Richard H. (Dick) Foster
January 24, 1934-October 23, 2020
0In the words of our beloved Richard H. “Dick” Foster– father, husband, grandfather, great-grandfather, uncle, coach, friend…legend, who entered eternal life on October 23rd, 2020:
“What. A. Ball. Game.”
Dick’s spirit is carried on by his wife, 6 children, 18 grandchildren, 20 great grandchildren, as well as an extended family of friends from every walk of life.
Those of us who came to know Dick during his 86 years on this earth were blessed to learn many lessons from him, among them:
1. If the fields were lined, you were late to the game.
2. Above all—faith, family & football (and perhaps a Braum’s chocolate malt).
3. And, bumps along the journey are not bumps, they ARE the journey.
Dick’s wardrobe was about as consistent as his morning routine of black coffee, oatmeal, & exercises –You likely could find him in his Coffeyville (or Oklahoma, of course) track suit and rotating ball cap of either Lawrence High or Free State football in support of his grandson’s (depending on who was playing at home that week, this was always an internal struggle of his). That is, unless he was feeling a bit more casual, in which he then would sport his favorite T-Shirt, which boasted a picture of the women in his family posing together with the words “FOSTER WOMEN” sprawled unapologetically in large font across the top. Dick took fashion cues from no one.
Dick was born on a Wednesday. January 24th, 1934 in Nevada, MO. He graduated high school from Southeast High School in 1951 and went on to play football at William Jewel College, earning his Bachelor of Arts degree in 1956.
Perhaps what Dick is most known for is his commitment to the game of of football—and those who played it. Dick began his career at Grain Valley in 1955 and went on to coach at Platte County High School from 1959 to 1969. He then began his notable career in coaching at the college level in the summer of 1969 at Fort Scott Community College, where he won the NJAAC National Championship in 1970. He then went on to the University of Kansas, under the leadership of Don Fambrough, as the Freshman coach and recruiting coordinator from 1970 to 1974. It was in Coffeyville, KS however, where Coach Foster became a household name, where he began his 14 year career as head coach of the football program from 1975 to 1988, winning a second national title in 1983, making him the only head coach in NJACC history to win 2 national titles. His final career move was to Norman, OK from 1989 thru 1996 where Dick was the recruiting coordinator for football at the University of Oklahoma.
While many know him as Coach, a few of us have been lucky enough to call him dad, grandad or Uncle Dick (but let’s be real here, the man never took that coaching hat off). After a successful career in football that spanned more than 4 decades, Dick dedicated the later part of his life to his faith & family. He joined the Methodist Church in Coffeyville in 2005, met some great friends studied scriptures with French Hey and when he couldn’t make it to Sunday service, he’d spend a few minutes of his day reading the bible or catching Joel Osteen on TV. He volunteered for the Salvation Army as a bell ringer for many Christmas seasons. He enjoyed Tuesday dinners out at various places with Karen and friends in Coffeyville. He wrote us letters. Picked up the phone and called us. Spent many mornings reconnecting with old friends over breakfast at Hy-Vee. Studied and read up on diabetes and heart failure, the very diseases that he fought every single day in his later years. He helped organize our Annual Foster Family Memorial Day BBQ contest. He listened to us tell him about our busy days, and respond with, “You gotta be kiddin’ me?” He got an iPad, and a Facebook account. He became his grandchildren’s (and great-grandchildren’s) biggest fan–a steadfast fixture in the stands of nearly every football or baseball game, wrestling match, graduation, dance recital, talent show, etc. Always–binoculars in assumed position, draped around his neck—And stocking cap perched atop his bald head. He was all of ours biggest cheerleader, always rooting for each of us to tap into what made us tick; challenged us to find something in life that provoked a piece of ourselves that would otherwise lie dormant, and then encouraged us to pursue it—whatever that thing may be. He taught us to live a life of relentless intention, and was a living, breathing example for us all of what you can achieve by doing just that. He was our dad, granddad, uncle, husband, friend, coach. He was ours and we were blessed beyond belief to have him for as long as we did.
Dick is survived by his wife of 50 years, Karen Foster (Coffeyville), 6 children—Dinah Westervelt (husband Glen Westervelt), deAnne Trave, Skip Foster (wife Gay Foster), Scoot Foster (wife Shelly Foster), Wayne Warren (wife Shelly Warren) and Mike Warren, 18 grandchildren, 20 great-grandchildren, and many in-laws, nieces and nephews, friends, former players and coaches, too numerous to list but not forgotten.
Dick is reunited with his mother (whom he adored) Juanita, Father Jim, his, sister Diane, brother Bill, daughter Debbie, and granddaughter Scarlett.
Coach Foster’s “Final Kick Off” is set to take place on Saturday, October 31st at River City Church, 3001 Lawrence Avenue, Lawrence, KS at 1:30 pm. His favorite “Bubba’s BBQ” will be served from 11:30 to 1:20 at the Church as well.
In Dicks memory, donations can be made to:
Coffeyville Community College or First United Methodist Church
Dick Foster Football Complex Memorial Fund 304 W 10th Street
c/o CCC Foundation Coffeyville, KS 67337
400 W 10th Street
Coffeyville, KS 67337
or may be sent in care of Warren-McElwain Mortuary, 120 W. 13th Street, Lawrence, KS 66044
Due to COVID-19, in person services will be limited to family only, but friends and those from afar are welcome to attend Dicks service virtually on