Robert E. Fouss was born on June 20, 1920, in Casey, Ill. He was the son of William Jacob and Margaret Kehl Fouss. His father was a finishing carpenter and furniture builder. When Robert was young, his father moved the family to Marietta, OH.
Fouss, who died in the spring of 1995, spent 46 years in the shoe business. He was 74 years old when he died.
At an early age, Fouss often walked past a corner store in Marietta. He observed the workings of the store, and it intrigued him. Based on his experience at the corner store, Fouss found a job working at the Keystone Shoe Store in Marietta.
Fouss served overseas during World War II, and became quartermaster in Manila in the Philippines. He was in charge of dispensing equipment for the war effort, including clothes, food and truck parts for the Army.
After returning home from the war, he opened a store on Market Street in Parkersburg called Fort Pitt Shoes. During his years at Fort Pitt Shoes, he noticed children whose families couldn't afford to buy shoes. It became his lifelong ambition to provide shoes for these children.
When Grand Central Mall opened in 1972, Fouss opened Ford Shoes. He retired in 1983, and during his 46 years, he only missed a few days of work! After retirement, Fouss started woodworking. He made hundreds of items, including bowls, lamps, candlesticks, kitchen cabinets and arts and crafts pieces.