Agnes M. Faux, 73, of Glen Mills, a volunteer clown who cheerfully listened to the troubles of hospital patients even as her own health declined, died Saturday, Aug. 3, of cancer at her home.
Mrs. Faux devoted her life to volunteering - as Cub Scout den mother, foster mother to seven, church worker, and counselor at the Delaware County women's prison.
But her best-known role was as "Nurse" Tessy Tickles, a caring clown who appeared with clown-husband Fred (as "Doctor" Tee Time) every Friday morning at Riddle Memorial Hospital. The volunteer work continued for 10 years through May.
Dressed in medical garb, with silly hat and shoes, the two made "rounds," matching their mood to those of the patients, staff, and visitors they met in the hallways.
She loved it so much she persuaded her husband to give up a morning's golf each week to join her.
"Aggie loved to talk, but she also listened," said Louise Elkins, a trainer and board member of Bumper T Caring Clowns. The nonprofit prepares retirees for clown work across the country.
Mrs. Faux had reason not to smile.
She had beaten breast cancer in her early 50s. When cancer appeared in 2010 in her lungs, and later her brain, she fought it with chemotherapy while keeping her commitment to clowning at Riddle.
"I never saw Aggie, in all the years I have known her, when she didn't have a smile," Elkins said. "All through her chemo and everything. That was her personality."
"That really says a lot about someone - putting aside her own problems to try and make it better for somebody else," said Donna Kieser, administrative assistant for Riddle's volunteer programs.
"Aggie and Fred were a great husband-and-wife clown team," said Kieser. "I think they probably touched more people than anybody would ever know. She will really be missed."
Born in Mayfair, Mrs. Faux graduated from St. Hubert's Catholic High School for Girls in 1957. While there, she was a National Honor Society student and coeditor of the school newspaper.
She and her husband met on a blind date and married in 1958, on the fourth anniversary of that date. Her husband described her as a positive person, with a deep religious faith and a lively sense of humor.
In 1987, she was honored as Town Talk newspaper's "Mother of the Year" in Delaware County.
Surviving, besides her husband of 54 years, are sons Michael, Steven, Thomas, and Andrew; a daughter, Cindy; 11 grandchildren; a niece; and a nephew.
Visitation will be from 6:30 to 9 p.m. Friday, Aug. 16, at Nolan-Fidale Funeral Home, 5980 Chichester Ave., Aston. Another visitation will be from 9:15 to 10:45 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 17, followed by an 11 a.m. Funeral Mass, at St. Thomas the Apostle Roman Catholic Church, 430 Valleybrook Rd., Chester Heights. Interment is private.
Contributions may be sent to the Little Sisters of the Poor, 140 Shepherds Lane, Totowa, N.J. 07512.