Musical Surroundings writes: “Our Gentle Giant on a Spiritual Quest to find the Perfect Sound took his last Breath so sacred a sound no tongue can speak, on December 7, 2022. The wrenching silence take over as God gently rocked a lullaby of his life. Our Legendary, Emmy Award-Winning and surround sound pioneer, known to us affectionately as, Husband to his Soul Mate–Norma, Dad, Grandpa Jim, FOZ, Jimmy, and Friend. Known as an American Inventor and Engineer, he was born December 5, 1937 in Indianapolis, Indiana. His late father Louis (Louie) Fosgate was a radio and television repairman.”
“Jim always said that he was Brilliant and understood electronics and audio, which he taught to Jim. His love for sound was natural and normal, already programmed into him. His late mother, Vivian Brunner Fosgate, was a nurse and a Perfectionist. With this combination, the guidelines for his work were inherent. Jim is also preceded by a sister, Anne Fosgate Marshall, a brother Tommy Fosgate, and a stepson Lex Bruce Warburton.His entire career was defined by music and technology that inspired and changed the lives of those who listened to his Sound Demos. He created a Human Experience in Sound with an inexhaustible PASSION for The Perfect Sound.
In his early teens, he built a portable radio from scavenged parts and installed it on his Cruiser Bicycle. He told stories of riding it all over Indianapolis and grinned as he said” It was a Hit”.
FOZ realized that music and the human ear didn’t have the same “curve” or signature; so, in 1973 the solution was invented and patented as the FOSGATE
PUNCH EQ Car amplifier. That same punch is the sound of Rockford Fosgate and it is heard in everything made today.
Jim was also an avid controlled model airplane builder and flyer. He designed and built an RC Transmitter. As a family, he was always excited to take us out in the fields and fly his airplanes; we would watch in awe for hours. This later became a Hobby for him, he enjoyed it so much that he bought out the Local Hobby Shop that was going out of business. His model airplanes adorn his own shop showcased in different sizes, colors, and models. Being the Generous Humanitarian that he was, he donated a portion of an airstrip (Young Airstrip noted as gifted by Jim Fosgate) so that other likeminded aviators could enjoy the sport.
In the late 1970s Jim’s ear went back to his first love for sound. While working in Prescott Arizona on another project in 1978, His soul mate Norma, who was an intern studying music therapy for autistic children, knocked on his door because she always heard loud music playing. That day Jim was playing the “Golden Voyage” as he answered the door. Both were smitten and they married in 1981. They referred to each as their soul mate not only as a married couple, but also as business partners as Norma always worked beside Jim. She recalls seeing sparks of genius coming from the top of his head and hearing his brain work even while he was sleeping.
In 2000 after working with quadraphonic sound and producing the Tate II processor, Jim made improvements to his stereophonic technology which Norma and Lex called “Surround Sound”. The name was adopted by competitors and Dolby Laboratories announced the introduction of DOLBY PRO LOGIC II. Roger Dressler of Dolby Laboratories said, “Jim’s system, his invention, made him become one of the most prolific developers of Surround Decoding Technologies since the Quadraphonic era”. This circuity is now enjoyed by more than 500 million stereo receivers, video game consoles, car stereos, and commercial theater decoders throughout the world.
In 2003 Jim was Honored with the Ultimate recognition in his field…. An Emmy Award for his remarkable achievement and contributions in the development of
Surround Sound for Television.
After over 18 PATENTS, Numerous awards and recognition, Norma Joked with Jim saying, she “was denied her retirement because He kept working”. In his 80s his quest for the perfect sound was unleashed. Foz’s last design was STATE OF THE ART; Norma called it ARIES, Ruler of The Head and it is so named. Aries is a Headphone processor/amplifier that does not require a special sound room. It provides a total sonic emersion that can transport the listener to another dimension, time, and place. Foz had extensive experience with emotional counseling and the use of sound for Healing dating back to the 70s.
In 2018 Jim received an Artist Award from The Governor’s Mansion in Utah where he lived. In his modest, soft-spoken tone, he received the award by saying this: “This has been a long journey with ups and downs, as one would expect. When you start out on this road you never know where it will lead. I am Happy it has turned out so well. It means a lot. Never Give Up. I thank you all”.
We are left with a Hard, Heavy, Empty Space filled with a depth of love, and feel the breath of God in cherished memories. Memories notably of the Patriarch of our family. His Joy and Love for Norma and the family, their beloved Dogs and Horses, His Hobbies of beautiful photography, Christmas Lights strung from floor to ceiling and corner to corner, his excitement in gift giving always accompanied with balloons, bows, and fanfare. His Humanitarian acts of Charity both locally and worldwide. WHOSE PERFECT SOUND WILL FOREVER RESONATE IN OUR HEARTS AND EARS.
He is survived by: WIFE and Soulmate–Norma and their 3 fur babies: Belle, Raggs, and Sir Charles; Children: Loni Sipes/Fosgate (Ron), Su Warburton/Bennee (Shane), Linda Warburton, Lezlee Amoss/Cameron; Grandkids: Shannon Sipes, Sean Sipes, Kaira Bennee (Romaine), Cameron Bennee (Kelly), Justin Bennee (Jayden), Jessica Cannon (Renn), Josh Cameron (Alexandra); as well as 9 GREAT Grand Children.
A Special Thank You to Josh and Alex who were there in those Hard, uncertain, Moments.
A Private Memorial for Friends and Family will be held in Jim’s Honor. Details will be shared once plans are finalized.”