The Reverend Don Fossum, a longtime volunteer for the Washington Junior Golf Association (WJGA), passed away on July 29. He was 84.
Don had graduated from Pacific Lutheran University and Luther Theological Seminary. By vocation, he served a long career in the Lutheran Church, which took him to Nebraska, North Dakota, California, and finally back to Washington, where he served for 35 years in three different roles, and then spent his final pastoral role with the Southwestern Washington Synod Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tacoma.
Throughout Don’s life he volunteered his time for many organizations – the WIAA High School State Golf Tournament, Lutheran Outdoor Ministries Association, Fire District Chaplain, Kiwanis, and a volunteer tutor at Belfair Elementary.
He shared his love of football with his children, watching Seahawk games on Sunday after church. He officiated one Washington State High School football championship at the Tacoma Dome.
But golf was a special love for Don. His three children – Sonja, Randy and Becky – started playing golf with the WJGA in 1978, and Don became involved as well, as a volunteer. Don’s wife, Carol, served as a WJGA Director from 1992-1996. And in 1994, Don began serving as the WJGA’s State Rules Chairman, taking over for Merrill Teats. Don served this role for 20 years, until 2014.
“Don and his wife Carol were loyal volunteers for the WJGA from the beginning, and we could never thank them adequately for what they have done for our junior golfers,” said Tyler Johnsen, WJGA executive director. “The time these two have devoted to WJGA through the years is a number too large to comprehend. But we all know that it has been a labor of love and that WJGA and its members have benefited greatly from their efforts.”
Two of Don’s three grown children – Randy and Becky – are both now well-established golf instructors in the area, Randy with the Pacific Northwest Section PGA and Becky with the LPGA. Don loved to caddie for them when they played in local tournaments.
“The Fossums always stepped up in large ways to help out with big projects,” said Chris Curtiss, the WJGA’s director of operations. “In the days when we still held a players banquet, Carol and Don would be there to chair that event, and our 25th anniversary – complete with alumni tournament – was chaired by the Fossums.”
Don spent many hours playing and watching golf while living at LakeLand Village in Allyn, Wash.
Don shared his faith with his family with nightly devotions after dinner. He was a loving husband, father, friend, and pastor, with his calm, kind, and unassuming demeanor. He cared deeply for the people he encountered.
The Fossum family is asking that any donations be sent to the Southwestern Washington Synod.