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Robert J. Foster

Robert J. Foster of Elgin A funeral Mass for Robert J. Foster, 77, will be celebrated at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, at St. Thomas More Catholic Church, Elgin, with the Rev. Geoffrey Wirth officiating. Burial will follow in Mount Hope Cemetery, Elgin. Visitation will be from 4 to 8 p.m. today, at the Laird Funeral Home, 310 S. State St., Elgin, and from 10 a.m. until the time of Mass Saturday, at the church. Born Feb. 13, 1929, in Oak Park, the son of George and Helen McLaughlin Foster, he died Tuesday, Aug. 1, 2006, at Provena St. Joseph Hospital in Elgin. Mr. Foster boxed in the Golden Gloves and served in the Marine Corps from 1951 to 1953, stationed in Hawaii. He married Marilyn Cronin on May 29, 1954. He studied English and music at Culver-Stockton College in Canton, Mo., receiving his bachelor's degree in 1955. He later did graduate work at the University of Iowa in Iowa City, and earned his master's degree from Northern Illinois University in DeKalb in 1971. He taught English and music at Wentworth Military Academy in Lexington, Mo., from 1956 to 1958. A resident of Elgin since 1958, he taught English at Elgin High School and at Elgin Community College. He retired from teaching in 1987. Mr. Foster was the recipient of numerous honors, including the Governor's Master Teacher Award and the Kane County Distinguished Educator Award, and was twice a recipient of the University of Chicago Outstanding Teacher Prize. He appeared in "Outstanding Young Men of America" in 1964, and in "Who's Who in U.S. Writers, Editors and Poets" in 1987. An accomplished musician, Mr. Foster played the double bass with the Culver-Stockton College Studio Orchestra, as well as the glockenspiel with the college band. Later he played double bass with the Quincy, Illinois Symphony and was twice the guest narrator with the Elgin Symphony. Mr. Foster was the author of many books, including mystery novels, poetry volumes and children's stories. He also wrote a musical comedy, "Three Cheers for Me," which he produced and directed as the Elgin High School fall musical in 1976. His first poetry book was published in 1962. His most recent was "Nipping Leaves," published in 1987. His mystery novels include "A Merry Little Murder," published in 1996, and "Murder Goes to College," published in 1998. His works for children include "The Bend in the River," and a volume of poems entitled "The Sun is a Sugar Cookie," which was published for the students of Elgin by School District U-46. Mr. Foster was an active member of the Elgin Area Retired Teachers Association, serving for three years as president, and for 10 years as the editor of the organization's newsletter, "The Jogger." He received EARTA's award as Teacher of the Year in 1998. Survivors include his wife of 52 years, Marilyn C. Foster; two sons, Mark (Janan) Foster of Batavia and Matthew (Eugie) Foster of Alpharetta, Ga.; a sister, Helen (Don) Quinlan; a brother, John T. Foster; and many nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents; a brother, George P. Foster; and a sister, Jane Aquino. Memorials may be made to Provena St. Joseph Hospital Foundation, 77 N. Airlite St., Elgin, IL 60123. For information, 847-741-8800.
Published in Chicago Suburban Daily Herald from Aug. 3 to Aug. 4, 2006
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