Joan Marilyn Fosmo was born on Sept. 29, 1925, the daughter of Marjorie and Dr. Ferdinand Fosmo. Joan and her brother Elliott grew up in Ellsworth, WI during the Great Depression. When Joan graduated from Ellsworth High School she wanted to become an interior decorator – instead she worked as a dental assistant for her father and then at the Twin Cities Army Ammunition Plant. In June of 1946 Joan married Staff Sergeant Gerald Krauss and their first home was above Lawton Store and Tavern which they owned and operated for 7 years. Their home lacked plumbing so they hand pumped water from their neighbor’s well and used the outhouse out back.
For Joan, happiness was homemade and what you couldn’t afford, you made yourself, starting with knitting and sewing clothes for her three children, Jean, Bob and Bonnie. She was an excellent seamstress and fashioned everything from kid’s clothes to prom dresses and her daughters’ wedding gowns. Wherever the family lived Joan worked to create warm and comfortable surroundings that “pleased her eye” by painting walls, wallpapering and refinishing or upholstering furniture. She always had a tool box and a hand saw on hand. When carpentry was needed she could build everything from a sandbox to a squirrel cage.
In 1963 she moved her children to Webster, WI, where they lived for a short time in her parents’ summer cottage on Yellow River. Surrounded by nature, it was an ideal location for hunting and fishing. This delighted her son Bob, especially when his mother agreed to drive him over snow-covered backroads to check his traplines.
As a single mother, Joan supported her family by working as a waitress and cook at local supper clubs. Her restaurant experience served her well when she married Tony Volpendesto. Together they established Tony’s Fireside outside of Hayward, WI. It was a very popular supper club for twenty years, thanks to Joan’s hard work, imagination and her engaging personality.
With this venture came the time and the means for recreation and travel. Joan became an enthusiastic golfer. Winter sports included snowmobiling and visits to Florida. Her most memorable trips were Chichen Itza and Machu Picchu with Tony. In 1989 she joined her daughter Jean and her husband Terry on a self-guided car tour of Austria, Germany, Switzerland and France. She declined a chance to go up in the Eiffel Tower.
In 2006 Joan moved to Belleville, Wisconsin, where Jean lives. She was looking for “an adventure”. Two years later she realized that her sense of place has always been Ellsworth. She returned “home” to the heart of her family, where she lived for the past twelve years. Happiness for Joan was the company of her beloved cats, geraniums on the windowsill, bluebirds in their house, hummers at the feeder and a game of euchre with her friends.
Joan’s father’s family immigrated to the United States in 1880 and with them came traditional Norwegian recipes that now have been in the family for decades. With help from her daughter Bonnie, Joan kept her heritage alive. Every Christmas her family looked forward to lefse, sandbakkles, fatigmand, rosettes, and krumkake.
She left her family with countless treasured memories of family gatherings in her home, and dozens of beautifully crafted quilts, lovingly made for her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. She will be deeply missed.
Joan is survived by her daughters Ruth Jean Kringle (Terry), Bonnie Jo Krauss, daughter-in-law Carol Krauss as well as four grandchildren, Peter Krauss (Amy), Stephanie England, Rhonda Mikla (James), and Mark Krauss (Priscilla) along with six great-grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her husband Gerald Krauss, her brother Elliott Fosmo and her son Robert Krauss.
A private celebration of her life is planned for immediate family at a later date.
The family would like to thank all who cared for Joan throughout this past year, especially the staff at Comforts of Home in Hudson.
Those wishing to send cards and condolences to Joan’s family may mail them to Jean Kringle, 322 North Shore Drive, Belleville, WI, 53508
In memory of Joan, the family suggests contributions to Lakeview Hospice,1715 Tower Drive West, Suite 330, Stillwater, MN 55082 or a Humane Society in their area. Services entrusted to the O’Connell-Benedict Family Funeral Home of Ellsworth, WI. 715-273-4421