Gary Foss, the founder of Fredericksburg Christian School, died April 6 at the age of 81, in California.

He established the non-denominational Christian school, which has campuses in Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania County, with his wife Andy in 1979.

The school was first housed in the basement of First Christian Church on Washington Avenue in the city, with 35 students and three teachers, including Foss and his wife.

Fredericksburg Christian School now has 825 students in preschool through 12th grade. In 2020, the upper and lower schools will be unified in a new building at the Foss Christian Education Center on Thornton Rolling Road in Spotsylvania.

Foss was born in Maine and graduated from the University of Virginia with a master’s degree in education.

He and Andy were married in 1962 and were together until her death in 2008.

Foss worked for Stafford County Public Schools as the assistant principal of Drew Middle School and for Fredericksburg City Public Schools as the principal of Walker–Grant, which at the time was the black high school in the city, and the principal of Hugh Mercer Elementary.

He was assistant superintendent for special education for the city school system when he left to establish Fredericksburg Christian School in 1978.

The Fosses often opened their home in Ferry Farm to troubled youth and to servicemen posted at Marine Corps Base Quantico who could not go home for the holidays.

In 2009, the Fosses received the Fredericksburg Regional Chamber of Commerce’s Prince B. Woodard Leadership award, which is given to individuals “who have demonstrated a lifetime of stewardship to the people and institutions of Fredericksburg.”

Foss also served as president of the Fredericksburg Bible Institute, now Cornerstone College of Virginia, from 2011 until he moved to California in 2017 to live with his son, following a stroke.

A memorial service will be held April 27 at 11 a.m. at Spotswood Baptist Church.

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Adele Uphaus–Conner: 540/735-1973 auphaus@freelancestar.com @flsadele