, Suite 500 Chicago, Illinois 60611 or to the charity of the donor’s choice.

For additional information contact Moss Family Funeral Homes, Batavia, IL 630-879-7900 or

Guest Book

  • Gail Jackson My thoughts are with your family. What a lovely lady. I knew her from the floral shop. Pink was her color. Any dinners pink to match her dishes. Gifts for people pink azalea first choice. I hope she was surrounded with lots of pink flowers for her service.
  • Kathryn Hubbard Shirley was a part of our lives for so many years. She lived with Grandma Hubbard when she first moved to Batavia. She was Sara’s fifth grade teacher at JB Nelson, and over the course of many years accompanied all three of our daughters in their musical pursuits. It’s hard to let go of this wonderful woman who gently impacted so many lives in Batavia, but we know she’s now accompanying the angels on her heavenly piano. Rest In Peace dear lady.
  • Page & Carol McCloud We were blessed, as were many, by the goodness and kindness of Shirley. Her smile, grace and pleasant soul greeted us each time we met. She was a valued member of our musical production team at Batavia High School, sharing her experience and love of theatre with hundreds of students. We looked forward to each fall and the opportunity to work again with our good friend. Our hearts are heavy and we share your loss. We dearly love Shirley and will always hold her close.
  • Barbara Dickenson Shirley was my music teacher at Louise White, she made music class such fun. Then as a teacher I became her colleague at J. B. Nelson, what an honor. I will miss her!
  • Pegg Hawse1 Shirley was a wonderful friend, teacher, musician and mentor. She let me play the piano in second grade music class. I would watch her every move and decided I wanted to be like her. I spent my career as an elementary music teacher! Shirley and I continued our friendship into our later years. She accompanied me at a church talent show. I loved listening to her play the piano- she was a pro with a big heart!
  • Marguerite Karl Dear Friend, Life is so short and our times together not enough. I'm going to miss you. My family is going to miss you. Heaven gained an angel. Rest in Heavenly Peace treasured friend.
  • Marguerite Karl The Swedish American Children's Choir joins me in saying it won't be the same without "Mrs. Fox". Thank you Shirley for sharing your God given musical talents with us. You touched so many lives with your grace and humility too. God grant you peace
  • Mike and Elmarie Stiers What a fantastic musician,educator and wonderful human being Shirley was. There will never another like her.
  • Lydia (Messerklinger) Hughes My condolences to the family. I had Miss Ostrem for 4th grade. (She will always be Miss Ostrem to me! ❤) She was definitely my favorite elementary teacher. I remember her as always be upbeat and kind. I remember my mom sending me to school with a large bag of homegrown apples to give to her and she was so happy! Miss Ostrem held our end of year picnic at her home and we walked across town to get there. It was a fun day but definitely not something a teacher could do today. We were very lucky students. Miss Ostrem you will be missed.
  • Kathryn I. Escher Revor Shirley was a wonderful lady. I am so glad she and Uncle Bob made each other happy and now can see each other again. Bless you, Shirley. You will be missed.
  • Becky Moorehead Hoag Shirley was the loveliest of people and it was always wonderful to see her about town. She did indeed accompanying many a Batavia music student at contest, including my daughter, Shannon. I enjoyed seeing Shirley and Bob play for Holmstad residents, too. Sweet memories of her will continue.
  • Theresa (Prack) Elmer I extend my deepest condolences to your family. Mrs. Fox accompanied me on piano for many Solo & Ensemble Contests as well as many performances with the Mother’s Club of Batavia. She was a wonderful player and fabulous musician. I fondly remember her directing/accompanying our musicals at JB Nelson- nearly always smiling and joy-filled! My prayer is that many warm memories of her will comfort you during this difficult time.