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Joe Foss

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Joe Foss (1915-2003), war hero, patriot, statesman and sportsman, died of complications from a cerebral vascular accident in Scottsdale, AZ, on January 1, 2003. He was 87. A man of extraordinary accomplishments, Joe embodied the spirit, lived the dream, answered the call and paid the price that helped make our country so great. From his humble beginnings growing up on the plains of South Dakota to his exceptional exploits as a Marine Aviator in the battle of Guadalcanal, Joe lived each day with a strong sense of duty and commitment to his convictions. For his courageous leadership and extraordinary valor in aerial combat, he received the Bronze and Silver Stars, the Purple Heart, the Distinguished Flying Cross and, ultimately, the Congressional Medal of Honor. Joe followed his war years with a decade of service to his state of South Dakota as a Representative and a two-term Governor. His involvement in sports through amateur boxing and college football, as well as his charismatic leadership skills, made him a natural candidate to be the first commissioner of the American Football League. Ever an outdoorsman, Joe became the first host of ''The American Sportsman'' and his own syndicated television show, ''Joe Foss: Outdoorsman.'' Joe served two terms as President of the NRA and used his speaking platform to defend 2nd Amendment rights. Although his reputation as a warrior, politician and sports advocate gave him his notoriety, it was Joe's love of people that endeared him to the masses. He was a man for all seasons whose winsome stories and engaging smile turned strangers into his friends everywhere he went. Joe Foss was a man of faith. His deep Christian beliefs became his reason for living and gave him a calm assurance when he was finally called to walk through the valley of the shadow of death. His wife Didi, his sons Frank and Dean and daughters Mary Joe and Coni survive him; six grandchildren and three great-grandchildren also survive Joe. Funeral services will be held January 9, 2003, at Scottsdale Bible Church, 7601 E. Shea Blvd., Scottsdale, AZ. 480-824-7200. Gifts in lieu of flowers to The Joe Foss Institute, 7745 East Redfield Road, Suite 400, Scottsdale, AZ 85260 (480-348-0376) or The NRA Foundation: Joe and Donna Foss Endowment for Your Education, 11250 Waples Mill Road, Fairfax, VA 22030 (800-554-9498) or online at www.nra.org. Arrangements by Messinger Indian School Mortuary, Scottsdale, AZ.
Published in Chicago Tribune on Jan. 5, 2003
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