FOSTER, Edward Michael, 50, of Birmingham, Ala., died May 15, 2013 after a long battle with cancer. Michael was born in Fredricksburg, Va., August 9, 1962, and grew up in Richmond. After graduating from Tucker High School, he attended the College of William and Mary, where he graduated Phi Beta Kappa with a degree in economics. He continued his studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. It was there that he met and married Mary Katherine Ridgill Foster on May 14, 1988, and completed his doctorate in 1990. Following post-doctoral studies at Pennsylvania University in Philadelphia, Michael accepted his first faculty position at Vanderbilt University in August 1992. Working with colleagues in psychology and public policy, he developed his dissertation on childhood poverty into a lifelong career researching children's welfare issues, particularly mental health interventions and education. These interests led to faculty positions in health policy at Georgia State University, Pennsylvania State University, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the University of Alabama at Birmingham. With enthusiasm for sharing his statistical knowledge and a desire to learn from the strengths of his colleagues, Michael had a unique gift for bringing together researchers from a variety of academic disciplines and countries as collaborators on his projects. Recognizing the need for fresh ideas, he thrived on mentoring graduate students and junior faculty. Michael's concern for children and the poor grew out of a deep faith in God and love for his family. He is survived by his wife, Mary Katherine; daughters, Hannah Lofton, Sarah Evelyn and Miriam Grace; and son, Andrew Gabriel of Birmingham; his mother, Betty; sister, Susan Foster Barr; brother-in-law, Brett Barr; and niece, Zoe of Maidens, Va.; his mother-in-law, Frances Ridgill of Greenville, S.C.; his sister and brother-in-law, Elizabeth and Stephen Lentchner; nieces, Olivia and Lillian; and nephew, Andrew of Nashville, Tenn. He was preceded in death by his father, Walter Willis Foster of Maidens, Va. A memorial service was held May 22, at St. Mary's on the Highlands Episcopal Church in Birmingham. He requested that those attending his memorial service wear bright colors to celebrate his life full of the abundant blessings of a loving family, good friends, rewarding work and God's abiding care.
This obituary was originally published in the Richmond Times-Dispatch.