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The Register

Wednesday Evening, April 2, 1930


REV. W. R. FOOTE, M.A., D.D.

On the evening of March 19th, there passed away at his home in Wolfville, one of Canada’s most honored missionaries in the person of Rev. W. R. Foote, M. A., D. D., of Korea.

Dr. Foote, eldest son of J. H. Pope Foote and Maria Morton Foote of Grafton, was born at East Cambridge, Mass., on April 29, 1869. His boyhood was spent in Grafton, where he attended the public school. Later, having graduated from the Provincial Normal College, he taught school, first at Coldbrook, then at Grafton, Lakeville and Wolfville respectively. As a teacher, Dr. Foote was eminently successful, not only in his youth but throughout his whole career.

While attending Acadia University in the early nineties he took a leading part in all that pertained to college life. Many will recall his eloquence as an orator and debater; his prowess as an athlete, especially on the football field and the enviable record he held as a profound student. Graduating with high honors, he received his B. A. in 1895, and M. A. the year following. In 1898, Dr. Foote graduated from Pine Hill College, Halifax, and was ordained into the ministry of the Presbyterian Church.

During his college days, Dr. Foote labored on several Home Mission fields. Among these were Middleton, Arichat, Buctouch, Caribou Mines and Moose River Gold Mines.

From the time of his ordination in 1898 his life was spent as missionary among the Koreans. For many years he was stationed at Wonsan, but he also labored Among the Koreans residing in Manchuria and Russia (Siberia).

Dr. Foote was especially interested in educational and literary work. For several years he was not only Principal of the boys’ academy at Wonsan, but was also lecturer at the Theological Seminary of Korea situated at Pyng Yang. This seminary is attended by a large number of native students. Later, having severed his connection with the Academy at Wonsan he devoted himself to the work at Pyng Yang. At this time he received the appointment as Professor of Church History at the seminary there.

Also at this time he was relieved from itinerary work and thus had more opportunity for literary pursuits. For this latter, because of his scholaristic attainments, and his profound knowledge of the native language, Dr. Foote was particularly well fitted. Besides a voluminous amount of translating, he wrote several books in Korean. Perhaps his most outstanding literary work was the Bible Dictionary which was completed in 1927.

While on furlough in 1906-07 Dr. Foote completed a course of study at New College, Edinburgh University. At the meeting of the General Assembly at Montreal in 1907 he received the degree of Bachelor of Divinity. On the occasion of the centennial in Pictou in 1920, he was again honored, receiving the degree of Doctor of Divinity.

During the last year of his residence in Pyng Yang the state of Dr. Foote’s health gave his friends in Korea grave concern. In the spring of 1928 he returned to N. S. on furlough. Here he remained until October, when he proceeded to Princeton in order to pursue some special studies and research work at the university there. He, however, was obliged to return to Halifax without completing the course of study he had so desired.

After receiving medical treatment in Halifax for several months, Dr. Foote felt that he had recovered sufficiently to move to Wolfville to reside with his family. Here on March 8th he became very ill, and a few days later this highly cultured, saintly christian gentleman passed to his reward.

Dr. Foote is survived in his immediate family by his widow, four daughters and one son. An elder son, John, predeceased his father, having died at Musquodoboit in August 1909, at the age of seven years.

Deepest sympathy is felt for his bereaved family, also for brother, sisters and aged parents.

Beautiful funeral services were held on March 21st at Wolfville and at Grafton where this veteran missionary was laid to rest. On March 26 an appropriate memorial service was held in St. Matthew’s United Church, Halifax.

Dr. Foote’s passing is greatly lamented not only in his homeland, but also in Korea where he was so beloved and revered.