The words Lake Stevens and Vern Foster seem to be synonymous, especially for those in the business world here in this small town community.
Vern Foster passed away on Friday, July 5 with his family by his side after a short battle with cancer.
The Fosters have been a part of the Lake Stevens community for decades; Vern grew up here and graduated from Lake Stevens High School in 1978. He and his wife Donna, have been married since 1983.
Foster has been running the family business, Foster Press, since 1987, which continues to be the city’s “go to” printing place. The family will continue to run the business as Vern has for years, by being fair, knowledgeable and kind.
Foster loved music and one of his favorite hobbies was photography. He could sing, play the steel guitar and the banjo. He also had a love of God and shared his talents with his church congregation at Lake Stevens Assembly of God where he once served as a youth pastor and choir director.
Foster’s Facebook page is filled with comments from friends who have been touched by his soft-spoken words and his Christ filled heart. Many of them remember him as a mentor and friend, an amazing man and someone they could always look to for help in any situation.
Foster was also a huge part of Aquafest each year. He and his family have served on the Aquafest board, made all of the t-shirts, trophies, volunteer gifts and anything else Aquafest needed.
“One of my very favorite memories of Vern is when he participated in the Huggable Hunk contest for Aquafest,” Tracy Anderson Vincent said. “When it came time for the Bathing Suit portion—all we saw was a very quick moving Vern holding a large sign in front of himself as he traveled across the stage.”
Close friend Don Speirs, remembers Friday morning breakfasts at Lake Stevens’ Buzz Inn with Foster and friends.
“In 2008, my friend Vern started a tradition of a Friday morning Men’s Breakfast Table at the Buzz Inn. This was a place for friends of all stripes and persuasions to share a nosh and try to figure out ways to solve the issues of the world, or at least how to make it a little better place,” Speirs said. “I don’t think we ever really accomplished anything big there, but I know we all walked away from there feeling a little better about the day, and our community.”
Speirs met Foster there just a few short weeks ago, even though he wasn’t feeling well. Speirs has never doubted what their friendship meant to Foster.
“Whenever I returned to visit from Florida, attending the Friday morning meeting was a mandatory order from Vern, not to be ignored. And I know it was important enough to Vern that when I visited just last month, he came out to join me there on June 20, despite already being so very ill,” Speirs recalls. “What neither of us knew at the time was it was the last we’d ever see of each other. I’d like to remember him that way, laughing and telling pirate jokes around the breakfast table.”
American Legion Post 181 Past-Commander Tom Thorleifson said, “An amazing man. The kind we need to have around for a long time. I feel great sadness that such a person was taken from us way too soon.”
Dennis Kaiser, a fellow Rotarian and longtime friend of Foster remembers him as always being willing to step up and help out where needed.
“I never met a kinder soul who worried about his neighbors like they were his own family,” Kaiser said. “Vern you are a man among men with unshakeable faith, undeniable integrity and selfless humility. I am proud to call you a friend and have been blessed to know you the past 13 years. Thanks for always volunteering when others did not. You truly embody, ‘Service Above Self’.”
Friends of the family have set-up a fundraiser website to help the family with medical costs. You can go to www.fundrazr.com and then go to the “search” box and type in Vern Foster. You can then click on his picture to donate.
There will also be a booth at Aquafest where friend, Tracy Anderson Vincent will be selling bracelets to raise money for the Fosters. Ask at the info booth for directions.
Foster’s Memorial Service will be held this Saturday, July 13, at the Assembly of God Church near Sunnycrest Elementary at 1 p.m. The address is 9805 31st Pl. NE, Lake Stevens.
More photos of Foster can be found on our website at www.lakestevensjournal.com and his obituary can be found below.