PP Frederick William (Bill) Foster
April, 1939 - February 16, 2008


Frederick William (Bill) Foster was invited to join the Rotary Club of Richmond in 1968 at the young adult age of 29 years. He accepted and brought with him his wife J0-Ann and the onset of their family Geoffrey and Virginia and as to be expected- later on their grandchildren Paige and Dylan.
At that time, the Club was also in its infancy being a mere six years old and so having sworn to uphold the tenets and principles of Rotary International everyone set out to pursue and stay focused on Rotary's vision for a better world ever mindful of its Motto: "Service ABOVE self" - the second key word being "Above".
Bill was certainly the epitome of that Mission Statement after all he dedicated 40 years in living up to it. It was a time when children were a large part of the Rotary world as well they should be, a time when fund raisers to achieve our goals were hands on projects, when we built things be they park benches, playgrounds for kids, mending fences for our senior citizens, revamping abandoned chassis into award winning parade floats from Vancouver to Seattle. Projects were Team spirited, no one-man shows- they had to be 100% approved by the membership or they weren't done, so morale was high and unity was a foregone conclusion. Bill and his family were an integral part of those Rotary days. Bill was one of the early pioneers in our Club and thankfully we still have a few of them left that are still role models.
Following his retirement from the Insurance world, Bill was able to devote even more time to Rotary and in 1998-1999 he served as our Club's 37th President. Some of us may have wondered whether with his low keyed gentle and soft spoken manner he could take on a rambunctious Club as we were in those days for we were well known - and feared - throughout the entire District as our fraternal visits often resulted in a sharp reduction of the assets of any host Club. We soon discovered that our concerns were unfounded, for Bill was truly a very effective leader - and quite a subtle trouble maker too during some of those unsuspecting visits.
I recall our trip to the Charter night of the Rotary Club of Whistler. Following the Charter festivities, we grabbed some of the club's new paraphernalia as was our unique custom and we were trying to open the trunk of the car with our arms full of stuff when one of the new club's members walked by and offered to help us. So, being the gentlemen that we were, we gave him keys, he opened the trunk, we stuffed the things in and thanked him. Two weeks later he was in Richmond to pay for and retrieve the items. They never forgot us.
In his later years Bill joined the Richmond Chapter of the World Fellowship of Rotarian Gourmets. I have never seen anything that he has cooked, but I do know that he was always the first to say "I'll bring the wine"! Wine was a secret passion of his and he usually displayed his knowledge and flair for this addiction during our annual wine tasting field trips, whenever we visited our Penticton International Gourmets Chapter - affectionately known as the PIGs.
 As mentioned above, Bill was so quiet and reserved that sometimes we tended to forget that he was even in attendance at a meeting. This trait however proved very much to his advantage, when in the past year or so he served as our Sgt at Arms right up until his illness forced him to curtail his attendance at meetings. Bill would quietly float around the tables and you would suddenly become aware of some muttering behind you (even worse for the hearing impaired who refuse to wear their hearing aids) and you would then realize that it was SGT Bill trying to extricate a few dollars from your pockets.
Bill devoted nearly 60% of his life to Rotary and when you spend that much time in any organization be it vocational of community oriented you inevitably experience two sides of the proverbial coin. In our last precious visits together Bill often shared his thoughts about Rotary in general and our club in particular.
While it is inconceivable to go into the details about these musings, it would probably be better for him to summarise them for you himself since being the low key slow moving individual that he was, I am quite sure that if you were to keep perfectly still and listen carefully as he wafts his way in and amongst you, you will hear him giving you the answer. Now since I am probably one of few in this room with hearing aids and I can turn mine up, I will paraphrase for you: Are you ready Bill?
"As I float around this room with which I am quite familiar, I notice that some of my old Rotary cohorts are not present and I am sure that if they could, they would be here. So please give a call and pay a visit to my old friends - PDG Cory who you may not know entered hospital today for his heart bypass surgery, as well as PP Jim who has just survived 10 days in hospital for pneumonia. I always liked that salty old sea dog! He never minced words whenever we tended to go off track. And don't forget the oldest member in the club PDG Chuck who by his regular presence at your meetings continues to tacitly show how much he still loves Rotary and that he cares very much about what happens to your Club.
These are just a few of your surviving old leaders. Try to recall their subtle teachings and pass them on to those new and still innocent members of the club before they get disheartened. Show the old and your new members that you care for them first, before you can begin to care about those in the outside world for whom you have pledged to make this world a better place.
Nurture your new inductees - do not leave them in the wilderness to fend for themselves. Teach them to live by the rules just as I was taught. These rules were made for a purpose and they worked for me and for Rotary for 100 years so they can work for you even if you have to revise them from time to time. Care for your old and new members and they will care for you when the time comes as it did for me. Who just said WHY Care?"
(Bill this is the first time I have heard you raise your voice!)
"I'll tell you why!"
"It is the human touch in the world that counts
The touch of your hand in mine
That means far more to the troubled heart
Than shelter or bread or wine
For shelter is gone when the night are o'er
And food lasts only a day
But the touch of the hand and the sound of the voice
Will live in the soul always"
Thanks Bill for allowing us to be part of your life and may you now Rest in Peace. .... Don't forget to take the wine!......

- by PP Wilbur Walrond