Gordon Fosness


Gordon Fosness, 85, of Sioux Falls formerly of Mitchell, SD, died Tuesday, December 15, 2020 at Ava’s House in Sioux Falls. A private family funeral service was Friday, December 18 at the Dakota Wesleyan University Sherman Chapel in Mitchell.  Burial was at Graceland Cemetery in Mitchell. Arrangements by Bittner Funeral Chapel.

A recording of the funeral service may be viewed at:

Gordon “Gordie” Fosness was born in Presho, South Dakota on June 6, 1935 to Duff and Mae Fosness, and always referred to Presho and Lyman County as the “Holy Land”.

Gordie was an outstanding athlete and enjoyed an exceptional career at Dakota Wesleyan University. He went on to coach at DWU for 22 years where his teams won 351 games, 11 conference titles and advanced to two NAIA tournaments. Gordie’s career was celebrated through his induction into the DWU, South Dakota High School Basketball, NAIA, and South Dakota Halls of Fame. He also served on the national Board of Directors for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes with the likes of Tom Landry and Tom Osborne.

Gordie’s professional career included coaching at the high school and collegiate levels, development work at DWU and the State Director of the South Dakota Fellowship of Christian Athletes. His work life culminated in the unprecedented building of a FCA owned facility that generates ongoing income for the ministry to this day.

While Gordie enjoyed extensive success in his public life, he was known by those who knew him best as a man of Christ who invested in his family, friends, and former players. Gordie was fearless, especially when it came to helping those he loved through a difficult time. It would not be unusual to receive a call, note or a personal visit from Gordie if you were struggling. He was bold in his faith and relentless in his defense of those he loved. He had an ability to lift you up when you were down and remind you, through sage advice and scripture, that God loved you and he did too! He was the proud parent to his children: Valerie (Rick) Melmer, Tonja (Jon) Lezon, Chris (Laura) Fosness, Jennifer (Shad) Spears, and Kathy Fosness. He loved and prayed for his five children, 11 grandchildren, 10 great-grandchildren, and sister, Avys Johnson. Gordie’s legacy lives on through his family, friends, and the players he coached and mentored.

Gordie was preceded in death by his parents and his wife, Carol.

Memorials have been established at Dakota Wesleyan University and South Dakota Fellowship of Christian Athletes.

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