U planner organized for life and beyond

Michaeleen Fox’s funeral is set for Saturday afternoon in Mendota Heights.

Lora Pabst

Michaeleen Fox organized almost every aspect of her life, including her funeral.

Fox, 60, died Saturday of cancer.

She worked at the University for 36 years and most recently was the director of space management.

In her latest position, Fox managed all the physical space at the University, assisted in building projects and determined where departments would be located.

Fox’s friends and family attribute her job success to her organizational skills, skills that carried over into her personal life.

Fox planned her funeral service in the weeks before her death.

“She wanted lots of flowers,” colleague Jeanne Markell said.

After she picked her eulogists, she read through her eulogies and made any necessary corrections, her lifelong friend Anne Marie Ettel said.

“She wanted me and (Markell) to correct them for grammatical correctness,” Ettel said.

Markell met Fox almost 20 years ago when they were colleagues.

Markell said Fox had a big impact at the University because of all the buildings she was responsible for.

“It was the people in the space that had a lot of meaning to her,” she said. “She was so fair.”

Fox’s sister Jackie Hoeft agreed.

“It didn’t even help to be her best friend,” she said. “If she didn’t think you needed one more inch, you wouldn’t get it.”

Fox was the oldest of four girls and, Hoeft said, “she was always the boss.”

“She herded us around like a mother duck,” she said. “We did whatever she told us to do until we got old enough to have a mind of our own.”

Ettel said she organized activities and outings for all her friends.

“She got a lot of us to do things we wouldn’t normally have done,” she said.

Ettel learned how to cross-country ski, golf and throw pottery with Fox.

Markell played golf with Fox at the University golf course.

“Michaeleen was a really rotten golfer,” she said with a laugh. “For as many things as she did well, golf was not one of them.

“We would just gossip about the University, follow that little ball around and not take life too seriously,” Markell said.

After Fox found out she

had terminal cancer, she wanted her friends and family to face her illness, Markell said.

“I learned so much about life from Michaeleen, and I learned so much about dying from her,” she said.

Fox’s funeral service is at 3:30 p.m. Saturday at the Convent of the Visitation School Fine Arts Center in Mendota Heights.