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Foss Family

  • 2.3.2
  • Family

Ludvig C. (L.C.) Foss (1858-1943)

Born in Romerike, Norway in 1858, L.C. Foss immigrated to Wisconsin in 1880. He had graduated from Akers Teachers Seminary in 1880, and after learning English and attending River Falls Normal School in Wisconsin Foss taught in parochial and public schools in Black River Falls and Eau Claire, Wisconsin from 1882-85. In 1885 he married Ida P. Hanson in Eau Claire. Foss attended Luther Theological Seminary from 1888-1891, and upon graduation received a call to serve as a missionary in Washington and Oregon. The family moved to Fairhaven, near Bellingham, and Foss ministered to Norwegian communities in the Northwest, including some in British Columbia. This involved extensive travel as he walked, rode his horse, and swam to fulfill his many duties. Ida Foss remained in Bellingham with their family, which would grow to include seven daughters and two sons.

In 1894 Foss accepted a call to serve as pastor of Our Saviour's Lutheran Church in Stanwood, WA, and then of Our Saviour's Lutheran Church in Everett, WA from 1903-12. In 1912 the Foss family moved to Seattle.

L.C. Foss was present at the groundbreaking of Pacific Lutheran University, and served on the Pacific Lutheran Academy Board of Trustees from 1903-04 and 1906-12, and on the Board of Visitors from 1912-15. In addition, several of his children attended Pacific Lutheran Academy. Carl went to the Academy from 1904-08, Jennie graduated from the stenographic course in 1911, Halfdan attended from 1914-15, Clara studied music during 1914-15, and Magda went to PLC in 1922-23.

In addition to ministering to congregations, Foss became Vice-President of the Pacific District of the Norwegian Synod from 1895-1900 before serving as President from 1900-17. After the 1917 merger that created the Norwegian Lutheran Church of America, Foss was elected President, serving until 1924 when he resigned to work as a city missionary in Seattle. Foss held this position until 1937, as well as being pastor at the Sunset Home in Seattle. In 1935 Foss was awarded an honorary doctorate by Luther College, and from 1937-39 he served a Port Madison congregation. In addition, during this time he continued to preach at the Sunset Home and worked as an interim pastor at Prince Rupert, British Columbia. L.C. Foss died on March 26, 1943.

Carl L. Foss (1886-1976)

Carl was born in 1886 in Eau Claire, WI to L.C. and Ida Foss. He attended schools in Stanwood and Everett, WA before studying at Pacific Lutheran Academy from 1904-08 and graduating from Luther College in 1912. Carl Foss graduated from Luther Theological Seminary in 1915 and was called to serve as pastor of Grace Lutheran Church in San Francisco. In 1917 he and Ella Caroline Tvete (1889-1980) were married.

During World War I he worked as a chaplain in the Army stationed in Allery, France. From 1920-21 Carl Foss was a pastor of Our Saviour's Lutheran Church in Bremerton, WA, and of Trinity Lutheran Church in Tacoma from 1921-22, when he also taught bible and French at Pacific Lutheran College. Carl studied at the University of Washington from 1923-26 in addition to serving as pastor of Phinney Ridge Lutheran Church in Seattle from 1924-27. He was president of Spokane College from 1926 until its closing in 1929. From 1929-31 Carl returned to Pacific Lutheran College to work as a field agent. He worked as pastor of Trinity Lutheran Church in Silverton, OR from 1931-35, and became a chaplain for the Civilian Conservation Corps in Montana during the 1930s. After the outbreak of World War II, Carl served as chaplain in United States Army hospitals in Abilene and El Paso, TX. He continued to work in veterans hospitals at Fort Harrison, MT until 1951 and Seattle, WA from 1951-56 when he retired at age 70. Carl died in Tacoma March 28, 1976.

Halfdan L. Foss (1894-1969)

Halfdan was born in 1894 in South Bellingham, WA, the fourth child of L.C. and Ida Foss. He attended schools in Everett and Seattle before studying at Pacific Lutheran Academy during 1914-15. Although he left school in 1915 to work in an Alaska gold mine and then as a boiler maker in San Franci-sco, he returned to enter Luther Theological Seminary in 1916. Halfdan Foss and Elise Helen Iverson were married in 1919.

After his 1919 ordination, Halfdan served in parishes in Bellingham, Ferndale and Custer, WA until 1927, when he went to Silverton, OR to work as pastor at Trinity Lutheran Church. In 1931 Halfdan Foss was elected president of the Pacific District of the ELC, serving from 1931-64 before working as president of the North Pacific District of the ALC from 1960-64.

In addition to his responsibilities as district president, Halfdan Foss served as chairperson of the Pacific Lutheran University Board of Trustees from 1942 to 1964. Foss received an honorary Doctor of Laws from PLC in 1957.

Foss Family

Jennie Foss Michelson taught school in Port Madison for several years. Clara Foss Fixen and Elise Iverson Foss, Halfdan's wife, were active in the Pacific District Women's Missionary Federation. The other Foss sisters were Ida Foss Johnson, Agnes Foss Hellickson, Margaret Foss Syre, Magda Foss, and Lillian Foss.

Oscar A. Tingelstad

Some documents and photos from Oscar and Alfield Tingelstad were found in the Foss collection. Ella Tvete Foss, wife of Carl Foss, and Alfield Tvete Tingelstad, wife of Oscar Tingelstad, were sisters. Photos from the Tvete family from Arlington, WA are also included.

Olsen Family

  • UA 8.6.3
  • Family

The Olsen family relocated from Detroit, Michigan to Tacoma, Washington in 1947. Dr. Robert Olsen joined the faculty of Pacific Lutheran College that year as a Professor of Chemistry and would continue in this role until 1976. He and wife Josephine ("Jo") Olsen and sons Richard ("Dick"), Robert Jr. ("Bob"), James ("Jim"), and Paul moved into a College-owned house located at 502 S. 124th Street. In Tacoma, the family expanded to include Ruth in 1951 and Timothy in 1953. Four members of the Olsen family are Pacific Lutheran University alumni: Dick Olsen (Class of 1959), Bob Jr. (Class of 1963), Jim Olsen (Class of 1963), and Paul Olsen (Class of 1967).