Noel J. Foster

Noel J. Foster
World Trade Center

Blue Eyes and Red Cars

Everything was going so great for Noel J. Foster. He and his wife, Nancy, were extremely in love. They had just celebrated their 10th wedding anniversary with a two-week trip out West. Both the children were in school, with the youngest, Nicole, 5, having just started kindergarten on Sept. 6. The family had bought a house in Bridgewater, N.J., and Mr. Foster, 40, had fixed up every room but one. His wife just bought a new car.

It was as life should have been for a young couple in America. Mr. Foster was a vice president with Aon Corporation on the 99th floor of 2 World Trade Center. "They were at a perfect time in their life," said Peggy Oblack, Mrs. Foster's sister. "Things were really good."

Mrs. Oblack admired her sister's husband. He had blue eyes. He loved music. He was full of fun. He loved red cars. He always had a project going. "He was a wonderful family man," said Mrs. Foster. "He loved spending time with his wife and kids on the weekends. The beach, the boardwalks, the arcades."

Profile published in THE NEW YORK TIMES on October 26, 2001.

Noel J. Foster, 40, always had a smile

When the hijacked jetliners slammed into the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, Noel J. Foster lagged behind to help a colleague with a broken leg down the 99 flights.

Several witnesses told Mr. Foster's family they saw him on the 65th floor of the South Tower, still aiding the man.

Others told Mr. Foster's wife they saw him on the 40th floor.

Cell phone records show Mr. Foster tried to call home, but the calls never got though.

Mr. Foster, 40, of Bridgewater was a vice president and producing broker for Aon Re Inc. in Two World Trade Center.

Mr. Foster leaves behind his wife of 10 years, Nancy; and daughters Megan, 8, and Nicole, 5.

His mother, Marion Foster of Colts Neck, said her only child may be gone, but he will never be forgotten.

"He always had a smile. He was always looking at both sides of the story. And he was always tolerant," she said.

Learning of her son's selfless act came as no surprise, she said. "That's just the way he was."

Mr. Foster enjoyed horseback riding, swimming, tennis and spending time with his family.

At age 4, Mr. Foster's father, James McDonough died. At 8, his mother remarried and her husband, John Foster, adopted Noel.

At age 11, Mr. Foster joined the New York Military Academy, where he learned to ride horses and once represented the school's mounted unit during an assembly at Madison Square Garden. He was an ROTC cadet and was honorably discharged from the U.S. Army in 1980.

After earning a bachelor's degree in journalism and political science from Moravian College in Bethlehem, Pa., he entered the insurance industry, working for several firms before landing at Aon in 1997.

His mother recalled one very memorable "project" that was attempted in late July -- a sand castle that she and her son worked on as the family enjoyed a day on the beach in Long Branch.

While Foster's children and their cousins quickly lost interest in the castle, the day turned out to be one Marion Foster will always remember.

Everybody was happy and laughing, she said. The clan ended the day with a fine supper at a seafood restaurant Foster counted as one of his favorites.

"He was a very good son," she said.

A memorial service will be held at 4:30 p.m. Sunday at the Shrine of St. Joseph in Stirling.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to Megan and Nicole Foster Education Fund, P.O. Box 181, Martinsville, N.J. 08836.

Profile by Eleanor Barrett published in THE STAR-LEDGER.

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