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Obituary: John Richard Foss

John Richard Foss, age 77, of Esko, Minnesota entered eternal life on Thursday, April 4, 2024, at St. Luke's Hospital in Duluth. He was born in Mason City, Iowa on July 28, 1946, the son of Norman and Helen (Martin) Foss.

John grew up in Latimer, Iowa and graduated from CAL Community Schools where he participated in band, choir, and track. He received his BA degree from Central College in Pella, Iowa where he was a member of Mu Gamma Pi music honorary fraternity, Music Educators National Conference, Acapella Choir (president), Marching and Pep Bands, and held a leading role in the college musical. He also did graduate work in counseling at Iowa State University in Ames.

John taught for over 40 years which included K-12 general music, junior and senior high school band and vocal music. He taught public school in Emmons, Minnesota, Huxley, Iowa, Gillette, Wyoming, Kalispell, Montana, both Johnson and Sheridan County, Wyoming, and Proctor, Minnesota. John loved to include patriotic themes in his concerts. He directed church choirs in Prairie City and Slater, Iowa, and in Cloquet, Minnesota. He shared his beautiful baritone voice and played trumpet and trombone solos and in brass groups in many churches. John was a member of Bethesda Lutheran Church in Carlton, Minnesota.

A true patriot, John flew our country's flag at home whenever weather permitted. He served in the Army's 25th Infantry Division in Vietnam as a mine sweeper, was a driver for his CO, and an operations sergeant.

John married Carolyn Kovalik in 1970 at Ft. DeRussy Chapel in Honolulu, Hawaii. They shared many commonalities including love of music and their golden retrievers and poodles. John loved being outdoors camping and traveling in their trailer. He enjoyed boating, fishing, biking, golfing, hunting, and the Big Horn Mountains. He also loved hunting birds with his Iowa family, and deer, antelope and elk hunting in Wyoming with Carol's father.

Known for his warm smile, patience, and easy-going personality, John was loved dearly by family and those who knew him. He lived a life of gratitude, and he will be greatly missed.

John is survived by his wife, Carol; brother, Robert (LuAnn); sister-in-law, Nancy; nephews, Brian, Jared, Jason and Daniel; niece, Christine; and beloved friends. He was preceded in death by his parents, Norman and Helen Foss; and brothers, Edwin and William.

The family wishes to express thanks to the kindness and care shown by staff and volunteers at Volunteer Services of Carlton County dementia programs, St. Luke's Hospice; the nurses at 2 West, St. Luke's Hospital in Duluth, and the caregivers in Memory Care Cottage #8 at New Perspective in Cloquet.

A graveside service with military honors will take place at a future date at the family plot in the Alexander, Iowa cemetery. Should friends desire, memorials can be made to Volunteer Services of Carlton County, Inc., 199 Chestnut Avenue – Suite 3, PO Box 450, Carlton, MN 55718 or Samaritan's Purse. To leave an online condolence for the family, please visit http://www.nelsonfuneralcare.net.