CAMBRIDGE, Wis. — Olivia Foss Goede, 96, of Cambridge passed away Friday, May 31, 2019, at Home Again Assisted Living in Cambridge. Olivia was born Feb. 20, 1923, in the town of Christiana in Dane County, to Olaf and Margaret (Larson) Foss. She was a proud woman of strong character: proud of her profession, her family, her faith, and her heritage.
After graduating from Cambridge High School, Olivia attended Swedish American Hospital School of Nursing in Rockford, Ill. After earning her nursing degree, Olivia moved to Edgerton to work as a registered nurse at the hospital. While living in Edgerton, she met Paul Goede. On June 23, 1946, Olivia and Paul were married at the West Koshkonong Lutheran Church. It was in Edgerton the two raised their family of four children until 1967 when they moved to Menomonie. There Olivia continued to work full time as a registered nurse, at The American Lutheran Home as the Director of Nursing. Later, she continued her career at the Red Cedar Clinic in Menomonie as Dr. Thomas Screnock’s nurse. She worked for Dr. Screnock until her retirement. Often he said that patients came to him because of her, and that she was irreplaceable when she retired. They remained friends and kept in contact until her final days. An exemplary nurse and professional, she was an inspiration for many young people who chose to pursue a career in nursing.
A dedicated wife and mother, Olivia raised four children while working full time, and working with her husband Paul on outside catering projects. After working an eight hour shift, it wasn’t unusual for her to come home and start preparing food for a wedding they were catering. An excellent cook, everything she made was delicious—always a big hit at the weddings they catered and church potluck dinners. The Goede household was a destination with the food the main attraction. But Olivia herself was a part of that, always making her children’s friends feel welcome. She had the personality and demeanor her Norwegian relatives called ‘koselig,’ which means cozy and nice. She made their home cozy and nice.
Moreover, Olivia was dedicated to her faith. “This is a day that the Lord hath made.
Let us rejoice and be glad,” was one of her favorite ways to begin the day. Central Lutheran was her home and was active in Ruth Circle. But no matter where they lived, Olivia was quick to find a home church. Often she and Paul immediately became active members even with their busy work schedules. She even had a few Bible quotations in Norwegian she liked to share, including the one on the alter at West Koshkonong Lutheran Church where she and Paul were married. She was proud of her Norwegian heritage and was known to every now and then speak Norwegian instead of English, just to keep things interesting. Visiting Norway several times to meet cousins was something she cherished.
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Her dedication to her profession, family and faith were well known. But what many people didn’t know is Olivia was an avid Badger fan. She loved Badger football, but her real passion was Badger men’s basketball. Every season she seemed to “adopt” one of the players as “her boy.” Rarely did she miss a televised game, and she knew the players and their numbers better than anyone, sometimes following them after their time at UW- Madison was over. She had a Final Four hat autographed by one of her all time favorites, Mike Kelly that she proudly wore while watching the games. “Go Badgers!”
Olivia is survived by her children, Sandra (Norman) Holman of Cambridge, Steve (Connie) Goede of Edgerton, Julie Luers of Eden Prairie, Minn., Diane (Patrick) Lutz of Beaver Dam, Wis. Grandchildren, Clayton(Andrea) Goede, Andrew (Katie) Luers, Sarah(Ryan) Meier. Great-grandchildren, James Luers, Callan Meier and Reese Meir. A brother, Clayton Foss of Janesville, Wis.; a sister, Ruth Smithback of Fort Atkinson, Wis.; a sister, Eleanor Lewis of Cambridge. She was preceded in death by her parents; her husband, Paul; a grandson, Paul Steven Goede; son-in-law, Scott Luers; brothers, Lloyd and Leroy Foss; and a sister, Thelma Kroneman.
Olivia was of the generation that had endured great hardship. But she would say it made her stronger and made her appreciate life more. “Vi had det got her,” means we had it good here. She believed that. Olivia will be missed by the many whose lives she touched. The family wishes to extend a special thanks to Dr. Albert Musa, Care Team, the staff at Home Again, and Agrace Hospice.
Those wishing to pay their respects may attend a memorial service held at 11 a.m. at Central Lutheran Church in Edgerton, with Pastor Erik Jelineck officiating.
Burial will be in Fassett Cemetery. Friends may call from 4 to 6 p.m. Thursday evening at the Albrecht Funeral Homes and Cremation Services, Edgerton, and from 10 a.m. to time of services at the church.