Photography

Billy Lee Foster

April 14, 1941 ~ June 7, 2022 (age 81)

Obituary

It is with sorrow that his family announce the death from cancer of Billy Lee Foster on June 7, 2022. He was 81. He passed away in Riddle, Oregon after retiring to Arizona to prospect for gold in September 2021. Born on April 14, 1941, to John Wilbur Foster, Sr., and Thelma Eleanor (Landis), Bill was the sixth of seven children.

Bill worked on ranches as a very young man and had an abiding love of animals. He then became a carpenter and worked across the states of Oregon, Washington, Alaska, and Hawaii on a variety of projects including the Astoria bridge, Trojan nuclear power plant, Bonneville dam, and the restoration of Pittock Mansion in Portland. He built high risers in Honolulu in the late sixties and in the seventies, he moved to Alaska to work in the oil industry.

After a fall from Bonneville Dam that permanently injured his neck and shoulder, Bill bought a semi and became a long-haul truck driver, hauling anything from racehorses to wind turbines. He drove every state in the continental US, as well as Canada. He enjoyed team driving with his nephew and son-in-law and solo. In his later years he had a map of all the major routes in the US in his head and loved to tell friends and family the best route to get where they were going.

While he was driving, he met and fell in love with a red-headed woman who owned a lounge in Collinsville, Illinois. This became his favorite stop-over and he eventually married the owner, Ardith (Decker) Foster. He stopped driving his truck and ran the bar with Ardie, making many friends over the years.

Ardie passed away in August of 2021. Bill retired and fulfilled his dream of camping at the mines of his gold prospecting club in September.

He loved his family deeply and enjoyed taking his girls on outdoor adventures. He taught them to ride horses, fish, swim, shoot, and prospect for gold. They led an adventurous life with him, living in a cabin in Alaska, a high-rise in Honolulu, and many farms where they enjoyed owning horses, sheep, dogs, and pigs.

Bill was preceded in death by his mother and father and his wife Ardie. His brother Francis LeRoy (Frankie) Foster was killed in 1959 in an accident. His sisters Theodora Nilda (Foster) Wendt, Sigrid Wilma (Foster) Wheeler, and Theresa L. (Foster) Anderson, as well as granddaughter, Jennifer Taylor, preceded him in death.

He is survived by his siblings John W. Foster, Jr. of Mitchell, Oregon, and Thelma Aloyce (Foster) Nollen of Turner, Oregon; his daughters Barbara Fay (Foster) Windsor (Don Renfroe) of Columbia City, Oregon, Brenda Lee (Foster) Kaneshiro (Dennis) of Riddle, Oregon, and Deena Adela (Foster) Hodges (Benjie) of Rocky Mount, Virginia; his grandchildren Terry William Windsor of Columbia City, Oregon, Elijah Kaneshiro of Springdale, Arkansas, Tabitha Kaneshiro of Johnson City, Tennessee, Elisabeth Kaneshiro (Andrew Mooney) of Roseburg, Oregon, Esther Kaneshiro of Roseburg, Oregon, Daniel Scott Taylor of Springfield, Illinois, and Chelsea (Hodges) Weaver (Chase) of Rocky Mount, Virginia; and his great-granddaughters Mykenzie Cheyanne Weaver, Carleigh Fayth Weaver and Braelynne Grace Weaver, all of Rocky Mount, Virginia. He also has numerous nieces and nephews that he loved very much.

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