JOPLIN - Errol Ortas Fossen, 88, died Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2003, at a Chester nursing home due to pneumonia.
A funeral service will be 2 p.m. Sunday at Bethel Lutheran Church in Joplin. Burial is to follow in Joplin Cemetery.
Errol was born on the family farm south of Joplin on Aug. 28, 1914, to Otto and Edith (Holum) Fossen. He grew up in the Joplin community and received his education there. He graduated from Joplin High School in 1933. He continued his schooling at Montana State College in Bozeman, where he studied agriculture for a year, then returned to the farm. In addition to farming, the Fossens delivered fuel, coal and ice to families throughout north-central Montana.
Errol was inducted into the U.S. Army Air Corps in 1942. He served in the European-African-Middle Eastern campaign during World War II with the 76th Troop Carrier Squadron. He attained the rank of tech sergeant before his honorable discharge in 1945.
He married Theresa A. Terwolbeck on March 5, 1946, in Havre. They lived and farmed in the Joplin community during their 57 years together and raised a family of eight children. They built a home in Joplin in 1962. They began traveling south in the late 1970s. In 1984, they purchased a winter home at Apache Junction, Ariz., where they enjoyed the past 19 seasons. Errol's health began to deteriorate in the past six months and he entered the Liberty County Nursing Home on Jan. 17.
Errol loved his life as a Montana farmer. He started farming when he was 13 and bought his first tractor in 1928. He eventually turned the farm over to his sons but never officially retired and was still climbing on grain bins and combining at 85.
Errol maintained his membership at Bethel Lutheran Church in Joplin, where he was baptized on Oct. 2, 1914. He belonged to the Joplin Commercial Club, Joplin Fire Department and Sons of Norway, and served on the Joplin School Board and Hill County Water District. He also was a lifetime member of the VFW, had served as director of the Liberty County Shovel Factory, and had been a member of the Joplin Community Band in his early years.
He enjoyed golfing, dancing, collecting Indian rocks, vegetable gardening and playing cards, especially whist and pinochle. He also enjoyed playing and tinkering with violins. During his quiet time, Errol liked to read, mainly newspapers and informative magazines, and to watch TV, especially the Lawrence Welk Show, Red Skelton, game shows and Westerns. Most of all, he enjoyed staying busy and fixing things around the farmstead.
Errol and Theresa enjoyed traveling and made many memorable trips to China, Norway, Germany, South America and other interesting places.
Errol was preceded in death by his parents and two grandchildren.
Survivors include his wife, Theresa of Joplin; sons, Dale (Mary Ann) Fossen of Joplin, Al Fossen of Great Falls, Larry (Christy) Fossen of Inverness and Marlowe (Chelli) Fossen of Joplin; daughters, Arlene (Terry) Williams of Dillon, Trudy (Bruce) Mansfield of Joplin, Jean (Rod) Oraw of Chester and Denise (Dan) Moerkerke of Hamilton; sister, Marvel (Martin) Olsen of Deer Lodge; 24 grandchildren; seven great-grandchildren; and numerous other relatives and friends.
Arrangements are by Rockman Funeral Chapel, Chester.