Donald Foster Obituary
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In Memory of

Donald Francis Foster

October 10, 1931 - May 21, 2014
Obituary

Donald Francis Foster, Fort Smith business leader, world traveller and philanthropist, died peacefully at home on May 21, 2014. Donald was born on October 10, 1931 to John and Hilda Foster in Elmhurst, Illinois, where he grew up with his four brothers and one sister. He graduated from St. Ambrose University in Davenport, Iowa, and served in the U.S. Army, excelling as a competitive swimmer for the United States All Army Swimming and Diving Team. He joined Rheem Manufacturing Company in 1957, and devoted his business career to this company, retiring as President of Rheem Heating and Air Conditioning in 1991. He started in Research and...
Donald Francis Foster, Fort Smith business leader, world traveller and philanthropist, died peacefully at home on May 21, 2014. Donald was born on October 10, 1931 to John and Hilda Foster in Elmhurst, Illinois, where he grew up with his four brothers and one sister. He graduated from St. Ambrose University in Davenport, Iowa, and served in the U.S. Army, excelling as a competitive swimmer for the United States All Army Swimming and Diving Team. He joined Rheem Manufacturing Company in 1957, and devoted his business career to this company, retiring as President of Rheem Heating and Air Conditioning in 1991. He started in Research and Development, soon moving into sales and then management positions. He accumulated awards and accolades during his tenure at Rheem, and served as a director on boards of industry and trade organizations, including the Associated Industries of Arkansas, the Gas Appliance Manufacturers Association and the Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Institute. When he retired, the company declared his retirement date as "Don Foster Day." His retirement years were characterized by great travel adventures with Marilyn, visiting the far flung corners of the globe for safaris in Africa, riding on the Orient Express, exploring other cultures and making new friends. When he was home, he could be found in his gardens, preparing his flowers and other ornamentals for Fort Smith's long growing season. In addition to his travel pursuits, he was dedicated to improving the quality of life for others. He donated time, energy and funds while serving on the Board of Directors of the Boys and Girls Club, as well as Project Compassion, Trinity School, the Mount Magazine Girl Scout Council., and other organizations. He worked with his wife Marilyn to fund the Marilyn Foster Vocational Complex for Bost, Inc., located on Zero Avenue in Fort Smith. Along with Marilyn, he was inducted into the Fort Smith Boys and Girls Club Hall of Fame in 2012. In addition, he served on the boards of Fort Smith Crime Stoppers, the Port Authority, and the Chamber of Commerce. He and Marilyn sponsored scholarships at the University of Arkansas for two decades, and donated computer equipment to the University of Arkansas graduate program in Speech Pathology and Audiology. Finally, Don was devoted to his family, installing a quest for excellence, emphasis on the importance of education, curiosity and a love of music in his children and grandchildren. He was a member of Christ the King parish in Fort Smith, but his tenor was heard at Immaculate Conception and St. Boniface, as well. Friends and family will miss his storytelling prowess and lightning quick wit. He is survived by his wife of 58 years, Marilyn Foster, née Kuhajek, and 5 children, Margaret Foster of Chicago, IL., John Foster of The Woodlands, TX, Marla and husband Donnie Walker of Elkins, AR, Marcia and husband Chris Lasnier Overland Park, KS, and Joseph and wife Traci of Broken Arrow, ,OK, as well as 10 grandchildren, Cheryl and husband Phil Carnes, Michael and wife Nicole Walker, Cody Foster, Alex Foster, Shelby Foster, Maxwell Foster, Scott Foster, Thomas Lasnier, Connor Foster and Sarah Lasnier, and one great grandchild, Hailey Carnes. Rosary will be said on Monday, May 26, 2014 at 2:30 PM in the Edwards Funeral Home Chapel. Memorial Service will be held at Christ the King Catholic Church on Tuesday, May 27, 2014 at 10:00 a.m. Services and cremation are under the direction of Edwards Funeral Home. Honorary Pallbearers will be his sons and grandsons. The family will greet friends on Monday, May 26th from 3-5 PM in the Edwards Funeral Home. In lieu of flowers, Memorials may be sent to Bost, Inc., P.O.Box 11495, Fort Smith, AR 72917 or the Fort Smith Boys and Girls Club, 4905 South "O" Street, Fort Smith, AR 72904. To sign an online guestbook visit www.edwardsfuneralhome.com.

"I will never forget Uncle Donald. Much love to the Foster family at this difficult time. Thank you for many wonderful memories..." Pat Foster Schultz (Sunnyside, NY)

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Donald Francis Foster, Fort Smith business leader, world traveler and philanthropist, died peacefully at home on May 21, 2014. Donald was born on...

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