Michael Alexander Foster October 30, 1954 August 25, 2014 Michael Alexander Foster passed away peacefully on August 25, 2014, surrounded by loving family and friends. Michael was born in New Haven, Conn., October 30, 1954, to Dr. Morris Foster and Ruth (Stein) Foster and she survives. Early in his life he was influenced by his family's involvement in the world of academia, and love of art and music. His father Morris was a professor of Mammalian Genetics both at Yale and the University of Michigan, and his mother Ruth attended the Juilliard School of Music. At a very young age Michael practiced the piano and continued performing on the piano and other musical instruments throughout his life. After graduating from Ann Arbor Pioneer High School in 1972, he attended the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor receiving a Bachelor's degree in Biology in 1976, and a Master's degree in Zoology in 1977. In 1984, he received a PhD from the University of Illinois at Champagne-Urbana majoring in Entomology/Crop Protection Simulation. Michael also attained technology education certifications for multiple programming platforms including C/C++, Oracle, Redhat Linux, SQL/MySQL, and SAS. Following post-doctoral experience at Auburn University, Michael was able to leverage his dual expertise in science and technology throughout his professional career. His first job in 1987, was as a bio-statistical programmer for the Medical Center at Vanderbilt University. From 1988-1997, he worked at Pennsylvania State University first as a Supervising Programmer involved in research for minimizing agricultural pollution in watersheds, and then as Chief Architect for developing simulation models and GIS managing aerial applications for gypsy moth control. From 1997-2001, Michael was the Chief IT and Systems Engineer at the Corning TV Glassworks factory in State College. He returned to Penn State University in 2002, as a Database Administrator and Research Programmer working on a 256 node Linux cluster supercomputer. Michael was our beloved son, father, brother, uncle, and dear friend. He will be remembered for so many things, but especially his renowned sense of humor. He brought joy to so many, with his ready smile and jokes; he loved to laugh and make others laugh with him. Mike loved to discuss art, literature and music. He had adventurous culinary tastes and loved to try all kinds of international foods, but he especially loved chocolate; chocolate cake was his favorite! He had eclectic musical tastes and loved classical, jazz, and recently became an Italian opera buff, but Mike especially loved the blues; among his favorite performers were Son House and Little Walter and he played a mean blues harmonica too! He prized comedy and comedians, especially Mel Brooks and Monty Python films (which he loved to quote). Mike fought his way back from a massive stroke in 2004. Through his determination and rehabilitation he retaught himself to walk, talk, email, and continued to utilize both his computer skills and scientific knowledge. After moving back to Ann Arbor in 2006, he led a full, productive life, including volunteering as a reading tutor at Haisley School, providing technology assistance for the Center For Independent Living, and writing a Vegetable Garden Insect Pest Guide for Growing Hope. He loved to attend concerts, swim, go to museums and movies, and go dancing with friends; activities which might seem ordinary, but for Mike they presented real challenges which he persevered to overcome. He met each challenge with strength, humor and grace; he was an inspiration to all who knew him. On August 11, 2014, Mike suffered a second stroke. He could not fight his way back; the odds were just too overwhelming. He will be sorely missed. Michael was predeceased by his father, Morris Foster. He is survived by his daughter, Alexandria, of State College, whom he was able to see graduate high school in June; his mother, Ruth Foster, of Ann Arbor, Mich.; his brother, Conrad Foster and wife, Norma, of Plymouth, Mich.; and his sister, Ellen Foster Maxwell and her, husband Daniel, of Durham, N.C. He is also survived by his beloved nephews, Blake, Brock and Brett Foster, of Plymouth, Mich. and Jonathon Maxwell, of Durham, N.C.; as well as special friends, Robert Newcomb and Stacie Printon, of Ann Arbor. Services will be held at Beth Israel Congregation at 10:30 a.m. on Friday August 29, 2014, in Ann Arbor, Mich., officiated by Rabbi Robert Dobrusin. Memorials may be made to the National Stroke Association, 9707 E. Easter Lane, Suite B, Centennial, CO 80112 or Ann Arbor Center For Independent Living, 3941 Research Park Dr., Ann Arbor, MI 48108 (734-971-0277) or Growing Hope, 922 W. Michigan Ave., Ypsilanti, MI 48197 f(734-786-8401). Funeral arrangements are being handled by The Dorfman Chapel. Interment will be in Arborcrest Cemetery, Ann Arbor.
The Dorfman Chapel
30440 W 12 Mile Rd
Farmington Hills, MI 48334
Published in Centre Daily Times on Aug. 27, 2014