Lowell E. Foster, 92, of Cary, NC passed away Wednesday June 17th after a period of declining health.
Born July 5, 1922 in Corning, IA to Elliott Newton and Velda Iva Harper Foster, he graduated from Corning High School in 1940. Between 1927 and graduation he attended schools in Omaha, NE and Prescott, IA.
He graduated from Engineering Defense Training at Iowa State College, before volunteering in the United States Air Force; serving as Crew-Chief Mechanic and Aerial Engineer in the US Training Command and 5th Air Force in the Pacific Theatre during World War II.
Days after the bombing of Hiroshima, he served as crew chief for the RKO/Pathé News team who were the first to fly over the city and film the devastation. The resulting footage was shown in movie theaters around the world.
Work & Life
Following his military service he enjoyed a career in aviation where he earned his Aircraft and Engine Mechanics Certificates followed by his private and commercial pilot’s license. He last renewed his private pilot’s license in 2009.
The later part of his career he served as Quality Control Manager for Massey Ferguson North America in Canada until his retirement in 1988.
October 6, 1946 he married Sadie F. Tomes of Des Moines, IA. One son, Douglas was born to this union. Following their divorce, he was reunited with his high school sweetheart, Virginia D. Carlson Fleming Matthews and they were married May 31, 1975. Their marriage endured until her passing January 12, 2006.
The following year he returned to the US, settling in the Raleigh area to be close to his son and family.
Lowell is survived by his son Douglas K. Foster (Cynthia) Cary, NC; two step-sons, David E. Matthews (Carol) Muscatine, IA and John R. Matthews Des Moines; four granddaughters, Erin Jordan (Kevin), Amber Foster Smith (Jeremy) both of Holly Springs, NC, Staci Matthews and Megan Matthews, both of Iowa City, IA; four great-grandchildren, Elias Roller, Iowa City, IA, Jacob Foster Smith, Kyson Jordan, Emma Grace Foster Smith all of Holly Springs.
He was preceded in death by his parents, brother Charles E. Foster in 2007 and sister Eleanor J. McGaffin in 2014.
Service & Burial
A memorial service will be held at White Plains United Methodist Church, Cary at 11:30AM on Wednesday June 24th. Lowell and Virginia will be interred at the Oak Hill Cemetery, Corning, Iowa following graveside services including military and Masonic rites at a later date (Friday July 17th at 11am). Memorials may be made to the White Plains United Methodist Church Pastor’s Discretionary Fund.
A pretty good person
These are remarks I shared at Dad's memorial service.
Twenty years ago Dad gave Cindy & I a book. It was called A pretty good person. He said “Doug, when I die that’s how I’d like to be remembered. Not perfect, not as someone who made his mark on the universe, but just as a pretty good person.” The subtitle of the book was How to live life with integrity, gratitude, and courage.
I’d like to share 3 brief memories.
First, one about courage ... My mother was mentally ill for most of my childhood. Dad told a story about the time he committed her after I was born. Behind the wheel of his car and overwhelmed - he prayed for strength. He said a warm glow descended over him - from his head to his feet - and he sensed a voice saying ‘It’s going to be ok.’ I believe - with God’s help - my dad was a very courageous man.
Second, integrity ... When I was really upset during one of my mother’s episodes, I think I used the phrase ‘I hate her.’ Dad said ‘Don’t ever say that. You can dislike a person or what they do, and you can be upset with them, but don’t hate them. Hate will just hurt you.’ I saw him maintain that conviction through some very difficult times. I believe my dad was a man who practiced - and achieved - integrity.
Finally, gratitude ... When I was young and my mother was in the hospital, Dad and I attended a revival service by Billy Graham. At the end was the alter call & we both went down front, knelt, and prayed. Maybe his parents taught him, maybe he learned it through hardship, but I believe my father took nothing for granted. To me he was a man filled with quiet gratitude for God’s blessings on his life.
I believe my dad, Lowell Foster, was a pretty good person.