James Foster, 82

Posted on October 12, 2012

James “Jimmy” Wiecking Foster, who would have been 83 on Oct. 11, passed away on Aug. 9, 2012, after being diagnosed with advanced pancreatic cancer five weeks prior.  
Jimmy was the eldest son of Lawrence (Pete) Foster and Catherine (Katie) Wiecking Foster. 
After graduation from Bluffton High School in 1947, he was drafted into the Army and served in the Korean War.  After his discharge Jimmy earned a degree in English at Indiana University. He eventually made his way out to California where his sister, Sally, was living.  He lived in Venice, Calif. then moved on to San Francisco.  Returning to Los Angeles he worked for Douglas Aircraft. In the early 60s, Jimmy lived in Mexico with a group of friends for a period of time and on that note there are stories to be told, but that’s for another time. On his return his good friend, Eileen Ireland, wife of Bill Ireland who also grew up in Bluffton, encouraged him to enter the Ford Foundation Teaching Fellowship where he received his teaching credential.  Jimmy became an English teacher for the Los Angeles Unified School District, where he taught for the next 25 years. 
In 1975, Jimmy and his son Kevin began making annual trips to Bluffton, where Jimmy eventually bought a home on West Wiley Avenue.  Upon his retirement from LAUSD, he returned to Bluffton and his home on Wiley Avenue.
Jimmy lived life to the fullest, and there are great stories to go along with every chapter of his life.  He was a great storyteller, and fearlessly opinionated … you just hoped you were on the same side of his cause; otherwise a lengthy debate would ensue.  He was a life-long Democrat… and yes, he was all set to vote for Obama.
When Jimmy was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, it was somewhat of a welcomed blessing as he was previously diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease.  He dreaded the thought of having to deal with the disease.
He is survived by his son, Thai of Fort Wayne; his younger brother Steve, who now lives in Arizona; his grandchildren, Maddy, Jaiden, Hanna, and Katie; along with nieces, Alicia, Chrissy and Andrea; and nephews, Michael, Matt, and Patrick. 
He was preceded in death by his son Kevin and his sister, Sally Ann DeSantis-Pagani.
A graveside service will be held Saturday, Oct. 13 at 4 p.m. at Fairview Cemetery.  All are welcome.
Arrangements were handled by the Thoma/Rich, Chaney and Lemler Funeral Home. Online condolences may be made at www.thomarich.com

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