2005 Puppeteer of the Year, William B. Fosser of OPERA IN FOCUS
In Memoriam - William B. Fosser

William B. Fosser, 77, of Edison Park. Beloved son of the late Eleanor and William S. Fosser. Loving brother of Timothy (the late Emmy) and Thomas (Joan) Fosser. Proud uncle of Daniel, Linda, Kathleen, William G., Jeanine, Joseph and Elizabeth. Great uncle of Caroline and Trevor. Bill was a member of the Studio Set Designers Union, Local 476. He spent years in the industry working on film projects such as “Ordinary People,” “Home Alone,”, “Backdraft,” “Omen II,” and “Ground Hog Day.” Bill’s life passion was being a puppeteer and he was inducted into the National Puppeteers Hall of Fame in December, 2005. Memorials to the Passionist Monastery, 5700 N. Harlem Avenue, Chicago, IL 60631, appreciated. Interment Queen of Heaven Cemetery.

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Memories

I remember his outstanding work, and his creative artistc ability to make people feel good and have greater appreciation for life.
Always enjoyed his company and attitude for better things. We were blessed to have him in our life. Love From, Jerry and wife Josie Mortell
   August 28, 2006
   Jerry Mortell (green Valley, AZ)

   July 1, 2006
I am sorry I have missed meeting Bill. However, I am bringing my daughter to see Opera in Focus and see his wonderful puppets.
   Mary Horsley (Mechanicsville, VA)

   April 10, 2006
Worked with Bill on a couple of movies and he showed me his puppets and it was like watching living breathing beings. Will miss you Bill.
   Chuck O'Donnell (Chicago, IL)

   April 8, 2006
We met Bill a few years back while on a visit and loved him from the moment we saw him.
Warm, sweet, funny.
Living literally oceans apart, this was a rare and precious occasion that we will cherish in our memories.

Harry and Tineke Oudekerk/ The Netherlands
  

   April 7, 2006
I didn't know Bill long enough—did any of us know him long enough? A fan of puppetry all my life, I nevertheless did nothing with it until I met Gigi Sandberg through my interest in toy theater, and it was Gigi—long distance from Mississippi—who introduced me to Bill, who was right here in my backyard!
I had been privileged to see one production at the old Kungsholm all those years ago—Hansel and Gretel it was—and I remembered it fondly. Now here it was again, in Rolling Meadows, of all places! Along with hosts of wonderfully gowned and articulated little people living in gorgeously designed worlds. Singing sublime music. How very soul-satisfying!
I'm so thankful I had a chance to be Bill's friend, if only for a few years. We did manage to go to the theater and to an art exhibit in Wisconsin, and we did manage to share lots of lunches and dinners with delightful, funny, and even inspiriing conversation. Bill was always looking for ways to increase Opera in Focus attendance, especially for young people, and one idea he hit upon was to create a series of children's shows. To that end I wrote the book and lyrics of a puppet version of Rumpelstiltskin, and a musical collaborator had almost completed the score. Bill knew we were never going to finish the show—he was getting sicker and sicker and we still had to find actor/singers and a recording technician and musical orchestrations and so on. But he had started working on the designs and once sketched for me what the scenes would look like on the Opera in Focus stage. We'll never see them realized now.
Goodbye, Bill. I'll miss your sense of humor, your non-negtiable artistic pronouncements, your sense of joy at the unlimited beauty in the world of art. I'll miss a good friend.
   Don Abramson (Skokie, IL)

   April 4, 2006
I had lost track of Bill for many years. This was my fault. Bill came into my life on one of the first commercials I ever photographed. He was the entire Art department. We bacame fast friends. And when I married my first wife he was just as good a friend to her as to me.
I am now sitting here in Hollywood and Bill's name poped into my head. I haven't thought of him in years. I realized that the phone number I've had for him was probably not correct. So I looked on the internet and forund the very sad news that I had just missed him. How terrible for me, how sad for all of us. He was a great artist and a better firend than me.
   Steven Poster ASC (Hollywood, CA)

   March 27, 2006
Our very belated deepest sympathy to your entire family.We are the son and daughter-in-law of Bernie Devine (son of Bert and Babe Devine). Bernie had good memories of Bill, he often spoke about how much fun he had working with Bill. We are sorry for your loss and our prayers are with you during this very difficult time.
Jim and Melody Devine
   Jim and Melody Devine (Hawthorn Woods, IL)

   March 20, 2006
My memories of Bill go back to the 1940's when I was a student at Northwestern and Bill was head puppeteer at the Kungsholm...my favorite place to go on a date. I learned from him that all is not foolishness in puppetry...that truly beautiful things are possible and I have enjoyed the craft significantly ever since. Bill and I have been very close friends for all these many years. Bill received the Presiden't Award at the 2005 National Festival of Puppeteers of America,,,recognition he had deserved for so very long!! The person who told me of this news described Bill at this event by saying that "he just couldn't stop smiling!",,,and I will always have this mental picture of Bill to remember. My husband, Glen, and I will miss Bill greatly and hope we can help keep Opera In Focus alive.
   gigi sandberg (gulfport, MS)

