Robert Mitchell Foster

September 8, 1927 - June 17, 2022
Robert Mitchell Foster

On June 17, 2022, Robert Mitchell Foster left the loving embrace of his family and rests in Eternal Peace.

Bob was born September 8, 1927 to Helen Geneva Van Hoozer and Ora Ellis Foster, in Kansas City, Missouri. With his parents and older sister, Martha Lee, Bob moved to the Washington, DC area in 1940. In 1945 he completed High School at Maryland Park and entered the United States Army. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Maryland, College Park, in 1951 and in 1961 he earned his Masters degree from George Washington University in Education studies. Bob met the love of his life, Aletha Pauline Bonnette, at a High Point High School Teachers Welcome Picnic. The two of them knew immediately that they were meant to be together for their rest of their lives and married on December 22, 1956. While living in Clarksville, Maryland, Bob and Aletha were blessed with four children, William Ellis, Candace Ann, Richard Lee, and Patricia Mae.

Bob started his teaching career at Hyattsville Junior High and went on to teach and coach athletics at several high schools in Prince Georges and Montgomery Counties, including Northwestern, High Point, Northwood, Bethesda-Chevy Chase, and Paint Branch. Bob coached high school football and basketball, football at Western Maryland University, and basketball at American University. Bob was a dedicated teacher, mentor and coach, helping to encourage and motivate so many young people and instilling values that promoted many successful lives. Bob served as President of the Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association (1976-1978) and founded and organized the Maryland State Athletic Directors Association (1977). He received the Athletic Director of the Year award in 1978 and was inducted into the Maryland State Athletic Directors Association Hall of Fame in 1981 and the Paint Branch High School Athletic Hall of Fame in 2018. His love of sports was a constant passion throughout his life, and he was an unwavering fan of the New York Yankees. Even after retiring to Wilmington, North Carolina, he continued to volunteer as an assistant coach at the Topsail High School in Hampstead. He joined the Wilmington Senior Softball Association and the Senior Men’s Club and the Belvedere Golf Club.

Bob believed in community service and responsible citizenship. He was a Charter member of the Clarksville Lions Club and helped organize fund raisers and community service activities. He and the family were members of Mount Zion United Methodist Church, and then, after moving to North Carolina, Bob and Aletha were active members of Wesleyan Chapel United Methodist Church in Scotts Hill. He coached and played on the church and community softball teams, and he and his family spent many summer nights and weekends at the ball field. Patriotism was a value he modeled every day, and the family fondly remembers his Independence Day celebrations with friends and neighbors at annual traditional barbeque and fireworks (with the Clarksville fire department nearby).

Bob’s family grew to include his children, their spouses and families: Bill Foster, Candace and Gary Cederman, Richard and Sherry Foster, and Tricia and Coleman Bazelon. He was blessed with ten grandchildren – Rafael, Sofia, and Peter Foster; Stephen and Michael Howell; Nick Cameron, Preston and Danielle Foster; and Rymahri and Dane Bazelon. Bob’s family continued to grow with the addition of a great grandchild, Danigael Tchipandi and one on the way, Bobbie Howell. Bob was also close to his sister’s two daughters, Martha Sue and Jo Marie Preston. He was predeceased by his parents, his sister and her husband, and grandson Nick.

A Memorial Service will be held for Bob on Monday, June 27, 2022 at Wesleyan Chapel United Methodist Church at 3:00pm. All are welcome to attend.

Please leave memories and condolences to Robert’s family by posting to the Tribute Wall below.

Services in care of Wilmington Funeral & Cremation – Wilmington Chapel – 1535 S. 41st Street Wilmington, NC 28403 910.791.9099.

Memorial Service

Monday, June 27, 2022
3:00 PM

Wesleyan Chapel United Methodist Church - Directions
10255 US-17
Wilmington, North Carolina 28411
(910) 686-4041

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  • October 10, 2022
    Phillip R Taylor says:
    When one meets Greatness in ones life.It is NEVER forgotten.Im was blessed with Great fortune to have had Mr Foster in my life as A student.Thank you Mr Foster with Love and Appreciation you will Never be Forgotten...Phillip (Tay-Tay)Taylor

  • September 30, 2022
    Sheila and Ken Grotzky and family says:
    He was a favorite of all my sons, and of mine. Sorry we could not be there for the service, but know how fondly we will remember him.

  • June 30, 2022
    Carl Brian says:
    Rest In Peace Coach. A fine man, good friend and a heck of a good coach. There are a lot of good players from old Mt .Zion just enjoying your coaching skills!!! Carl & Barb Brian

  • June 27, 2022
    Frank Gilbert says:
    I just feel so fortunate to have come in contact with such an impressive person at such an important time in my life.

  • June 27, 2022
    Stu Nibley says:
    I was a sophomore at BCC high school in 1969 as a JV basketball player trying to make my way onto a very talented varsiy team (State runner-ups the next year). Coach Foster had decided to leave the school, so I would never have the chance to play for him. However, on one of his last days at the school, he saw me in the hallway and called out: "Stu! I have been watching you a lot this year. You are going to be a great player. I had big plans for you next year. Keep developing the way you are. Best of luck. I will check in on you." He didn't have to go out of his way to give me this most helpful encouragement -- but he did, and I did indeed have a rewarding career at BCC. Coach Foster's few kind words told me that someone had noticed and the hours of drilling, or studying in the library, were worth the effort. I coached many basketball teams myself later, and always tried to emulate Coach Foster, and other coaches who rely upon positive, rather than negative, words and vehicles to motivate. A great person, not just a great coach.