• Robin Foster

I Found My Granddaddy's Obituary: James Foster (1897-1962)

Updated: Jul 27

UPDATE: This is actually the Death Notice, according to Dennis Lohr on LinkedIn. So, actually I could find the obituary which has a lot more information. I will let you know as I keep looking!


Let this be a lesson to those who have searched for years for information on ancestors and have not found what they were looking for. It does not matter how long it takes. Do not ever give up. I have made some great discoveries on my maternal side, but I have come up with a lot of dead ends on my dad's side. This week after a long, long time, I found my grandfather's death notice:

It has the whole family and where each was living. I found this obituary on Newspaper.com. I had to purchase an additional subscription for $19.90 to be able to see this obituary.


Family Members


At Funeral: Robert Foster, Hattie, Roy B. Foster, Bobby Foster, Willie, Larry Foster, Ruby Foster Jackson, O. D. Foster, Willie Foster, James Foster


The Sacramento Bee of Sacramento, California was the newspaper that published the obituary. I wonder who submitted this obituary. My grandmother, Ora Foster, was living in Cleveland, Ohio. Living in Cleveland at the time was their children, Robert, Curtis, Bobby, my dad, Margaret, and Larry Foster.


In Chicago, lived Walter and Willie Foster. Roy, James, Jr, and O. D. lived in Memphis, Tennessee at the time. Ruby Foster Jackson lived in Nashville, Tennessee.


James Foster's sisters were also mentioned: Hattie Wright, Willie Mae Green, and Johnnie Mae Johnson. Twenty-two grandchildren and six great grandchildren were mentioned. Won't it be fun to decipher those? My father was not yet married, so I was not even thought of. I will need to follow up on the church, Macedonia Baptist Church in Del Paso Heights, and seek out the cemetery, Sunset Lawn.


I have traced James Foster, Sr. in his early life from Mississippi to Memphis, Tennessee, but this was the last place he could be found. He was a traveling carpenter who worked for a carpenter's union. That's why his story is so important to me. My father graduated with a Bachelor's of Science later that year after his dad's funeral.


My Dad's Degree: Robert Foster, 5 August 1962, Bachelor of Science, Central State University.


My father, Bobby, left his government job to build houses for a living, and he was good at what he did. He became a builder. That's how good he was. He took after his father.


My Life


I loved my dad. I loved my grandma, Ora. I knew her. I loved my grandfather, James Foster, Sr. I did not know him in this life. I came to know him through watching my dad, and what he told me about him. I used to wish I could have been a boy so that I could do the same things that my dad went to work and did. I tried, but he would not have allowed me to back then. Girls were not builders. How times have changed.


I thought I settled for something less, but now I know I am doing the best thing. Genealogy. I can take the best of what I learned from my dad, and apply it to what I do. He was a very smart man. He came from greatness. I know his father is proud of him.

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