   March 9, 2006
I had the privildge of helping Bill establish his Opera in Focus in Rolling Meadows.He was truly happy to have had a home to perform his talents and he brought much to the community over the years.He was a true gentleman and had outstanding talent.I lost a very good friend and I truly hope his performances continue forever.....Denny York.
   Dennis York (Sheridan, IL)

   March 9, 2006
MY BELATED SINCEREST SYMPATHY TO THE FAMILY. I KNEW OF MR. FOSSER ONLY THROUGH OPERA IN FOCUS AND HE WAS A VERY SPECIAL INDIVIDUAL FOR THOSE OF US WHO MET HIM AT THESE PRODUCTIONS. MAY GOD GIVE HIM A VERY SPECIAL PLACE IN HEAVEN SERENADED BY THE VOICES AND MUSIC HE HAD GIVEN US ......LEONARD ROGUS
   LEONARD ROGUS (BENSENVILLE, IL)

   February 27, 2006
Bill Fosser, gentelman, artist and master puppeteer.
The Chicaoland Puppetry Guild, Inc. wishes to extend its sympathy to Bill's family and friends. Puppetry has lost an artist of great abililty. His "Opera In Focus" was a masterful contribution to the art.
   Fred Putz (Highland Park,, IL)

   February 25, 2006
bill was a caring and kind person i only with more people were like him teh opera in focus will never be the same with out him god bless u
  

   February 24, 2006
Dear Tom & Joan, I'm sorry I didn't make the service. I didn't see the obit until late Thursday night. Bill was such a gentlemen. I have fond memories of Bill.In the 60's after we got out of the Marine Corps we would have a night on the town and I would stay at your house and Bill would have his opera music on and it was beautiful. Another occasion I remember he was putting on his puppet opera in a store front on the northside on Broadway for the nuns at the local church. The puppets didn't behave and you could hear O! S. Your sorrow is mine and everyone that knew him.
   Tom O'Neil (Indian Head Park, IL)

   February 24, 2006
My family and I extend our prayers for your family during this most difficult time. Your loss is ours as well because Bill was loved by many Chicagoans near and far. We visited Kungsholm many times, years ago, and recently "found" Bill again in Rolling Meadows. We started attending the Opera in Focus shows with our son, Mark. Bill was a true gentleman. We loved his "behind the scene" tours. I hope his legacy lives on through the continuation of his beloved puppet show. May Bill rest in peace.
   Rosanne Mastroianni (Park Ridge, IL)

   February 23, 2006
We were so sorry to hear the news of Bill's passing. He was such a dear man. We had the pleasure of working with him at Candlelight Dinner Playhouse on one of his favorite shows, Phantom. We will miss him. Rudy Hogenmiller(Artistic Director of Light Opera Works) and Jim Harms(actor)
   Rudy Hogenmiller (St. Anne, IL)

   February 23, 2006
Bill was one of the few people in our profesion that truly deserved the title master puppeteer.I feel blessed to have known and worked with Bill for nearly twenty five years. Bill was also bar none the bravest man I ever knew.To face adversity by creating beauty for others to wonder at is an act of true selflessness.
Sincerely,
Dave Herzog
   David Herzog (Chicago, IL)

   February 22, 2006
Five generations of my family visited Kungsholm and Opera In Focus. Bill's dedication and love of making beautiful productions will live forever in our minds. He really embodied someone who lived life to the fullest. We enjoyed our private time with him as well, who knew he liked Chinese food so much.
   The Kaufmans (Riverwoods, IL)

   February 22, 2006
Bill Fosser was an unique and fascinating man who was so creative and appreciative of beauty that he brought hours of beauty and enjoy-
ment with the productions of Opera
in Focus. My sister, Marilynn, and
I spent many happy hours with Bill
and his friends at Opera in Focus
and were privileged to visit him at
his home at Christmastime. He will
be greatly missed!
   Geraldine Bowman (Mount Prospect, IL)

   February 22, 2006
Tim and I are so sorry to hear of the death of your talented and dearly loved brother Bud,Millie and Tim
   Tim and Millie Hanrahan (Fort Myers, FL)

   February 22, 2006
Bill was a very thoughtful and
special person. I so enjoyed talking with him and of course I will always remember the times I saw "Opera in Focus." We will miss
him.
   Brian & Rivka Weiner (Skokie, IL)

   February 22, 2006
My wife, Judy, and I would like to express our deepest condolences to the family and friends of William B. Fosser. We knew Bill for nearly 30 years and will always be thankful and proud to have been his friends. Over the years, we attended many plays and movies with Bill, and shared many Christmas Eve and New Year's
Day dinners both at our home and at his. We also were privileged to briefly work with Bill as puppeteers at his Opera in Focus, and my wife helped with some of the puppet costumes. We will miss him very much. He was a true original and a true friend.
   George Thomson (Chicago, IL)




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