Jean Lois Foss, 83, of La Crosse passed away Sunday, Oct. 24, 2010, at Gundersen Lutheran Medical Center in La Crosse surrounded by her friends.
Jean was born on Jan. 3, 1927, in Antigo, Wis., to Edward R. and Lois (Iotte) Foss. She graduated from La Crosse State Teachers College with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Physical Education in 1948 and was awarded her Master of Arts Degree in 1951 from New York University and subsequently her Ph.D. in 1966 from the University of Iowa in physical education with an emphasis in higher education.
Jean’s lifelong commitment to physical education began with her early years as a counselor at Camp Pinemere in Woodruff, Wis., where she spent 14 summers as the head camp counselor. She began her career as a physical education teacher at Beloit High School in Beloit, Wis. and also spent several years as a physical education and dance teacher at Valparaiso University, Valparaiso, Ind. and later at Pomona College in Pomona, Calif.
Jean’s commitment to excellence was exemplified in preparing physical education teaching majors after her arrival to Wisconsin State College at La Crosse in 1962 and as the Chair of the Physical Education Department for Women from 1970-1974. She was one of the first women in the University of Wisconsin System to complete a UW System Administration Internship and for 15; years provided outstanding leadership at UW-La Crosse in her role as Associate Vice Chancellor in which she instituted an automated registration system, an Office of International Education, and the library planning process. At one time Jean was the highest ranking female on any campus in the University of Wisconsin System. She served as a role model for her students in providing equality for women in higher education and as a mentor for women faculty and staff. Jean was instrumental in the establishment of Women’s Studies Department, Minority Studies, the Affirmative Action Office, and the Organization for Campus Women, and was ultimately honored with the Outstanding Women Award for Education by the La Crosse YWCA. Jean was an active member of numerous professional organizations including President of the Midwest Association of Physical Education for College Women from 1981-82. She retired from UW-La Crosse in 1989, as the Associate Health, Physical Education and Recreation Excellence Award for dedication and professional accomplishments. Jean also served for many years on the board of Bethany Homes.
In addition to her professional career achievements, Jean was an active member at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, serving on the church council and as an assisting minister, and was a willing volunteer. She later became a member of Mary, Mother of the Church Parish at St. Thomas More Catholic Church.
She is survived by her nieces, Carole (Kevin) Kernohan of Houston, Texas, Barbara (Bobby) Price of Houston, Texas, and Laura (Hayne) Hamilton of Nashville, Tenn.; and their children, Whately Foss Hamilton and Hayne Hamilton III. Jean is also survived by her very special friends, Norene A. Smith and Patricia A. Mertens.
Jean was preceded in death by her parents, Edward R. and Lois Foss; her brother, Edward R. Foss Jr., and his wife, Arlene Foss.
Funeral services will be at noon Thursday, Oct. 28, in the Faith Life Center at Bethany Riverside, 2575 Seventh St. S., La Crosse. The Rev. Kimberly Jordan will officiate with burial at 1 p.m. Monday, Nov. 1, at Hillcrest Cemetery in Cedar Falls, Iowa. Family and friends may call from 11 a.m. until time of services in Faith Life Center at Bethany Riverside.
Blaschke & Schneider Funeral Homes of La Crosse are assisting the family with arrangements.
Memorials can be given to University of Wisconsni-La Crosse Foundation, Jean L. Foss and Norene A. Smith OCW Scholarship or Bethany Riverside Lutheran Home.