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Former U.S. District Court Judge Dead at 76

June 4, 1987

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) _ Former U.S. District Judge Noel P. Fox, whose long judicial career included a controversial ruling allowing Indian tribes to fish commercially in the Great Lakes without government interference, is dead at 76.

Fox died Wednesday at Villa Elizabeth Nursing Home, where he had lived since February 1986, Mary Ann Greenhoe, director of nursing, said today.

Appointed in 1962 by President John F. Kennedy, Fox retired in January 1985.

Fox drew criticism from sports anglers in 1979 when he ruled that two 19th century treaties between three northern Michigan Indian tribes and the U.S. government permitted the tribes to fish commercially in parts of lakes Huron and Michigan.

Fox’s rulings also included desegregation plans for the Kalamazoo, Benton Harbor and Lansing school districts and decisions that the state’s strict meat-labeling laws were constitutional but that grooming codes for high school students were not.

At the time of Fox’s retirement, U.S. District Judge Richard Enslen, sitting in Kalamazoo, said Fox ″leaves a body of work that is rich in philosophy and a source of insight for his successors.″

Fox attended Marquette University and graduated at the top of his class at Marquette University Law School.

Before becoming a federal judge, Fox served as assistant prosecutor for Muskegon County and as a circuit court judge. He also served in the Navy during World War II, said his lifelong friend Harry Knudsen.

Knudsen said the funeral is scheduled for 10 a.m. Saturday at St. Thomas Catholic Church in Grand Rapids.

Fox is survived by his daughter, two brothers, two sisters, two grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

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