James Robert Foster, Jr., 87 died on Monday, November 25, 2013. A military funeral service will be held 2:30 p.m. Tuesday, December 3 at Ft Richardson National Cemetery. Friends and family will meet at Reilly's Irish Pub on Fireweed Lane in Anchorage immediately afterward.
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James was born October 19, 1926 in Lewiston, Idaho. He enlisted in the Army in 1944 and served through the end of World War II. Always keen for an adventure, James moved his family north, over the rough-cut Alaska-Canada Highway, to Alaska in 1958; where he worked as a forest firefighter, plumber and handyman. He later moved to Portland, Oregon and worked as a chainsaw distributor, but his love for Alaska never dimmed. In 1975 he returned to Alaska with a new family and set down permanent roots.
James' love for Alaska was deep. His favorite activity was taking the family on summer camping trips, where every evening fire was the scene of him reading the poetry of Robert Service, with such light and love in his deep voice it seemed like music to all who heard. Every river and lake he crossed needed to be tested for fish, every stretch of road needed to be driven and every vista viewed as if it were his destiny to stand there and view it.
He lead annual summer trips to Chitina, where he taught his family to dip for the Copper River red salmon and live with that bounty. Those trips continue still, with his sons keeping the tradition going. And yes, Dad, what happens in Chitina stays in Chitina!
James is survived by his wife Cleda; who married the grey-bearded Alaskan at Marlow Manor in January of 2012. He is also survived by brothers Cal and Dan. James will always be remembered by children Kevin (Stacey), Michael, Steve (Patricia), Janet (Richard) Burmeister, Marci (Hans) Skibo-Fix, Patrick (Saundra), Michael (Karen), and stepson Robert J. Burnett. Also remembered by grandchildren, Matthew, Keegan, Brian, Nicholas, Wendy, Michelle, James, Jason Wright, Corey Wright, Becki Peterson, Jacob Peterson, Nathan Leonard, Kristal Leonard.
James was preceded in death by son Matthew Foster; grandson Nicholas Wright; and wife Carol Foster.
Arrangements by Cremation Society of Alaska, Words of comfort can be shared at www.alaskacremation.com
Published in Alaska Dispatch News from Dec. 1 to Dec. 2, 2013
Cremation Society of Alaska
7216 Lake Otis Parkway Anchorage, AK 99507