Laird Foster, 89, attorney, activist, mother and wife, 89, died of natural causes on January 9, 2012 in the company of her children and sister at her assisted living residence in Concord, MA. A Memorial Service for Laird will be held at Hancock Church in Lexington, MA at 2pm on Saturday, January 14. In lieu of flowers, donations should be made in Lairds name to support mission and outreach at Brookmead Congregational Church, 700 Bresslyn Rd, Nashville Tennessee or to the Alzheimers Organization at http://act.alz.org/goto/A.Laird.Foster
.. Graduating from the Nashville YMCA Night Law School at age 58, Laird practiced law for 15 years with her colleague Maryda Colowick, primarily helping Nashvilles poor access social security benefits. Lairds social justice beliefs grew out of her progressive Christian faith which she nurtured at Brookmead Congregational Church in West Nashville. In the early 1960s, she participated in the sit-ins at the segregated lunch counters in downtown Nashville, led by black and white students and teachers from Vanderbilt Divinity School. In 1971, she became the first female Moderator (lay church leader) in Brookmead Churchs history. In early 1990s, Laird publically protested with other women of her generation against the Iraq war. Born in Brooklyn, NY, Laird graduated Magna Cum Laude and Phi Beta Kappa from St Lawrence University in 1943, where she was first female editor in chief of the universitys weekly newspaper. She then served in World War II
as an Ensign in the Supply Corps, U.S. Naval Reserve (WAVE), where she met her husband John H. Foster. After the war, Laird moved to Austin Texas and obtained her masters degree in sociology while her husband finished his undergraduate degree. She moved to Nashville in 1951, where her husband made his medical career at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. In addition to raising three children and supporting her husbands career at Vanderbilt, Laird was active in community organizations across Nashville, including the League of Womens Voters and the South Street Community Center. Laird moved to Concord MA in 2006 to be close to her three children, Kathy (of Easton), Laurie (of Concord) and John (of Lexington) -- who survive her along with eight grandchildren. Her sister Kay Coupar joined her in Concord and still resides there.