Walter John Foster 1936-2013
John Foster was born on 30 November 1936 in Buxton.
John was born the oldest of 3 children of John and Rena Foster. John and the family moved many times as his father was a hospital engineer. John was skilled at engineering and mathematics and could have had a totally different career to the one he chose in medicine. He studied dentistry at Newcastle University, a faculty of Durham University, and whilst there became an officer in the Territorial Army. During his time at university John found time to work as a stage hand and interestingly booked both Shirley Bassey and Cleo Lane who at the time were unknown singers. After qualifying, John became a House Surgeon at the University Teaching Hospital, then moved to the Royal College of Surgeons and then to a practice in Basingstoke. John was passionate about the NHS all his life even after retiring in 1995.
It was in Basingstoke that I first met John the week he arrived about 50 years ago. It was his first week in private practice. As was usual with John during and after my dental work he talked (always while your mouth was full of John's hands) and he asked "what is there to do in Basingstoke?" My response was "not a lot!" but that I had joined an amateur dramatic group. His response was, "as an actor?" "No, as a stage lighting technician". So John joined and became a Stage Manager for that group.
John & I became firm friends for all of his life. I proposed him into Round Table and later into Freemasonry. We enjoyed being together and helping each other in many different ways. I took John to RAF Tengmere when I was the Adjutant to the RAF Reserve Squadron and showed him the RAF world which included taking him flying and teaching him about the Squadron's drinking habits(!!!)
Through our amateur dramatic group he met Jo who was performing at the Haymarket Theatre, Basingstoke as the principal boy in a school pantomime. They married in 1975 and later had two daughters Amy & Helen. John & Jo later moved to Newbury. When he left the Round Table John mentioned that he was interested in Masonry. I became a Joining Member of Padworth Lodge and proposed John who later was the Worshipful Master and for many years Almoner. John also joined Chapter, Rose Croix, Knights Templar, and Knight Templar priests, and in all these orders John went through the Chairs and was well liked and an asset. Wellesley KT Preceptory was very fortunate to have John as Registrar from 1997-98 and 2005-2012 where he had a considerable knowledge of Knights Templar and held it together. This year, John had received promotion in Knight Templar Priests. In Newbury he also joined Rotary and later became President.
John was always highly regarded both professionally and in the Masonic world. He was my closest friend and was always willing to help anyone in whatver way he could, whenever it was and whatever the cost. We have travelled together many thousands of miles either in his or my car at all hours of the day and night on Masonic duties.
Undoutedly, I will miss him greatly as will the Masonic world for he contributed so much right up to the end of his eventful life. John will be sadly missed.
M J Hewitt