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Man Dies Doing What He Loved: Working

Jul 9, 2003 | Salisbury Daily Times

Wallace Foxwell turned 65 and called it quits at the job he had held for more than three decades.

But like other retirees wanting to stay active, he went back to work.

Foxwell, the oldest employee for the City of Fruitland, died last week from an accident doing what he knew and loved climbing a ladder.

Fruitland's code enforcement officer and housing inspector for the last seven years would have turned 79 next Thursday.

"He's been in construction work all of his life," a tearful Wanda Foxwell, of Salisbury, said of her husband. "He loved it."

Her husband was inspecting a house under construction on Fruitland's East Main Street when a ladder supporting him apparently slipped, she said.

A construction worker discovered Foxwell on the ground beside the ladder the morning of June 30, Fruitland City Manager Rick Pollitt said Tuesday. It was unclear whether the ladder slipped or Foxwell became ill and fell, he said.

"We're speculating he might have fallen off," Pollitt said.

The injury paralyzed Foxwell, and he was flown by helicopter to the Maryland Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore from Peninsula Regional Medical Center, Wanda Foxwell said.

"He could talk. We were hoping he'd get better," she said.

Foxwell died two days later and the Dorchester County native was buried Monday in Cambridge, where he worked 35 years at the Charles E. Brohawn Co. construction company, his wife said Tuesday.

The couple moved to Salisbury after Foxwell's 1986 retirement, renting a place for a while, then eventually building a new home.

"He didn't build it himself but he checked on the builders, checked what they were doing," Wanda Foxwell said.

Foxwell took a job as an inspector at George Miles and Buhr, a Salisbury architectural firm doing business with Fruitland, Pollitt said.

"That's how we got to know him," he said. "We took him away."

At the time, Fruitland was facing a housing boom with no housing inspector, and Foxwell stepped in part-time to fill the void, Pollitt said. Soon, he doubled as the town's code enforcement officer.

"He made his own hours, usually (working) in the early morning until about noon," Pollitt said. "We were in the process of hiring a full-time code enforcement officer and have him do building inspection. We will have to re-evaluate the whole program."

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