Francis (Frank) John Foster 1926-2018 RIP
Frank Foster RIP
Frank Foster RIP, aged 91, sadly passed away on Sunday 6 May. Dad was such a special man and we want to celebrate his life. A life where a man from very humble beginnings showed us all how to live successful, highly value-driven lives. My mum, Mary, and my siblings, John, Susy and Clare, and our children and their children all honour and thank a most wonderful man for so much. He was a true gentleman whose most favourite treasure was his family. He did everything he could for us.
Dad’s life began during the Depression years and involved some time being in foster-care. He and his two eldest siblings of five were taken from their family for a period. Eventually, they were reunited. Life certainly was tough. Out of this harshness came a unique love. A love that was to permeate over 80 more years to come. Even after this harshness, the most serious reaction dad had was to call someone ‘George’ or tell them to ‘Pull their heads in”. Yet his gentleness was shown when he sometimes told me just before a smacking on the legs or bottom, “This’ll hurt me more than you.” And you could tell it did. He abhorred violence.
Dad was born on 6 December 1926 in Melbourne and died 6 May 2018 in Southport. As his WW2 veteran father had died at the age of 49, much of his upbringing was by his mum, whom he held in very high regard.
Dad did an apprenticeship as a fitter, turner and toolmaker at Bendigo in the Naval armament factory during WW2 and was a key financial support for his family during those years. He then moved to the Snowy Mountain construction. Shortly after that, he moved to Brisbane, Dunwich and then finally Southport. Most of dad’s life was spent as general manager and mining engineer at two Gold Coast sand mining companies, Mineral Deposits and Neuman Equipment. Before this he began his mining life on North Stradbroke, later beginning his own industrial design company, The Foster Group. The name was later sold to the major beer company when the internet and urls came along. Here he patented the tool which makes saucepans.
He and mum lived in the 6 Petersen Ave Southport house for 48 years before moving to a complex at Hope Island where mum resides. At Southport, us kids and friends enjoyed our half-acre backyard where we played footy, cricket, climbed the willow trees and played basketball on a specially made quarter court with backboard, often with dad. We looked forward to our yearly beach holidays at Tugun or Bilinga.
Dad is famous for his 62 overseas business trips, quite rare in his day, along with his professional recognition as a Fellow of the Royal Metallurgical Society of Great Britain; helping to set up the first nippers club on the Gold Coast and then being its inaugural president; and his heavy involvement with junior basketball, as well as having represented Australia himself in the YMCA national team.
Dad was also a very successful surf life saver, being both an Instructor and Examiner while at Greenmount and Bilinga SLSC in the 1950s. He instructed a Junior R&R team to a national runners-up title in Sydney. Forty years ago, I married Karen Eady whose dad was also a champion surf life-saving belt swimmer from Cudgen (Kingscliff) SLSC. Dad used to do the yearly proficiency tests of Tom’s club members.
Two of the most memorable times with dad for me was the time we travelled around the world together, and dad’s last hour on this earth. What a time we had in 1988 traversing the USA, England and Saudi Arabia together. Two particular incidents saw us facing a threatening military. On arrival at Bahrain airport at midnight, the three disembarking passengers were met by at least a dozen semiautomatic armed soldiers surrounding the walls of the room. Dad had his new foot long mobile phone confiscated, because they said it was a walkie-talkie. The next day we had to walk 100m from the dirt carpark to the Saudi Embassy directly towards two guards pointing machine guns at us.
Dad spent his last 2.5 years at Arcare aged care at Hope Island, which he enjoyed. We thank these staff for caring so well for dad.
Dad’s last hour came unexpectedly and was spent with a few close family members Mum, Susy, Karen, Simonne and me. We prayed aloud the only formal prayer dad knew, the Our Father. We joined hands, with Monnie and I touching dad in a full linkage. The prayer was said three times. After praying it, dad opened his eyes and smiled. He was very aware of what was happening. Thirty minutes later dad had joined God.
Dad received excellent care during those last three weeks in the hospital.
Just as one life ends, another begins. Our son Andrew and his wife Shannon have their first born due in a couple of weeks in Canada.
We love you so much, Dad, Pa, Great Pa, Friend. Frank Foster RIP. Rest in peace.
Image and text © Copyright 2018 Bryan W Foster