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Published April 14, 2013, 12:00 AM

John (Jef) Foss

John Emerson Foss (known by most as Jef, his initials, or Appa), a family man, a thinker, a lover, and a laugher, 61, Fargo, ND, passed away on Wednesday, April 10, 2013, peacefully while resting in his home in Fargo, ND. Jef was born on December 26, 1951, in Fargo, ND, to Magnus Oliver Foss, Jr., and Marjorie (Bussey) Foss. He graduated from Moorhead High School in 1970, and then studied architecture at the University of Minnesota. Jef traveled around the United States (Minneapolis, MN, Austin, TX) after school before settling in New York City in 1979. In that same year, Jef became engaged to his wife Keiko Hamada (Foss) from Japan. The two were married in New York City in 1982. After having two children, they returned to Fargo in 1992.

A true treasure trove of wisdom, Jef was a never-ending student and practitioner of life, love, and our existence. He was so proud and loved his family very much, never missing sporting events, graduations, ceremonies, and essentially whatever it was that life brought into his circle. As his circle grew, he shared the same passion and love with everyone, positively influencing and touching the hearts of all that crossed his path.

John (Jef) Foss

John Emerson Foss (known by most as Jef, his initials, or Appa), a family man, a thinker, a lover, and a laugher, 61, Fargo, ND, passed away on Wednesday, April 10, 2013, peacefully while resting in his home in Fargo, ND. Jef was born on December 26, 1951, in Fargo, ND, to Magnus Oliver Foss, Jr., and Marjorie (Bussey) Foss. He graduated from Moorhead High School in 1970, and then studied architecture at the University of Minnesota. Jef traveled around the United States (Minneapolis, MN, Austin, TX) after school before settling in New York City in 1979. In that same year, Jef became engaged to his wife Keiko Hamada (Foss) from Japan. The two were married in New York City in 1982. After having two children, they returned to Fargo in 1992.

A true treasure trove of wisdom, Jef was a never-ending student and practitioner of life, love, and our existence. He was so proud and loved his family very much, never missing sporting events, graduations, ceremonies, and essentially whatever it was that life brought into his circle. As his circle grew, he shared the same passion and love with everyone, positively influencing and touching the hearts of all that crossed his path.

Coming from a long line of regional architects, Jef too followed the family tradition and was an architect. His practice was non-coincidentally, a family practice. Although much of his work was in New York City (including being the registered architect for buildings such as the New Yorker Hotel, The Manhattan Center, and 4 West 43rd St (midtown Manhattan)), the practice that he enjoyed most was with his sister (Susan Furr), brother (Steven Foss), and his wife, the bookkeeper (Keiko Foss). Together, and again in true Jef fashion, the family was at the center of all aspects of his life. His Facebook page occupation is “Father.”

A talented musician, Jef will be remembered playing graceful melodies on his guitar with his gentle and sweet voice spreading happiness and joy. He played with a local group that regularly attended retirement homes playing music for the residents. While finishing recording his second album, Jef’s trusty guitar (a gift from his mother he greatly adored), was right next to him until his final day.

Much of Jef’s life was philanthropic. Significantly, in 1998 Jef became a board member of African Soul, American Heart, a non-profit who’s mission is to support orphan girls in South Sudan with shelter, education, and resources. A strong believer in the organization, Jef was the architect who designed the site plan and buildings. He and Keiko were planning on returning to Sudan in May.

Jeff was a spiritual and religious man. Beginning in 1995, Jef was State Pastor for the North Dakota FFWPU (Family Federation for World Peace & Unification) congregation. Jef, a highly respected leader in the church, would also be known as Reverend Foss. Spending four decades with his spiritual brothers and sisters around the world, his love and appreciation for the countless individuals that shaped him spiritually were always of great importance to him.

In Jef’s own words:

“My Wife, 2 Kids and Extended Family & Friends are at the center of my Universe. They call me Appa. Loving Them, Others and the Natural World around me is a measure of my ability to love God. I earn my way as an architect. But I am infinitely more impressed by a greater design that connects all things together around me. I enjoy exploring that design: with binoculars under the starry starry sky; walking through woods, parks and fields with my camera; canoeing, sailing and fishing on the Minnesota lakes; playing melodies with meaningful verse on guitar and piano; extending my seeing through graphics & photos; drawing and constructing computer models of homes & other structures; and then watching them assemble in full scale; researching and tooling all of these things; and connecting it with You, my partner in generating the power of Love, making our lives vibrate in harmony.”

An extremely deep and thoughtful man, Jef was a phenomenal traveler choosing to drive cross country hundreds of times rarely sleeping, and strangely while never listening to the radio. His mind he says provided him all he needed. He was also really good at moving. Although he and his wife lived in the same house for 20 years, his son and daughter for some reason liked to move every year, and he was there to move them in and out each time.

Finally, Jef became a bit a of tech nerd in the last couple of years. His love of video, film, editing, writing and ancestry are all preserved online. His content can be found on facebook, youtube, vimeo, and on his blogs, “Line of Love” and “The Grateful Seed.”

He is survived by his wife, Keiko, Fargo, ND; son Rygo Foss, New York City, NY; daughter Roshan (Korbin) Anglin, St. Paul, MN; brother Steven (Carol) Foss, Fargo, ND; sisters Susan (Stan) Furr, St. Paul, MN, and Janet (Bernel) Bayliss, Minneapolis, MN; and his beloved dog, Teddy B. He was preceded in death by his parents and his sister, Kathy Bakkum (Foss).

Memorial gathering: Monday, April 15, 2013, from 5:00 P.M. until 7:00 P.M., in Wright Funeral Home, Moorhead.

Memorial service: Tuesday, April 16, 2013, at 2:00 P.M., in Wright Funeral Home, Moorhead.

Video tribute and online guestbook at www.wrightfuneral.com

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