James P. Fogg Jr., who dedicated his life to service and giving back to others, died from cancer last Tuesday at Jefferson Regional Hospital. He was 63.
Mr. Fogg's death came as a shock to family and friends as many didn't know he was sick, said stepdaughter Samantha Maylack, of Cranberry.
Mr. Fogg, of Belle Vernon, was perpetually learning, Ms. Maylack said.
He received a bachelor of arts in religion and psychology from Otterbein University and a master of divinity from United Theological Seminary . He attended the doctoral program at Wesley Seminary and counseling program at United Theological Seminary. He received his master's degree in marriage and family therapy from Seton Hall University.
From when he was a young adult, Mr. Fogg, known by family and friends as Jim, had a very strong affinity for faith, which became a vehicle for what he did as a counselor, Ms. Maylack said.
"There is no money in counseling so he really wanted to help the people in different ways," she said.
It was his dedication to the United Methodist ministry that led him to his wife of 27 years, Joan Collier Fogg, who met Mr. Fogg through the church.
Spending 36 years in the ministry, he became friends with many, including Jim Harper of Franklin Park, whom he met in 1985 when he was transferred to Ingomar United Methodist Church in Franklin Park. Mr. Harper and his wife became close friends with the Foggs.
"His personality was always so up tempo and he was a good friend to everyone," Mr. Harper said.
As a pastor in the United Methodist Conference, he served several area churches, including Calvary United Methodist Church in Ligonier, First United Methodist Church in Kittanning and Asbury United Methodist Church in Uniontown.
Despite retiring from the ministry, he never stopped serving others. In 2006, he opened a private practice, Life's Changes Counseling Service, providing marriage and family therapy. Through his work in the ministry, he was able to connect with people and deal with difficult situations, Mr. Harper said.
Mr. Fogg was always able to relate instantly to all types of people, Ms. Maylack said.
"He had such a warm personality and always wanted to help people," she said. "The guy got me in my teenage years and he took everything as it came. He was always there."
For 16 summers, Mr. and Mrs. Fogg would travel to Stone Harbor, N.J., for at least a week at a time, Ms. Maylack said.
"It was so precious," she said. "They always loved it there."
In his spare time, Mr. Fogg would read novelist John Updike or would read to children in the community. As a board member of Children and Youth Services, Salvation Army and United Way, all of Fayette County, he continued his service work by volunteering at local soup kitchens and nursing homes.
"He had a deep impact in many different lives," she said. "He inspired one of my friends to be a minister. He had a legacy to leave."
In addition to his wife and stepdaughter, Mr. Fogg is survived by his son, Kevin Fogg and daughter Traci Fogg, both of the Dayton, Ohio, area, stepson J.D. Adams of Land O Lakes, Fla., and five grandchildren.
A memorial service celebrating Mr. Fogg's life will be at 11 a.m., today in the Ingomar United Methodist Church, 1501 W. Ingomar Drive, Franklin Park.
Donations may be sent to Family Services of Western Pennsylvania's Helping Hand Fund, memory of James Fogg Jr., 3230 William Pitt Way, Pittsburgh, PA 15238.
Claire Aronson: firstname.lastname@example.org, 412-263-1964 or on Twitter @Claire_Aronson.