William I. Foster Jr.|
Virginia Beach - William Irving Foster Jr. "Bill", 80, quietly passed on to be with His Lord on November 7th, 2012, while in the loving embrace of his family. Bill was known as "Big Bill" to his family, "Papa" to his grandchildren and "Coach Bill" to hundreds of his former players in the Virginia Beach area. He was a beloved husband, father, grandfather, and mentor to many and will be remembered for his brave battle against heart failure during the last two years of his life.
Bill is survived by his wife of 59 years, Shirley Gornto Foster, whom he loved dearly, children William Irving Foster III (Beth Alger Foster) Lee Anne Foster Rhodes (Henry Russell Rhodes) Betsy Foster McKeon (James Kirk McKeon), Thomas Bradley Foster (Ericka Shaw Foster), and 10 grandchildren: Nicholas Hunter Burnett, Christopher William Burnett, Molly Foster McKeon, Quenton Joseph Bullock, Samantha Brinn Foster, Aaron West Foster, Fred Zachary Rhodes, William Cannon Foster, William Barrett Foster, and Olivia Bradley Foster.
Born in Norfolk, Virginia, Bill was the son of the late Olivia West Foster and William Irving Foster Sr. Bill is also survived by his brother Glenn Lee Foster and sister Carolyn Foster Harman. Bill attended Norview High School where he played varsity basketball with his brother Glenn, and then served two years in the United States Navy upon graduation. After he left the military, Bill enrolled in The Norfolk Division of William and Mary, now Old Dominion University, and graduated in 1960 after serving as Student Government president during his senior year.
Bill went to work for Seaboard Citizens Bank in 1961 and graduated from The Stonier Graduate School of Banking at Rutgers University in 1968. He spent his entire career at the bank and its successor banks, United Virginia and Crestar. He retired in 1987 and left behind a legacy of young bankers whom he had hired and mentored. Today those same young bankers can be found in senior positions in banks all across Hampton Roads. Many of those bankers stayed in touch with Bill up until the time of his passing which was a great source of joy and pride for him.
"Papa" was so proud of his children and grandchildren and took great pride in their academic, athletic, and professional accomplishments. He loved attending his grandchildren's sporting events, even up to his last days when he was only able to watch games from his car.
Coaching was one of Bill's greatest passions. He helped to start the sports recreation program in the new neighborhood of Larkspur in Virginia Beach in the mid-sixties and continued coaching his grandchildren until just a few years ago, a span of over 40 years. Countless times over the years Bill's former players would visit with him as adults and recount the times when they played for "Coach". A number of his former players went on to play college athletics, with several making it to the professional level.
Bill's other great passions were spending time on the Outer Banks with his beloved wife Shirley and fishing in the same spots in the Lynnhaven Inlet where his father had fished many years before.
The family will receive friends at Altmeyer Funeral Home, Greenwich Road, Monday, November 12th from 6- 8 p.m. A memorial celebration will be held at Thalia Lynn Baptist Church at 11 a.m. on Tuesday, November 13, followed by a brief graveside service at Eastern Shore Chapel Cemetery, Lasking Road. Memorial donations may be made to the Children's Hospital of the King's Daughters in Norfolk.
The family expresses its deepest gratitude to Dr. Keith Newby for his friendship and care, the nurses and staff at the Sentara Heart Hospital, as well as the Sentara Home Health Nurses for their professional and compassionate care.
Bill will be remembered with great pride and affection by the many people he touched during his life, and the family he adored and so deeply loved.
Altmeyer Funeral Home is handling arrangements and online condolences may be shared with the family at www.atlmeyer.com.
Published in The Virginian Pilot on Nov. 10, 2012