Cover photo for Robert E. Van Fossen's Obituary
Robert E. Van Fossen Profile Photo
1934 Robert 2014

Robert E. Van Fossen

February 2, 1934 — April 22, 2014

Robert “Bob” Edward Van Fossen, age 80, loving husband, father, grandfather, and friend to many, passed away following a short illness at Appleton Medical Center on April 22, 2014. He was born February 2, 1934 in Racine, Wisconsin to Walter and Bernice Van Fossen. Bob lived in Racine until he was 12 years old. His Aunt Eleanor and Grandmother Raven were very important in his life. Bob married Joyce Merkes on May 18, 1957 at St. Therese Parish, Appleton. Together they had three children and were blessed with almost 57 years of marriage. Bob was a member of St. Pius X Parish for over 55 years. Bob worked at Scolding Locks from 1954 – 1959 and Appleton Papers from 1959 – 1996, retiring after 37 years of service. Family meant everything to Bob. Family get-togethers and traditions were important to him. Bob loved watching his grandchildren participate in sports, along with their musical and theatre activities. He also was an avid sportsman. In his youth, Bob played baseball with the Appleton Merchants. He continued to be a sports fan his entire life always cheering for the Packers, Brewers, Badgers and watching NASCAR. He also enjoyed going to Scuba's. Bob loved vacationing with the family in Minocqua, Wisconsin. There are so many cherished memories from the annual family week in June including fishing, fish frys, playing 31 with the grandchildren, walks downtown and just sitting by the lake together.
Bob is survived by his loving wife Joyce, his children Mike (Patti) Van Fossen, Debbie (Eric) Mantzke, and Steve (Linda) Van Fossen. He is further survived by his grandchildren, Amy (Ben) Ritchie, Tyler (fiancé Kelsi) Van Fossen, Craig, Kristin, and Brent Mantzke, Jordan and Kiana Van Fossen, Meghan (fiancé Alex) and Angela Steinberg, sisters-in-law Ann and Carmen Merkes, brother-in-law Jim (Mary) Merkes and special cousin, Karen(Bob) Bolz.
He was preceded in death by his parents, mother and father-in-law Walter and Della Merkes, brothers-in-law Kenneth, Norbert and Richard Merkes and Edward Heiman, and sisters-in-law Lilas Van Straten and Carol Merkes.

Funeral Mass for Bob will be on Friday April 25, 2014 at 11:30 am at St. Pius X Catholic Church, 500 West Marquette Street, Appleton with Fr. Thomas J. Farrell officiating. Visitation will be from 9:30 to 11:30 am at the church. Burial at Highland Memorial Park. For more information and to send online condolences, please visit the online guestbook at

Dear Dad/Grandpa,
Our hearts are broken. We already miss you so much. Every day we will think of you. We each have our own special memories that we will cherish forever. You were always there for us, cheering us on and so proud of our accomplishments. You were the best dad and grandpa. We have learned by your example.
It was truly a blessing that the entire family was able to spend the Easter weekend with you. We will take care of mom and each other.
Love you forever,
Your Kids and Grandkids

We had a wonderful 57 years together. You will always be in my heart.
Love you, Joyce

The family would like to thank Dr. Guenther, Jennifer Giebel and the 7th floor AMC staff for all their care and support.
In lieu of flowers a memorial fund has been established.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Robert E. Van Fossen, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services


Monday, April 25, 2022

9:30 - 11:30am

St. Pius X Catholic Church

500 W Marquette St, Appleton, WI 54911

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Appleton Highland Memorial Park

3131 N Richmond St, Appleton, WI 54911

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