Patrick Foster laid to rest
The cover of the funeral programme issued at the thanksgiving service for the life of Patrick Foster ideally epitomised his admirable traits with the short phrase, “A loving father; tender and kind, what a beautiful memory you left behind.”
Foster, Jamaica Observer’s very own, positively impacted the lives of many throughout his 67 years spent on Earth. This was evident in the tribute and remembrance, and homily expressed by his friends, colleagues and loved ones at St Andrew Parish Church on Wednesday.
In reading the remembrance, his dear friend Frank Mullings pointed out Foster’s great efforts as a father of two — Seitu and Sharlene — and his knack for art which played a vital role in his youth and adult years.
“Patrick’s love for art had no boundaries as he garnered a wealth of experience in advertising, graphics and packaging. He illustrated workbooks for schools, created postcards, started a magazine, and also exhibited his paintings and wonderful photographs at the then Mutual Life Gallery,” Mullings told the congregation.
“He loved his children and would do almost anything for them; never missing a parent’s day at Mona Prep or any other activity to give support,” he added.
“Unfortunately, Patrick became ill five years ago, but nevertheless, during his ailment, he faced his condition with the same grit and determination that he had always demonstrated in his lifelong journey. We are all saddened by his passing,” said Mullings.
Foster attended Kingston College then went on to pursue studies in graphic design at Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts. He became an art teacher at his alma mater, then worked at several other organisations before being granted a licence as a real estate broker, which paved his path to work at a number of real estate agencies.
He started out at the Observer as a real estate journalist, then spent over 20 years at the organisation landing other roles such as deputy news editor, then online editor, until his retirement in December 2022.
Touching on the incredible mark Foster left at the newspaper company, executive editor for publications at the Observer Vernon Davidson said colleagues were struck by his calm demeanour when he first joined the team. “I remember that one of my first thoughts was that, maybe being the new guy — as is the nature of most new members of staff — he was acclimatising himself before getting involved in the very lively, and often rowdy discussions that are a feature of newsrooms,” said Davidson.
Over time, as he got acquainted with the news environment, Davidson said Foster contributed positively to the daily publication, especially with his “nose for news” and consistent effort to fact-check information.
“Patrick’s unwavering observance of that tenet contributed significantly to the credibility of the Observer‘s online product, even though there were moments when some members of the team were on the edge of their seats waiting for him to approve a story for publication. But that was the nature of the man: A true Fortis, calm under pressure, even though at times we detected a bit of impatience beneath his trademark smirk,” he said.
Throughout the service, Foster’s loved ones mostly maintained a strong persona, as they comforted each other during the tough time.
Assistant curate at St Andrew Parish Church Rev Bertram Gayle, in delivering the sermon, said the life Foster lived was in sync with Acts chapter 4.
“He lived a life that one would say was centred on what Christ modelled and what the early church modelled, love for others — all those he encountered. There to lend a helping hand, there to be a listening ear. His life was a reflection of the type of community we see a glimpse of in Acts chapter 4,” he said.
“His legacy of kindness and tenderness and love will live on in the lives of those he touched. His life was a testimony of the power of Christ’s love and impact that love can have on those around us.”