The Rev. Elizabeth “Betty” Ann Foster died on March 3, 2018 at the age of 74.
Betty was born on March 25, 1943 in Tarrytown, NY to James G. and Elizabeth M. (Heeney) Calyer. In 1965 she earned a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Northeastern University. There Betty met her husband Robert W. Foster and they had three children together: John, Heather, and Robert. Betty then earned a Master of Arts in Far East Studies from the University of Michigan in 1967 and she worked for many years as a teacher and a childbirth educator. After discerning her call to ministry, Betty earned her Master of Divinity from Harvard Divinity School in 1987.
Rev. Foster was ordained on June 14, 1987 by the First Religious Society in Carlisle, MA. She was pursuing a doctorate in pastoral psychology from Andover Newton Theological School when she suffered a severe stroke. Despite strenuous efforts at physical and speech therapy, she was not to walk again, and she regained only a little of her ability to speak. But Betty’s intellect and passion remained, and in 1998 she began serving as Ministerial Associate at the UU Congregation in Milford, NH. Rev. Foster contributed to worship services and other celebrations, and she wrote many reflections and meditations. When Rev. Foster moved to Maine in 2013 after the death of her husband, UUCM honored her as their Ministerial Associate Emerita.
In their tribute to Betty’s life, her family wrote:
Betty will be remembered as an inspirational, supportive, caring, and fun-loving individual; someone who taught you to slow down and enjoy life. She loved to throw a dinner party, spoil her grandkids and cheer on the Patriots and Red Sox. She would feed you even if you weren't hungry . . . Inspired by Dr. Who, she tested the limits of space and time by filling her refrigerator with more than it could ever possibly hold.
And Rev. Karen Foley offered this fond remembrance of Betty:
Betty and I were at Harvard Divinity School together and spent many lunch hours in conversation about what we were learning, about being students in our forties, the impacts on our families, and our hopes for our ministries. I recall her telling me how the spiritual impact of her work in childbirth coaching led her into ministry. She later refused to be incapacitated by her stroke and purposefully went forward doing and being all she could do and be. She kept growing, kept learning, kept offering ministry all about her, whether in a church setting or her daily life. She told me, about how she kept going forward and expanding her life, "It's all spiritual." It was and is. I'm blessed to have known Betty.
Betty is survived by her children John Foster (Linda Jones), Heather Owens (Eddie), and Robert Foster; her grandchildren Padraic, Aidan, and Emma Owens; her sisters Jeanne Mancinelli and Virginia Calyer; and her many nieces, nephews, and countless friends. She was predeceased by her husband Robert W. Foster and her brother James G. Calyer.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Gorham House Activity Fund, 50 New Portland Rd, Gorham, ME 04038.
A memorial service was held on March 19, 2018 at the Gorham House, 50 New Portland Rd, Gorham, ME 04038. Later in the spring, a celebration of Betty’s life will also be held at UUCM, 20 Elm St, Milford, NH 03055.
Notes of condolence may be shared online at: http://www.dolbyblaissegee.com/obituaries/Elizabeth-Foster-5/