Robert Francis Foster, Jr. Robert Francis Foster, Jr., 86, died Tuesday in Austin following a brief illness. Born in Concord, Massachusetts on June 2, 1926, Bob was educated at the Fenn School in Concord and graduated from Middlesex School, also in Concord, in 1944. He enrolled in Harvard College in 1944, but his academic career was interrupted by a stint in the U.S. Navy, where he served as a radio technician during World War II. Following his naval service, Bob returned to Harvard, where he earned his A.B. in physics in 1949. During a brief and unsatisfying tenure as a junior engineer at Honeywell, Bob met Priscilla Frances Landry on a blind date sailing on the Charles River. The couple was married soon thereafter. For their honeymoon, Bob and Priscilla crossed the country to Austin where they had both been offered positions at St. Stephen's Episcopal School, which had opened its doors in the cedar-covered hills West of Austin just two years earlier. Bob taught math and later worked as the school's business manager before retiring after 44 years of service. A lifelong baseball fanatic - no other word describes the intensity with which he approached the national pastime - he also coached the St. Stephen's Spartan baseball team to a number of winning seasons. The baseball diamond - Foster Field - is named in his honor. Bob was a lifelong Red Sox fan, and he was deeply gratified to see his home team win the World Series. Twice. Although he loved the adventure and romance of his rough-and-tumble adopted home state, Bob remained a Yankee at heart. He never replaced anything without trying to fix it, often using ingenious and improbable ways. He loved cars, often very obscure ones such as the Hillman Imp, and he tinkered with all of them incessantly. He loved gizmos of all kinds, and was never as happy as when he would receive a new puzzle or gadget or when he learned about some new invention. Until the end of his life, Bob maintained a child's sense of curiosity and wonder. Bob also was a master bridge player, and scratched only two weeks before he was no longer able to maintain his playing schedule. In later years, Bob developed a hearty interest in genealogy, tracing his family roots back to the 14th century in Ireland. Bob and Priscilla also loved travel, and hauled a much-loved Airstream trailer throughout the United States with their four children each summer. He and his family also enjoyed time at their cabin in Ruidoso, New Mexico, where Bob could often be found watching the hummingbirds and the Red Sox. Bob was a quiet, funny and unassuming man who loved nothing more than his Priscilla, their friends, and their family. He will be missed by Cate and her husband Neil, Liz and her husband Dennis, Ann and her partner Allan, as well as John and his wife Lynn and their children Bryce and Adam. The family wishes to thank Westminster Manor staff for their care and support of Bob during the last 18 months, and to Dr. Judith Betts for her extraordinary and gentle care of Bob and Priscilla during the last years of their lives. The funeral will be private. A memorial gathering is planned for October the 19th, 2013 at St. Stephen's Episcopal School in connection with the Annual Alumni Reunion. In lieu of flowers, the family prefers contributions be made to The Priscilla and Robert Foster Financial Aid Endowment at St. Stephen's Episcopal School, Attn: Lou Bailey, 6500 St. Stephen's Dr., Austin TX 78746.
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Published in Austin American-Statesman on May 26, 2013