Eugene Abram Foster
Eugene Abram Foster M.D

Eugene Abram Foster M.D., died Monday, July 21, 2008, at age 81, at the University of Virginia Medical Center with his loving family around him, his wife Jane, his three children, Susannah of Culver City, California, Ethan of Sedona, Arizona, and Rebecca of Charlottesville.

He is also survived by his brother, Roger, of Long Beach, New York, Susannah's husband, Peter Baxendale and their children, Miranda and Timothy, by Rebecca's husband, Brian Pusser, Ethan's wife, Susan Foster, and two daughters Heidi and Sarah, and close friend Cindy Silveira.

Gene had a satisfying career as a Pathology Professor at University of Virginia Medical School and at Tufts University New England Medical Center and enjoyed a long happy life with Jane and family and friends. They took many trips to Europe and Colorado and to family in California, and enjoyed their life in Charlottesville and Boston.

In his retirement he did an important study of the DNA of descendants of Sally Hemings and the Jefferson family. His research added significantly to the scientific understanding of the relationship between Sally Hemings and Thomas Jefferson. Prior to Gene's research, it was believed that some of Sally Hemings's children were fathered by Jefferson's Carr nephews. The DNA evidence linked the Jefferson male chromosome to some of the Hemings descendants. Most historians now think that Thomas was the only Jefferson male available at all of Sally's conceptions.

Gene was born and ra ised in the Bronx, New York, and graduated from the Bronx High School of Science in 1943. He attended college and medical school at Washington University in St Louis for eight years where he met his future wife, Jane Brown. He was starting his internship in Salt Lake City General Hospital when he was drafted by the military. He urged Jane to return from France where she was working, and they were married on February 25, 1952, at the Salt Lake City Hall by a justice of the peace who happened to be a Mormon Bishop. His military duty was with the United States Public Health Service on Indian reservations for three years in South Dakota and North Dakota where Susannah and Ethan were born. Then came three years of Pathology residencies in Boston where Rebecca was born, and finally a year of Surgical Pathology in St. Louis.

The family arrived in Charlottesville in 1959, where Gene joined the University of Virginia Pathology Depart-ment and was lucky enough to get a house in faculty resi-dences at Mimosa Drive where they found many of the wonderful friends they have had for 49 years. In 1976 the children had grown up and gone, so Gene joined the Tufts New England Medical Center in Boston where he and Jane could enjoy big city pleasures for 14 years: ethnic restau-rants, museums, sailing on the Charles River, early music concerts, and lots of good friends.

In 1990 Gene retired and they came home to their house and friends in Charlottesville which had become much more like a big city with more music, and drama and a variety dining options. They began a busy life volunteering in Democratic and Civil Rights activities, Monticello Area Community Action Agency (MACAA), and other worthy causes. Gene especially enjoyed his many years of reading for Recording for the Blind and Dyslexic.

The family wants to thank all the staff on 3 East at the University Hospital for their warm, intelligent care of Gene in the final week of his illness.

No memorial service is planned, but we welcome letters and visits from friends. Memorial contributions to MACAA or to other worthy causes will be appreciated.

This obituary was originally published in the Daily Progress.
Published by Daily Progress from Jul. 22 to Jul. 27, 2008.
To plant trees in memory, please visit the Sympathy Store.
To offer your sympathy during this difficult time, you can now have memorial trees planted in a National Forest in memory of your loved one.
Add a Message

Not sure what to say?

12 Entries
To their children, hope you are all safe and healthy. We moved to New York 2005 and, because we live near a street his family had a house, we do often think of him and Jane.Good memories.
Olivia and Leslie Grayson
July 16, 2020
Dear Jane and Family,
You and Gene were my parents' lifelong friends, meeting and working together in Gene's and my father's post-university jobs in Pine Ridge, South Dakota. You and my mother took turns having children and even though I do not know Susannah, Ethan or Rebecca well, they are often in my thoughts. You were the first person to see Mark and my newborn son Damien, coming out to Brookline a few days after his birth. (He reminded me last week of a giraffe puppet he named Foster in your honour.) Mark and I learned from Gene the technique of making drip coffee, pouring the water slowly, slowly into the cone. We both have benefitted greatly from your friendship over these fast-passing 30 years. We are honoured to have known Gene and wonder whose DNA he will want to be testing next, up there in the Happy Hunting Grounds in the sky. All our love, Paula and Mark
Paula Claycomb
August 3, 2008
Mrs. Foster:
I was very saddened by the news of Dr. Foster's passing; for he fought a good fight. I will forever be grateful to the both of you. You both inspired and encouraged me to follow my dreams of becoming an educator. I have fond memories of being a guest at your house and being an active member in the Democratic Party in Charlottesville. It was due to the both of you. I thank you both from the bottom of my heart. Mrs. Foster know that memories never die; for Dr. Foster's spirit still lives on. God Bless you and your family at this time.

Best regards,
Faith M. Jackson, Tufts Univ.
July 26, 2008
Dear Jane,

The Lopategui's family extends their condolences to you and your family on the passage of Gene.

He was a man of Good , a Teacher, a Friend and a Guide for me in my pathologist's carreer.
He was one of these rare individuals that makes a profound difference with humility and simpicity. Myriam and I loved him for who he was and he will always be in our memories.

We hope to see you when you come to Los Angeles and will stop by Charlottesville when we go that way.

Our thoughts are with you on this trying times. The body passes but the spirit remains forever.


Jean, Myriam, Benjamin & Jeremy
Jean Lopategui
July 26, 2008
Jane and Family - So sorry to have gotten this news. Dr. Foster was an important role model for me, as a Pathologist and Physician, but also as a generous teacher. I only hope I can honor his memory by emulating his integrity, collegiality, and love of learning.
Rebecca Folkerth, MD
July 24, 2008
Jane, Susie Nettelhorst Hastings just told me your sad news. Gene was my first (and best) boss. I learned so much about leadership from watching him in action. After almost 30 years in advertising/recruiting, I went back to school and am now a Special Education teacher here in Riverside California. My daughter is a high school junior with her heart set on traveling to Mars. Maybe she will settle for becoming a scientist.
Gene was a truly inspiring man. I am so sorry for your loss.
Lois Homma
July 23, 2008
Please accept the condolences of the Carr family .. he will be missed, but always remembered.
Linda Carr-Kraft
(daughter of Rev. Dabney Jefferson Carr III)
Linda Carr-Kraft
July 23, 2008
Gene was a good neighbor whether you lived on Gildersleeve Wood (as I did) or anywhere else on the planet. His genuine concern for others was put into action not only in his work but in all areas of his life. He was a teacher not only in word but deed. His reward for this good life was his amazing wife Jane. My condolences to family and friends. Gene will most certainly be missed but remembered and cherished by many.
Clare Kilbane
July 23, 2008
Dr. Foster will be remembered as the consummate scientist: patient, inquisitive, and audacious. He will also be remembered for his generousity and devotion to family and friends. He will be sorely missed.
Elizabeth Jones
July 22, 2008
Jane, What a shock to hear on the news this evening of Gene's passing. Although I have not seen either of you in many months, I often think of you and the many hours we have volunteered together. May your fond memories ease your loss.
C. J. Hall
July 22, 2008
Jane dear, Lila just called,How sorry Les and I are you know,and we will call, but I had to write after reading something I had hoped not to read for many many years. The April visit is now more precious. Much love
Olivia Grayson
July 22, 2008
Gene was a noble spirit and a noble man. Our deepest condolences to Jane and the family.
Rey and Gimmer Barry
July 22, 2008
Showing 1 - 12 of 12 results