Eric Peter Fossum
Eric Peter Fossum, born March 10, 1933, passed away peacefully at Luther Mayo Hospital in Eau Claire, WI on August 30, 2018. He embodied the characteristics of generosity, intelligence and humility, as he often said, ” I’m never the most important person in the room.” He was witty and urbane, a man of poetic language, exacting speech and impeccable English.
Eric was born into a family of 9 children, including 3 brothers born in Norway: Sigvald, Ingvald, and Gunvald Froystad. Eric also had 5 siblings born in Wisconsin: Carol, Otis, Joanne, Nona and Peter Fossum. He grew up on the family farm in the Rock Falls/Meridean, WI area and graduated with a major in Economics from St. Olaf College in Northfield, MN in 1955. While at St. Olaf’s, he worked as a soda jerk at the Ole Store, an off campus café, and also worked summers for L. G. Arnold Construction Co. After graduation, he was drafted into the U. S. Army, received basic training in Arkansas, completed professional training for military intelligence personnel at the U.S. Army Intelligence School at Ft. Holabird, MD, and worked as an analyst for the Army counter-intelligence corps in southern Germany in the late 1950’s.
After his army service, Eric traveled in Europe, returning to Wisconsin to work for Eau Claire County Human Services. After 7 years, Eric took a sabbatical of one year, spending time in Norway, learning Norwegian and meeting his Norwegian aunts, uncles and cousins living there. He then returned to Eau Claire County Human Services where he enjoyed working in every facet of the field, finding work with the elderly the most rewarding and satisfying.
In his retirement, Eric pursued his favorite hobbies of refinishing antiques, restoring homes and junk, gardening, canoeing and cross country skiing. After the passing of his mother, Gyda, Eric took on the responsibility of the many holiday celebrations for the large, extended family. Eric was the glue that kept the American and Norwegian families connected across the Atlantic. He spoke and read Norwegian fluently, translating all of the letters from relatives in Norway to family members in the U.S. Eric ensured Norwegian relatives knew they were more than welcome, ensuring their visits here kept the family connections alive in Norway.
Eric was preceded in death by his parents, Gyda and John Fossum, his brothers, Sigvald (Jo) Froystad, Ingvald, (Doris) Froystad, Gunvald Froystad, Peter (Sharon) Fossum, a sister, Joanne Halvorson, a brother-in-law, Richard Joles, and a sister-in-law, Winifred Fossum. He is survived by sisters, Carol Joles and Nona (Erv) Seem, a brother, Otis Fossum, a brother-in-law, Jim Halvorson, and a sister-in-law, Verneal Froystad. He leaves behind many nieces, nephews, cousins, friends and co-workers who will cherish his memory!
Memorials may be directed to the Rock Creek Lutheran Church, Rock Falls, WI, or a charity of donor’s choice. Cremation arrangements are being handled by Goodrich Funeral Home in Durand, WI. Celebration of life services are scheduled for 12 noon, Saturday, September 29, 2018 at Rock Creek Lutheran Church, Rock Falls, WI.
Takk for alt, vær så god, og trygg reise, mektig viking!