Obituary: UWL Emeritus Harvey Fossen

Julia Balli, General Assignment Reporter

University of Wisconsin – La Crosse Emeritus Harvey Fossen passed away at Gundersen Health System on Saturday, March 30th. 

Fossen had a long and distinguished career at UWL. After more than 30 years of service, he retired in 1997 as Director of Administrative Computing. Harvey and his wife, Marge, remained active in UWL activities in their retirement. 

Coulee Region Cremation Group posted Fossen’s obituary online, which said the following: 

Harvey Fossen was born in 1940, the adored youngest of six children, to Hans and Marie Fossen in Stoughton, WI.  He died, surrounded by his wife and daughters, on 3/30/19 at Gundersen Health System in La Crosse. He was raised on a farm, working alongside his family. He graduated in 1958 from Stoughton High School, where he met his future bride, Marjorie Thompson. They were married on 10/8/1960. He enrolled in computer technology courses in Milwaukee which led him to his 32-year career at University of WI-La Crosse, eventually rising to the position of Director of Administrative Computing. 

Together, Harv and Marj raised their three daughters in Onalaska. He was a huge support to his girls, teaching them the meaning of unconditional love. He sat through many concerts, uncomplaining, from 5th grade band concerts to the Osmond Brothers. He taught them how to drive, be a good friend, and never take things too seriously. 

He had friends wherever he went. He was a proud member of the “Thursday Traveling Road Show”, golfing and drinking beer with his buddies. He loved fishing, block parties and playing cards. He and Marj travelled extensively, with Texas, Maine and Norway being some favorite destinations. He found joy in endless road trips and Sunday drives, even if his girls cried thinking that they were lost. He was a familiar sight at Friday night fish at The Ridge. 

Great joys of his life were his grandchildren and great grandson. Their first tastes of ice cream were always with grandpa. They will forever remember his kind heart, hugs and kisses, and great sense of humor. 

Harv could often be found listening to old time country music while grilling brats and burgers. He made the best buttered popcorn and on hot summer nights would declare “banana split sundaes for supper”. He was a great entertainer of the neighborhood – adults and children alike. He was adored by his extended family, loving to spend time with his nieces and nephews. 

The family would like to acknowledge the respect, care, and support of the 6th floor and Palliative and Hospice Care staff at Gundersen Medical System in La Crosse. 

In his final days he said that he did not regret anything and, if he could, he would live it all over again, just the same way. Harvey was big in every way, including his heart. We will forever strive to live life like he did. 

A Celebration of Life will be held on Saturday, May 18, 2019 at the Student Union at UWL from 1-4pm. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in his honor to Gundersen Health System Hospice La Crosse, American Heart Association or The American Diabetes Association.