Foster Sullivan was many things to many people - husband, father, grandfather, brother, friend, colleague, mentor - but to everyone he met, he was a master storyteller. No matter how many times we heard his stories, we all laughed time and again - him hardest of all. We would like to invite you to share your funniest Foster stories with us, as we keep the laughter we love alive in our hearts.
When I was a kid, I desperately wanted to learn how to dive perfectly into the pool the way Papa could. One summer, I spent days in the backyard at 21 Whistlerhill jumping off the side and bellyflopping over and over again, trying to get it right. Papa stood next to me one afternoon - no bathing suit, fully clothed - giving directions and trying to demonstrate the technique on land, but it wasn't working. Finally fed up, he handed me his glasses, said "Watch this," and launched into a perfect dive off the side of the pool. Fully dressed in work clothes, shoes on, wallet in his pocket, and he didn't even hesitate. It was hilarious, it was awesome, and I'm a pretty good diver now :)
Uncle Foster was a legend in his own time. Not just the patriarch but the beating heart and soul of our family, as well as fabled Paul Bunyan of the hospitality industry - his exploits were nearly mythical. No one loomed larger in my life; I've always walked a little bit taller just by association.
He was the funniest, the most interesting, and most interested man I knew. I've known no greater joy than to sit at his table or in the living room of 21 Whistlerhill Lane and listen, enraptured while he held court. It didn't matter that he repeated many stories many times over. No matter how familiar the narrative, we all listened with unwavering attention to every story, every time. He was THAT good.
He taught me to "Never let a small thing like detail or the truth get in the way of a good story. More than a few times he would tell me my own stories back to me but with Foster replacing me as the narrator. I didn't dare interrupt because I simply couldn't wait to hear how it ended!
There are so many stories, too many to pick just one and many too risqué to share here. The truth is the best way to talk about the world's greatest storyteller is to actually TELL his stories. I look forward to doing just that with all of you who loved him too.
I remember watching him dance to "Shout" at Rob and my wedding. He was up in the air, all the way to the ground and everywhere in between. When it was over he was covered in sweat and smiling that big smile of his. It reminds me that he did everything BIG and with an amazing enthusiasm. Even the small things. I also learned from him how big the world was, and that if you worked hard you could find your place in it. So grateful we had him to blaze the trail.
Thank you Foster for loving my sister Kit like your own daughter. The peace and love she received since high school has been tremendous. You supported and adored Kit through the years. I envy the special bond she has with you and Debbie. You always welcomed me into your beautiful home and genuinely included me in so many special occasions. You were a force and presence that will forever be missed. I will miss your smile and chuckle the most! Thank you for the unconditional love you gave to all!
My offering from “The book of Foster” is more of a memory than a story and is shared with love. On random occasions with a little encouragement, Foster would regale us with song. One of the favorites from his repertoire went something like this, “If I were a rich man, Ya Ba dibba dibba dibba dibba dibba dibba dum. All day long I’d biddy biddy bum, if I were a wealthy man!” That booming voice would resonate through the house. Those performances always brought smiles to anyone lucky enough to hear them. He is and always will be with us in these beautiful memories. He is my brother in law and my friend.
Foster...you, with your smile, charm and genuine interest in the life of others. You were the master of being interested and engaged - what we now refer to as being present, or living in the present - but it was simply who you were, because you were genuinely interested and cared. It's one of the things that made you remarkable and so easy to talk to, which, while I didn't know you in a professional capacity, probably set you apart from others in. your career and contributed to your success. You and Debbie offered an open home always, along with a smile and some great stories. My kids were always welcome and enjoyed the time -Justin even mentioned that you taught him to dive (but no story about diving fully clothed, as with Phoebe). But mostly, I will miss getting to sit down with you and chat - sharing stories from work and next opportunities - I thank you for the encouragement that you offered and the time. Oh, and btw, Ryan is a lot like you with his interest and encouragement - good to see that reflected and carrying that piece of you (as well as others, I'm sure) with him.
The Blue Two-Wheeler It was Easter and all the cousins were going for a bike ride. I told Uncle Foster that I couldn't go because I didn't know how to ride a two-wheeler. He got so excited to teach me right then and there on the "blue two-wheeler that all the kids learned on!" He was so ready at any given moment to just do the thing! No hesitation. It felt like he was teaching me that I didn't have to let anything hold me back! He is so loved and will be deeply missed.