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Robert “Bob” Sterling Foster
April 10, 1935 - July 9, 2022
It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Bob Foster, husband, father, grandfather, brother, uncle, and friend. He passed away in the late evening of July 9, 2022 after a short battle with cancer.
Bob was born on April 10, 1935 in Edmonton, Alberta, the second child born to Robert and Olive Foster. At the time, Bob’s father was a sales manager in the oilfield but, in the years that followed, the family purchased a farm north of Sangudo, Alberta. Bob started school in a one room schoolhouse in the Glenister district. Tragedy struck the family when Bob’s younger brother, Sherman, was trampled to death by a team of horses. After the accident, Olive said the family needed to move so they moved to north Vancouver where Bob’s dad purchased a grocery store. Another tragedy struck when Olive took her own life when Bob was 15 years old. This was, obviously, a terrible blow to the family.
At the age of 16, Bob left home and joined the Canadian Military. He lied about his age as he was convinced he would not get permission from his father to go. He reported no one questioned his application because he was such a big guy. Bob finished his grade 10, 11 and part of his grade 12 by correspondence while in the military. He stated after that anything else he learned he taught himself. He served in the military for about 5 years, training in Canada before being deployed to Korea in December of 1951. He was in Korea for about a year, returned home to Canada, and then was deployed to Europe for two years, starting in 1953.
The majority of the family would stay in the Vancouver area for the remainder of their lives, but not Bob. After leaving the military, he moved up to the Yukon to work in the Cassiar Asbestos mines in the lab, in the mine, and operated the bagging machine. He also worked on the Northwest Highway System maintaining the Alaska Highway. At the time the only pavement was between Dawson Creek and Fort St. John, the rest was gravel. After his time in the north, he moved down to Edmonton to work at a chicken packaging facility for a year, and then spent many years working in the oilfield on service and drilling rigs. After many years of working through many parts of the north and Alberta, Bob went back to the family farm north of Sangudo and farmed for 3 years. When Bob’s father Robert passed away, the land Bob was farming was sold by the estate, so Bob began hauling water and gravel in the Sangudo area.
Bob met Jean Hall on the dance floor at the Meadowview Hall, and they left the community together to go to Calgary in November of 1971 with two of the four of Jean’s children, the twins Sheila and Shelley. The two older children, Peter and Angie, would go to live with them in June of 1972 when their school year was complete. In August of 1973, Bob and Jean welcomed a daughter, Reva, completing their family of seven.
After buying inventory from an Indian Motorcycle dealer in Winnipeg, Bob opened Foothills Motorcycle in Calgary. Two years later in 1978, Bob was offered a Harley Davidson dealership in Red Deer, so the business moved north. The upper floor of the building which housed the Harely Davidson franchise became HD Supply, a wholesale parts business. The family moved to an acreage outside of Ponoka where the kids were happy to have pets and room to ride their motorcycles.
Some years later, the interest rates skyrocketed to 24% and the business went into receivership. Bob auctioned off all the motorcycle business as instructed to by the bank. The Foothills Motorcycle building was rented to Red Deer Cycle Salvage, and Jean kept her store, U-Bet-Cha Video, in part of the storefront. When Red Deer Cycle Salvage closed, Bob and Jean sold the video store. By then, Bob had purchased a Motorcycle Frame Shop. This decision, in his own admission, was a huge mistake, so before getting out of that business, Bob opened Central Sharpening. Bob moved Central Sharpening to the shop on the home acreage when he left the Frame shop. Many years later, he sold Central Sharpening and the family acreage to his son, Peter.
Traveling and exploring the world were very important to Bob and Jean. They took the family and drove to Mexico and back 3 times while the kids were growing up, stopping at many places along the way, of course Disneyland was the highlight. Despite money being tight, Bob made sure all 5 children were able to go on high school trips to Europe, and took their three eldest grandchildren to Disneyland, trips they have never forgotten. Bob and Jean went on many trips including to Hawaii, cruises and vacations in the Caribbean and Alaska, and road trips through parts of the USA. In their golden years, they spent the winters in sunny Costa Rica, where they met people who would become family. Bob and Jean were able to bring one of their Costa Rican friends' daughter, Maria, to Canada for an education in English, an opportunity not afforded to her in Costa Rica.
Bob loved being a grandfather and great-grandfather. He gave all the kids a special nickname and would sometimes forget their actual name. He loved to tease, tickle and scribble on feet with a pen, which he always had in his shirt pocket. He recalled with joy being able to watch the kids swim in the pool at the acreage in Ponoka and drive the golf cart around and around the driveway at the acreage at Pigeon Lake. Fond memories of Bob flipping pancakes on Sunday mornings for our weekly family gatherings are treasured by all.
In his last days, Bob reflected on what a wonderful life he had and was so grateful to be surrounded by a family he was so proud of. He was generous and kind, and his love for those around him he held dear was deep.
Bob will be sadly missed his children Peter (Chris) Hall, Angie Hall, Sheila (Jeff) Lanz, Shelley (Kevin) Kulak, Reva (Randy) Von Bieker; his grandchildren Blaine, Amber (Steven), Chaelyn (Daniel), Mathew (Daphne), Chaison, Garrett, Madison (Garreth), Justin (Kelcie), Maria Laura, Chyanna, Cassandra, Conner; great grandchildren Ellie, Lily, Lucia, Declan, Willow, and Addilyn; brother Doug Foster, and many nieces and nephews.
Bob was predeceased by his loving wife, Jean; his parents, Robert and Olive Foster, his brothers Sherman and Jack Foster, sister Verly, and sisters-in-laws Marg and Dorise.
To honor his final wishes, the family will have a private family gathering to celebrate his life at a future date.