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Obituary of Donald Eugene Fosso
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Donald Eugene Fosso Feb. 19, 1935-Feb 15, 2023 Last of 6 kids born to Rev. Oluf (b.1884) and wife Clara (b.1889) in Ketchikan, Alaska, Don peacefully passed on February 15th, 2023, in Fernandina Beach, Florida. In early life, Don grew up on oysters, salmon, venison and bear hunted by his father and friends on nearby Prince of Wales Island. He took his first steps in the basement parish of Ketchikan Lutheran Church, founded and built by Oluf and pioneer members. When he was 5, Rev. Oluf accepted a pastoral call to the hardscrabble logging and fishing port town of Anacortes, WA. Don spent his school years in Tom Sawyer-like fashion with his good friend Jim Berentson, fishing the lakes and piers of Fidalgo Island after school. Summers would often find them earning money delivering groceries to a local military camp during the WWII years and running horses back to Mt. Erie to be rented by tourists. On Fridays, they waited to watch “fight night” between sailors outside the Red Lion Tavern. Rev. Oluf died in 1949 which led to Don and his mom moving to sister Alalie and husband Ken Johnson’s Seattle home where Don graduated in 1953 from Roosevelt High School. Don attended Pacific Lutheran College and received his BA, Ed.. He met Barbara Skjonsby there. They were soon married, heading to the budding Navy seaplane base town of Oak Harbor to teach together. Later, Barb stayed home raising children while Don taught school. Teaching brought many lifelong friends and fishing pals. Many ex-students stopped to visit Don for decades afterwards. Scraping on a teachers’ salary, summers often found Don and his teacher friends driving old buses filled with strawberry pickers to Skagit Valley fields or painting houses. Later, Don began gillnetting in local waters albeit with fleeting luck. He captained a friends’ gillnetter to Alaska, fishing near Ketchikan with his older sons. This led to his older sons’ careers in Alaska fishing. This legacy carried on to his grandsons who began as teens in Bristol Bay. Don retired from teaching after 30 years. Don then worked as a property inspector for Island Title Company, enjoying 25 years traveling Island and Skagit backroads. Don’s mapping memory never faded and he could find his way to obscure rural places from South Whidbey to Baker Lake. In 1997, Don survived cancer with a lifesaving bladder replacement surgery. However, in March, 1998, he lost his first love Barb from her own brief battle with cancer. Joy returned later in 1998 when Don attended a class reunion where he spotted an old classmate, Margaret ( formerly “Harpster Rodin"). They soon married and enjoyed life together in Oak Harbor. They were blessed to have many exciting travels and cruises. Later, Don loyally helped Peggy with her medical needs as her health began to wane until she passed away in 2017. Don returned to live on Fidalgo Island in 2020. Don loved looking at boats in the marina, eating oysters, and driving around the island, reviving old memories. Christmas was never without a lutefisk feed with family and friends who could brave the odor. After 2020, Don grew weary of the tyrannical Governor’s overreaching mandates. He studied the issues by daily reading footnoted books and papers. This led to Don, along with son Dan and his wife Yuli. leaving for Florida in the spring of 2022, enjoying a 3,000 mile trip across America in the process. He cherished numerous visits with family and friends along the way. In February, 2023, Don said that God was calling him home, finishing his life journey across the continent from his Alaska birth to a well-deserved Florida sunset. Don was an Oak Harbor Lions’ Club member and president, New Leaf (for adult disabled) board member and president, Oak Harbor Lutheran Church board member and president, board member at Josephine Sunset Home, Special Olympics and more. In Florida, Don was a member of Prince of Peace Lutheran Church in Fernandina Beach and the Sons of Norway, Gateway to Florida Lodge 3-541. In addition to sons Rick, Steve (Kori), Dan (Yuli), Don is survived by grandchildren Lauren “Misha” (Nove), their twins Thor and Zephyr, Kyle (Samantha), their daughter Bailey, and Knute (Cait), and their daughter Havyn, numerous loving in-laws, nephews and nieces, cousins and their families. In addition to Barbara and Peggy, Don was preceded in death by parents Oluf and Clara, all his older siblings, Paul, Alalie, Corinne, Harold and Ruth; and many other extended loved ones too numerous to mention. Many thanks are due to the caring staff at Baptist Health Nassau and Community Hospice. Services will be held at Prince of Peace Lutheran Church. Don will be memorialized and ashes will rest in Oak Harbor at Maple Leaf Cemetery next to Barb and more will be spread on the Pacific Ocean near Peggy’s ashes. Memorials may be given to Prince of Peace Lutheran Church of Fernandina Beach or the charity of choice.To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Donald Fosso, please visit Tribute Store
11:00 am - 12:00 pm
Friday, March 10, 2023
Prince of Peace Lutheran Church
2600 Atlantic Ave
Fernandina Beach, Florida, United States
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In Loving Memory
1935 - 2023
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