When he heard that the ballfield at Larry Fink Memorial Park was being considered for a complete make-over, Corey Fox knew this was the perfect project to be involved with. He, his twin brother Ryan, and their older sister Lisa grew up across the street from the park. It wasn’t just a park to them. It was the park. When they were young kids, it was their park.
The Fox family, neighbors, and friends spent many days and nights at Fink Park playing on the swing sets, fishing, and playing baseball. Forty years ago, they played soccer, T-ball, and basketball and were part of the park district leagues. They went to classes and activities at West Ridge Center. They were what we happily call ‘Park District kids.’ Like many Highland Park families, Corey, Ryan, and Lisa went to Highland Park schools–Edgewood and HPHS–left for college and returned to their hometown. And now their kids have played all those sports and enjoyed our classes and camps. The circle is unbroken. It holds Lisa’s son Simon and daughter Harper, and Corey’s son Noah and daughters Emma and Mila. “They live at the parks —the parks are a huge part of their lives,” said Lisa. The same has been true for three generations in the Fox family. We love hearing that. It’s why we do what we do.
For Lisa, Ryan, and Corey, Fink Park is a place that brings back great memories of family, friendship, community, and, of course, of their father, Jeff. So it’s fitting that when the opportunity arose to help with the renovation of the ballfield in that special park, the Fox family rose to the occasion—and fitting as well that the Park Board has approved “Jeff Fox Field” as the name of the new ballpark.
Jeff Fox passed away in 2021. When he was quite ill and in the last few months of his life, he would still go to the ballfield so he wouldn’t miss a baseball game that Noah was playing in. “Nothing would bring Dad more joy than watching Noah pitch in a game at Fink Park,” the family told us. Everything had come full circle.
Corey, Ryan, and Lisa are all very clear about the project’s meaning to the family. It’s not simply about it being named Jeff Fox Field. In fact, according to Ryan, “Dad might not have agreed to have a field named after him, but he loved what this particular field meant to him. Togetherness, family, having fun, making friends, and community.” “And baseball was dad’s passion and such a big part of who he was.” For the family, it’s all about being able to help create something that everyone can enjoy as much as they did.
Lisa spoke for her brothers, saying, “He gave us all an amazing childhood. This was our park, and we wanted it to be a special place for the next generation of families. We wanted dad’s legacy to be symbolized by what was most important to him, which was bringing people together and building relationships. This project was a really unique way to make that happen.”
All of us at your Park District thank the Fox family and their supporters for their commitment, and we’re grateful to everyone supporting this important ballfield renovation. You are a big part of what makes this a great community.
See you around the parks!