Willard Emmons Foss, Jr.

April 28, 1930December 14, 2023
Obituary of Willard Emmons Foss, Jr.
Willard Emmons Foss, Jr. April 28, 1930 - December 14, 2023 Willard (Skip) Foss passed away on December 14, 2023 - the morning of the funeral for his loving wife of 70 years. He was a beloved husband, father, grandfather, great-grandfather, and friend. Skip was born on April 28, 1930. In his early years he lived and traveled around the United States with his military father and mother. He and his mother later settled in Arlington, VA near her sister and two brothers. Although an only child, he was close with his three local cousins. He attended Washington and Lee high school where he developed several life-long friendships and showed a strong affinity for the sciences and engineering. After high school, Skip attended George Washington University for a year before transferring to Virginia Polytechnic Institute to join the Corps of Cadets and study aeronautical engineering. It was here he thrived. One summer back in Arlington, he met the love of his life, Jean Elizabeth (Candy) Wines, who was then a nursing student in Alexandria. After their marriage in March 1953, they relocated to Hampton for Skip to begin his career at the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA, now NASA). Skip and Candy built and enjoyed a wonderful life together. They raised two children, frequently socializing with a growing circle of friends. Skip and Candy shared a zest for life and were happiest when together. They joined a local ski club with no prior experience, eventually skiing not only up and down the east coast with their growing children, but also much of Colorado together. Skip especially loved skiing, he was good at it, and was often asked to join the ski patrol ranks. They instilled a love of skiing, the mountains, beaches, and swimming in their children and grandchildren. Skip served on numerous research teams during his career at the NASA Langley Research Center. He supported the relative performance of several Super Sonic Transport configurations powered by noise-limited turbo jet engines. His research studied computer sizing of fighter aircraft. The effects of nonlinear aerodynamics and static aeroelasticity on mission performance were precisely computed. Skip received many individual performance and group achievement awards. Skip retired from NASA in 1990, and continued to support his former office for two more years as a Lockheed Martin employee. He kept in touch with a number of friends/colleagues through their common interests, including a computer dinner group. He and Candy were quite active well into their eighties. Being honored as a member of the VT Old Guard, as well as attending and supporting the Virginia Tech Hokies football team as a Golden Hokie were also highlights for him. Skip had a quick wit as well as the gift of occasional sarcasm. Make no mistake, he was a family man and loved his entire family dearly. He was a patient teacher of math, along with many life skills. He attended many children’s games, dance recitals, graduations, and weddings as a proud parent, grandparent, or great-grandparent. He and Candy moved to the vibrant Arbors community in Newport News nine years ago; he especially enjoyed bingo nights, a Mexican-dominoes group, chair exercise, and chatting with residents and staff. He enjoyed visits and calls with family and friends. A Catholic, he continued to attend mass when he could. He is survived by his two children, Richard (Cindy) Foss and Barbara Fischer; five grandchildren, Elizabeth Guthrie, Rick Foss (Stacey), William (Marybeth) Foss, Charles (Karen) Fischer, and Jennifer Fischer (Thomas); seven great-grandchildren, Ava, Emily, Dylan, Henry, Brady, Sunny, and Sky; as well as seven nieces and nephews, and numerous great-nieces and nephews. He is and will be greatly missed. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations to the VA Tech Engineering Department or to the VA Tech Athletic Fund as a tribute.

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Past Services

Friday, December 29, 2023


Friday, April 19, 2024


Friday, April 19, 2024

Memorial Service

Friday, April 19, 2024

Reception to Follow the Service