Varna, N.Y. — F.H. Fox is forever.


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The beloved Cornell veterinary professor died on Friday, March 13. But his legacy lives on through the inscription of his name and age on the unused railroad bridge over Route 366 in Varna — now with one important addition.

Here’s the bridge on Friday:

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(Jeff Stein/Ithaca Voice)
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A photo printed in The Ithaca Journal, taken after the bridge was changed for Fox’s 92nd birthday on March 11 but before his death was made public on March 20, does not show “4ever” written on the bridge.

Previously, the part of the bridge that now reads “4ever” said “Moo” — probably a reference to Fox’s groundbreaking research on cows.

Nobody has reported who paints the bridge every year to track Fox’s age, but it’s suspected to be third-year students in the vet college.

Fox. (Courtesy of Cornell)
Fox. (Courtesy of Cornell)

After Fox’s death, Dr. Michael Kotlikoff, Dean of Veterinary Medicine at Cornell, said in a statement: “Francis was an iconic Cornell veterinarian and teacher who touched the lives of countless faculty, students, staff, and clients.

“His medical expertise, diagnostic skills and understanding of animals helped generations of local farmers maintain healthy, productive livestock.”

Fox was a renowned prankster, leading to his name being written on the bridge to tease him about his age, according to multiple reports.

Here’s a short documentary that tells the story of Fox and the bridge, and contains toward the end an interview with Fox:

“I play tricks on students; they play tricks on me. That keeps life interesting and alive,” Fox says in the documentary.

“That’s the way it goes. No regrets. Bottom line. I’ve had a wonderful life, for which I’m very thankful.”

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Jeff Stein is the founder and former editor of the Ithaca Voice.