Ron Foss, an Echo Publishing employee for 36 years, passed away Aug. 20 after a 17-month battle with cancer.
Foss, an advertising manager for the Lake Country Echo and Echoland-Piper Shopper, was the Shopper’s first, and for some time only, advertising salesperson.
He took strong ownership over the publication, and former Echo editor Craig Nagel said Foss contributed largely to the Shopper’s success.
“The guy just was a professional,” Nagel said. “He just made things work well.”
When Foss came on board, Nagel said, he had very little sales experience, but did well even his first day on the job. The Shopper was brand new to everyone at Echo Publishing.
“We were inventing things along the way. None of us knew exactly what we were doing with the Shopper,” Nagel said. “As we got the hang of it, it became more and more clear that he was the go-to guy, and if you went to him you could count on it being done.
“From then on it was a matter of 30-some years of Ron being Mr. Shopper,” Nagel said.
Foss became well known amongst the business community, working with merchants year after year.
Judy Cotten, owner of Judy’s House of Gifts in Crosslake, said Foss sold her advertising from the very start of her business, 26 years ago.
“He always had the time to make you feel like you were important. He was just a very social person,” Cotten said, adding that Foss would often hang around just to visit with her.
Brad Nelson, owner of C & C Boat Works, said he and Foss knew each other well.
“He had a great sense of humor, always a great man to work with,” Nelson said. Nelson had worked with Foss since 1985.
Pete Mohs, Echo Publishing publisher, worked with Foss up until his retirement.
“Ron took a lot of pride working for Echo Publishing, especially his role in starting the Echoland-Piper Shopper in 1975,” Mohs said. “Ron was also very dedicated to his advertising customers and went the extra mile to help them.
“He worked long hours, especially on Tuesdays when he would often see more than 30 customers in the Crosslake area. I think some of those customers set their watches by Ron’s consistent visits.”
In addition to his work at Echo Publishing, Foss enjoyed spending time outdoors, cutting firewood, relaxing at the lake out on the boat, playing sports and fishing. He met his wife, Debbie, at Echo Publishing where she was also employed. The couple has a daughter, Kara, and son, Andrew.
Foss was a mainstay at the Whitefish Chain Antique and Classic Wood Boat Rendezvous. He was a dock boy every year since its inception except one, the weekend his daughter was married. He was also a volunteer on the Crosslake Fire Department for 12 years, was president of the Crosslake Chamber of Commerce for two years, and was involved in numerous other community groups and committees.