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Wallace Funeral Home

Barboursville, West Virginia 25504
Phone: (304) 736-3431
Fax: (304) 736-3469
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Robert Gay "Bob" Foster Click for Condolences      Printable Version
1936 - 2024

Robert Gay Robert Gay “Bob” Foster, a beloved husband, father, grandfather, friend, mentor, civic leader, and first class story teller, died June 13 from complications of Parkinson’s Disease.

A proud Milton native, Bob was born to Dorothy and Charles Foster on December 5, 1936. His childhood included horses, chickens, shenanigans, sledding down steep West Virginia hills ending in ravines, and many good friends. Bob rarely missed opportunities, so when he discovered his bully hiding in a hand-operated cement mixer, he seized the opportunity to crank that mixer until the bully begged for mercy. They were friends the rest of their lives.

He graduated Milton High School in 1954, remaining close to classmates throughout the years. He excelled in sports, including football, baseball, basketball and track, where he earned the name “Fireball,” which later morphed into “Butterball” by his daughters’ friends. He was such a Milton boy that when he built a house outside city limits in the mid-seventies, he kept a box at the town post office so his address would remain Milton, West Virginia. The Culloden post office still refuses to deliver his mail.

Bob continued to earn many names and titles in his 87 years. In addition to Fireball, his dad and friends called him “Hot Rod.” Rumors of occasional street races in a ’56 Ford convertible and antics involving Milton Volunteer Fire Department’s brand-new rig remain unconfirmed. Marrying the love of his life in 1957 began a lifetime being called “husband” and “sweetheart.” Four years later, he earned the title, “Daddy.”

Bob was drafted into the U.S. Army in 1960 and served in Hanou, Germany, where stories of defecting soldiers crossing the border in Russian tanks and the fellow soldiers using the tee-totaling Bob’s locker serving as a liquor cabinet while he was on leave began. Sergeant Foster transferred from active duty to the reserves in 1962, with an honorable discharge in 1966. Bob lived a lifetime of patriotism, exemplified most by his adherence to flag etiquette. He replaced tattered flags with new ones whenever he could, once encouraging AEP to volunteer a cherry picker to hoist a flag over the Milton United Methodist Church.

After the Army, Bob returned to Milton, his family and employment at what is now Special Metals, where he worked for more than four decades, as he and Dolores raised two daughters. Because girls are expensive, he worked two additional jobs as custodian for Milton United Methodist Church and gas meter reader. During retirement, he ran a register at Walmart for 15 years. His Walmart stories are legendary.

Bob served as president of the Milton Lion’s Club several times, was band boosters president, softball coach, honorary Girl Scout leader and served multiple leadership roles in his church, including president of Methodist Men. He was a Kentucky Colonel and a Melvin Jones Fellow of Lions Clubs International Foundation.

In 1995, Bob earned the best name of his life: Pawpaw. His three grown grandchildren grieve the loss of “Camp Pawpaw,” longwinded stories, Christmas wrapping paper fights, western watching, stomach-lurching drives on curvy West Virginia roads, and pulling arrows out of his wife’s garden shed. One grandchild mourns the loss of her father figure who filled a vacuum. She had planned on his walking her down the aisle someday.

The man loved a good meal, Oreos, chocolate pie and Big K soda pop. He made a mean pan of cornbread, fried up mouth-watering oysters during holidays and excelled at vegetable soup, spaghetti sauce and fried chicken. He enjoyed westerns, Louis L’amour books, mowing his yard and anybody else’s.

Bob Foster built his life around faith, honor, family, loyalty, respect, hard work and common sense. He loved a good joke, “ribbing” or prank, but didn’t suffer fools or false prophets. He would patiently teach a grandchild to bait a hook, but scoff at a fool who wouldn’t wear a mask mid-pandemic. He loved fiercely, wholly and without reserve, but one had to earn his respect.

Bob is survived by his wife of 67 years, Dolores McKnight Foster, his daughters Tina Foster Caldwell (Thad), Gina Foster Davis, grandchildren T.J. Caldwell (Erin), Camilla Caldwell and Taylor Davis. He also leaves behind sisters Janet Clark and Teresa Bills (Gary), nieces Tammy Nouza (Rich), Tonya Jenkins and nephew Tracy Clark (Tamala). He was “Uncle Bob” to six great-nieces and nephews and two great-great nieces.

He was predeceased by his parents and his beloved sister, Lisa Foster Chambers.

There is no “in lieu of flowers.” He loved to give his wife flowers and he would want her to have them now. However, if so inclined, memorial donations can be made to Milton Lion’s Club and Milton United Methodist Church.

Bob’s memorial service will be Monday, June 17, 1 p.m. at Milton United Methodist Church, 1007 Church Street, with visitation an hour before the services. Burial will follow at White Chapel Memorial Gardens, Barboursville. Visitation will be Sunday, June 16, 5 – 7 p.m. at Wallace Funeral Home, Milton. Online condolences may be expressed to the family at

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