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Tom Ogden Foster
07/11/1931 — 01/11/2020
From Kennewick, WA | Born in Rush Springs, OK
Tom Ogden Foster
Beloved husband, father, grandfather, uncle, brother-in-law, friend, and neighbor
July 11, 1931 – January 11, 2020
Tom Ogden Foster was born in Rush Springs, Oklahoma on July 11, 1931 to Augusta May Arthur Harrison Foster (Gussie) and Joseph Marion Foster (Joe). Tom grew up in Eunice and Hobbs, New Mexico, and Odessa, Texas and passed away on January 11, 2020 at his home in Kennewick, Washington.
Tom was inducted into the Army in August 1951. While in the army, he stood as Honor Guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and was part of the Pennsylvania Avenue Honor Guard during President Eisenhower’s inauguration. Tom received an honorable discharge from the Army in October 1953.
After his discharge in 1956, Tom moved to Fresno, California where, on a blind date, he met Martha Jo Denniston; 4 months later Tom and Jo married. Tom and Jo Foster had 3 children: Donna Louise, Gerald Leon (Gerry) and Nancy Alicia.
Following the birth of their first daughter, Tom returned to college, where he earned a BS in Mechanical Engineering from Texas Tech in 1957. From there, Tom and Jo moved back to central California, where their other children, Gerry and Alicia, were born. Tom worked for AeroJet as an engineer in Sacramento, California until 1963. In 1963, Tom and his family moved to Richland, Washington where Tom took a job on the Hanford Nuclear Reservation. In 1966, while continuing to work at Hanford, Tom purchased a 180-acre farm located six miles south of Basin City, Washington. The farm had irrigation, but no on-property well or house. Tom and Jo bought an old house in Pasco that was built in the early 1900s, then moved it to the farm. Every week they drove a truck two miles to Jo’s parents’ house and filled a 500-gallon tank with water which the family used for the coming week. Eventually, Tom and Jo saved enough to sink a well, making the weekly trip for water unnecessary. Over the years, Tom farmed in the early mornings, late evenings and weekends and also drove many miles from Basin City to work at either the Hanford Site (120 miles round trip) or Lamb Weston (30 miles each way) in Connell. Tom’s running joke was that Jo taught elementary school to subsidize the farm. Eventually, Tom quit working outside jobs and was able to farm full time. When Tom retired from farming, he opened a small machine shop near the house and manufactured items for local farmers. What Tom needed and could not purchase, he built or invented. In 2018, Tom and Jo sold the remaining few acres of their farm and moved into Kennewick.
Tom loved music and, during his lifetime, taught himself to play the mandolin and guitar and was teaching himself the violin and banjo.
Tom is predeceased by his parents (Gussie and Joe Foster), his sister (Nan Haggar) and his son (Gerry Foster).
Tom is survived by Jo (his wife of 63 ½ years), two daughters (Donna Collins and Alicia Lee), a daughter-in-law (Lisa Foster), two sons-in-law (Dan Collins and Kent Lee, five granddaughters (Alisha Kolvalchuk, Katie Foster, Dana Collins, Briana Collins, and Valerie Collins), three grandsons (Joe Foster, Christopher Lee, and Tony Lee), one grandson-in-law (Nathan Kolvalchuk) and two great-granddaughters (Amelia Foster and Layla Kolvalchuk).
Tom’s memorial service will be held at 1 p.m. on Saturday, January 18, at Hillview Baptist Church (1621 W 27th Ave, Kennewick, WA 99337).
Because of severe allergies in the family, we ask that you hug your loved ones instead of sending flowers. Donations may also be made in Tom’s name to the Northwest Parkinson’s Foundation (https://nwpf.org/ Donation site: https://interland3.donorperfect.net/weblink/WebLink.aspx?name=E11576&id=8).