Tuesday, Dec. 21, 2004 | 9:23 a.m.
Legend has it that half the business deals in Las Vegas were done on Foxy's Deli napkins and a handshake during the late 1950s.
Shecky Greene, Liberace, Wayne Newton, Don Rickles, The Mills Brothers along with community business leaders and tourists flocked to Foxy's for fresh food flown in from Los Angeles daily.
Their loyalty gave owner Abe Fox some opportunities to have a bit of fun.
"He was a practical joker," his stepdaughter-in-law Becky Jacobs said.
Some businessmen once asked Fox to cater a turkey dinner at Mount Charleston. Fox sent a live turkey that had to be chased by those attending the dinner.
For a going-away present, Fox presented a fish bowl with a live goldfish in it to a friend before boarding an airplane.
Abe Fox, who opened the doors to Foxy's Deli at what is now Las Vegas Boulevard and Sahara Avenue in 1955 after arriving from Los Angeles, died Friday after suffering a stroke Dec. 13 while watching football at the Las Vegas Country Club. He was 90.
"He had a chip in his hand and slumped over," Jacobs said.
"He was a man with vision and dreams," Jacobs said of the entrepreneur who owned not only the deli but liquor stores, a message service and land in Nevada and California.
Fox hired the late singer Nat King Cole as his spokesman when trying to persuade state officials to change the name of Pahrump, 60 miles west of Las Vegas, to Palm Springs.
Fox cared for family members and friends throughout his life. He found foster homes for at least two children in need, Jacobs said.
His own children and grandchildren got the biggest and the best of anything they desired. One grandchild received a miniature train set anchored to a board that filled an entire room. Another grandson learned to ride horseback.
"The next thing we knew, we owned two horses," Jacobs said.
Born on Nov. 29, 1914, in New York City, Fox moved to Los Angeles with his family. He attended Roosevelt High School there.
At the time of his death, Fox was subdividing and selling lots for development in Winnemucca.
The deli closed in 1975, but Fox continued working, going to breakfast, the post office and then his office six days a week,
Services were held Monday at King David Memorial Chapel. Burial followed at Palm Valley View Cemetery.
Fox was preceded in death by his first wife, Ellena Cleinman, and second wife, Evelyne Garfinkle.
He is survived by his significant other, Katherine Gelber; daughter, Carol Taylor of Pahrump; son, Jerry Fox of Henderson; stepdaughter, Rosalie Kinney of Las Vegas; stepson, Don Jacobs of Las Vegas; 10 grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.
Donations can be made to Congregation Ner Tamid or Youth Charities of Southern Nevada.