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John Barnard Foster III

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MANCHESTER -- Jack Foster, 79, of Manchester Village passed away peacefully at his home on Oct. 15, 2003 after a long battle with cancer. Jack was Born in Mount Kisco, N.Y. He was the third child of John Barnard and Rose Marie Duffy Foster. He attended St. Francis Elementary School, The Oratory School, in Summit, N.J. Immediately upon graduation from Horace Greeley High School in Chappaqua, N.Y. he enlisted in the U.S. Coast Guard.

During the Second World War Jack served as a radar technician in Bering Sea Air and Sea Patrol. While serving in Alaska he fell in love with the rugged beauty of the northern seas and the native people who lived there.

He always hoped to return one day but never did, instead he spent the last few years attending the Bering Sea patrol reunions where he reconnected with many other men who served their country in the cold Northern seas.

After the war Jack attended Seaton Hall University in Orange, N.J. Following graduation he went to work for The Catholic Digest. Later, he joined the staff of J. Walter Thompson Co. in New York City.

While in New York he met Sheila Ryan and they were Married in 1954 in Montreal. Jack transferred to the Montreal offices where he managed the accounts of S. W. Pearson Lamb, Aquascutum, Allied Chemical and Canadian Mink Association. Jack and Sheila’s five children were born while the couple lived in Canada.

In 1965, believing that children raised in the country would be happier and healthier Jack and Sheila packed up five children, one Poodle, a tank full of tropical fish, a turtle and a van full of their belongings, and moved the family to Vermont. They purchased Southwick’s Ltd. in Manchester where Jack began a life long career in retail clothing. Jack spent many years serving his community on the village select board first as a member then as the president.

He also served as a zoning administrator and then as tax collector up until this year.

In his life time he served on the board of the Southern Vermont Art Center, worked for Literacy Volunteers of America teaching adults to read, and was a long-time member of the Manchester Rotary Club.

He was also an ardent supporter of Ride and Shine Special Equestrians, and a founder of the Manchester Horse Show.

Jack was a loving father and devoted grandfather to his eight grandchildren, he is survived by Sheila Foster, his wife of 49 years; his children Dana Foster McNair of Landgrove, J. Bart Foster of Boston, MaryLynn Ferington of Lima, N.Y., S. Ruth Ferry of Bloomfield Hills, Mich., Mark R. Foster of Burlington; and a sister, Mary Francis Russell of Chevy Chase, Md.

Services will be held at The Conversion of Saint Paul Catholic Church in Mancester, on Friday Oct. 24 at 10 a.m. In lieu of flowers donations can be made to: Ride and Shine Special Equestrians Inc. Manchester Health Services, or Hospice of Bennington County care of Brewster Funeral Service, P.O. Box 885, Manchester, VT 05255.
Published in Bennington Banner on Oct. 17, 2003
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