Obituary of Bela Foster

The Obituary of Bela Foster

The Roberts Herald
January 1939

Bela Foster

Bela Foster, son of Eliab and Martha J. (Clark) Foster, was born at Salem, Wisconsin, July 6, 1861, and died at his home in Roberts, Illinois, at 3:00 p.m. Wednesday, January 4th, 1939, aged 77 years, 5 months and 28 days. His death came as a surprise and shock to the community as he was not known to be seriously ill. He had been slightly ailing with coronary thrombosis but this was not considered to be serious so that his death came very unexpectedly.

Mr. Foster came with his parents to Illinois when he was four years old. They settled on the prairie in section two northeast of where Roberts was later located. At that time Lyman Township had not yet been organized. The railway through here had not been built. Roberts and Thawville only to come in the future history. Settlers were few. He lived through the trying times of the pioneers. He remained on the farm for 25 years. In the mean time he attended the public schools of his district and took a teacherís course in one of the early normal schools. He then taught school until 1903. For a time he was principal of the Roberts school.

Many of the middle aged and even the older people of this community, and a much larger number who have moved to other homes in other communities and other states were on the rolls as pupils of Bela Foster. And all those former pupils always held him in high esteem. In his school work as in the actions of his whole life he always was just and kind. If erred inustice it was because of kindnesses. He was one of the most conscientious men in the whole community. For him the greatest pleasure of life was in helping the needy or doing some kind act for some one else whether more needy than himself or not.

In 1903 Mr. Foster was appointed to the position of rural mail carrier of Route No. 2 out of Roberts. This postion he held for 23 years making his last trip on the 30th day of Jul, 1926.

On the 14th day of September, 1904, he married Miss Christina A. MacKay of Chicago, who survives him. He is also survived by one brother P. J. Foster of Roberts, three sisters, Miss Leda Foster of Roberts, Mrs. Angeline Haling of Thawville and Mrs. Frances Ruedger of carson City, Michigan, several nephews and nieces and many other relatives and a host of friends who jon the family in sorrow.

In his early life Mr. Foster united with the Congregational Church in Thawville. In 1891 when the family moved to Roberts he transferred his membership to the church here and during the almost half a century since that time he has been ever active in the work of the church. He was loyal in attendance and he was always willing to do his whole part in furthering the success of every Christian undertaking. He held the position of Sunday School Superintendent for some time and was a deacon in the church for many years. Besides his work in church and school he held several important public offices. He was village clerk for a number of years and also served as clerk of Lyman Township. He never tried to make himself conspicuous but ever tried to bring happiness to others while keeping himself in the background. He was a lover of flowers and raised beautiful ones in his flower garden, enjoyed taking or sending them to the sick.

The funeral services were held at the Congregational Church in Roberts Friday, January 6th, at 2:00 pm Rev. J.H. Harper officiating. Burial was in Lyman cemetery. The music was by G. S. Bryant, Mrs. Marie Bertram, C.E. VanNice and Mrs. C. E. VanNice, accompanied by Mrs. Mildred Hunt.

The pall bearers were George D. Engisn, Adam Anderston, C. W. Kennedy, John Kristofferson, Frank L. Mosher and Louis Yackee. the flower bearers were: Miss Marian Anderson, Miss Lila Woodruff, Mrs. D. E. Woolsoncrosft, Mrs. H. L. Whorrall. Mrs. John Kristofferson and Mrs. Darrell Hall.

Relatives and friends from a distance who attended the funeral included Mrs. Helen Haight, Toronto, Canada; Miss Rosalind MacKay, Pittsburg, Pennsylvania; E.S. MacKay and son Ted and daughter Mrs. Erica Swanson and Mr. And Mrs. F. B. Gebhardt of Chicago; Mr. And Mrs. R.L. Ruedger of Carson City, Michigan; Mr. and Mrs. Clark Ruedger, Frederick Blome; Mrs. Lloyd Borden, Sheboygan, Wisconsin; Dr. and Mrs. F.M. Blome and daughter Louise , Kenney; Mr. And Mrs. Merna Pruit, Mrs. Sarah Roberts, Mrs. Minnie Funk, and Robert Hawthorne of Champaign; Mrs. Hilda VandeWater and Leon of Eureka; Mrs. Perry LaBounty of Bloomington; Mr. And Mrs. Dewayne Lake of Chebanse; Dr. and Mrs. R.E.Squires; Mrs. John Boyle, Miss Anna B. Wilson, Mrs. Elizabeth Jennings, Mrs. Clair Bishop, Mr. And Mrs. Brown of Piper City; Mr. And Mrs. George Haling and daughters Mrs. Elmer Dindgledine and Mrs. Edna Stanley and Mrs. Iva Cramer of Peoria. Mr. And Mrs. Robert Adamson and Mr. And Mrs. Peter Anderson of Paxton; Mr. And Mrs. Willard Kenward and Forrest Thompson of Melvin; Mrs. Angeline Haling, Mr. And Mrs. Russell Frazee, Mr. And Mrs. George Wallis, Harry Kenward, Mrs and Mrs. William Havens, Mr. And Mrs. John Woodward and James Goodrich of Thawville; Mr. And Mrs. L. C. Ringeisen, Gibson City; Mr. Lindelhof of Sibley;Mrs. And Mrs. George Lee of Strawn; Mrs. George Smith and Mrs. Al Smith of Onarga. It is probably that there were several from nearby towns who are unintentinally omittd from this list.



The grim messenger of Death has again invaded our camp and removed from us our esteemed Friend and Neighbor, Bela Foster, honored and respected by all privileged to know and to associate with him in daily life.

Therefore Resolved

that we deeply depolre his passing and realize the great loss sustained by our Camp of a wrothy member and friend and the entire community mourns the passing of an honorable, upright and respected citizen whose life and conduct has been exemplary during his many years with us and with shom honesty, integrity and upright and virtuous life were his cardinal and guiding prinicples and which remain a priceless heritage to his loved ones.


That as neighbors we extend our sincere and heartfelt sympathy to the family of the dearted Neighborin this time of sorrow and bereavement, but we know they will find comfort and hope in the consolation of the Christian religion and an abiding faith in the Divine Power who has promised to be a very present help in trouble.

That our charter be draped for a period of thirty days as a token of respect, a copy o these resolutions sent tothe widow of our departed Neighbor and a copy furnished to the Roberts Herald for publication, a copy also being spread upon the minutes of the camp.

C. W. Kennedy
Justin Tarvin
W.O. Sanders

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