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Obituary: Damian Fox

It is very sad to have to record the death, from a congenital heart disease, of Damian Fox, Account Manager in Information Systems Services.

Damian completed an HND in Computer Studies at Leeds Polytechnic in 1976 and joined the University Computing Service as a Programming Assistant in September 1977. His attitude, abilities and approach made an immediate impact and he was promoted to Programmer in the following year. Having played a valuable role within the language systems team, Damian assumed responsibility in 1983 for the management of the Systime VAX computer.

Belying his comparative youth and lack of experience at a senior level, he proved an outstanding success in this capacity, efficiently ensuring the maintenance of a reliable service to nearly three thousand users of the facility. Among his other achievements, Damian was a leading figure in the development of the Computex viewdata service. One of the major systems running on the VAX, this was a prototype for a regional and national service utilised by university purchasing officers; without Damians knowledge and enthusiasm, it is doubtful whether the project would have come to fruition.

Damian was a regular presenter at seminars offered as part of the training programme on Viewdata systems organised by the Committee of Vice-Chancellors and Principals. Similarly, he led training courses on VAX software management, both in-house and externally, and took a very active part in national and international user groups for this class of machine. He was promoted to Systems Analyst in 1987 and to Computer Officer in 1989.

From his earliest days, Damian was wedded to the ideal of providing the highest possible quality of service to users. His appointment, in the mid-1990s, as the Computing Services first manager of Facilities Management Services provided him with new opportunities to pursue this objective.

He was responsible for negotiating contracts with Schools and Departments for the provision of IT services to meet their particular needs, and subsequently for ensuring that the terms of the agreement were satisfactorily fulfilled. To this demanding area of work, Damian brought a highly professional and effective approach. During this period, Damian also has a substantial involvement in supporting the computing requirements of the Works and Services Division.

Following internal reorganisation within Information Systems Services, Damian was designated as an Account Manager in 2000. In this role he continued to have regular and substantial interaction with the user community within the Faculties of Arts; Medicine, Dentistry, Psychology and Health; and Performance, Visual Arts and Communications. He took a key part in ensuring that immediate and longer-term IT requirements and aspirations in these areas were identified, and that appropriate provision was in place and levels of customer satisfaction carefully monitored.

By dint of his extensive knowledge and skills, his approachability, and his unfailing readiness to help, support and advise, Damian was a most popular and respected colleague, both within ISS and the many parts of the University with which he had dealings.

Damians funeral will take place on Thursday 8 July 2004, with a Requiem Mass being held at St Francis of Assisi (Roman Catholic) Church, Westfield Road, Morley, at 11.15am, followed by cremation at Kettlethorpe Crematorium, Stanbridge Lane, Wakefield at 12.30pm. Family flowers only, please, but donations in Damians memory may be made to the RNLI Lifeboats (

A Book of Condolence may be signed in ISS Reception, where donations may also be left.

The flag on the Parkinson Building will be flown at half-mast on Thursday in Damian's memory.

Published: 29 June 2004