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Staff Sergeant
William Newton Foster
U. S. Army Air Forces

June 11, 1917 November 14, 1943
Cedarvale Cemetery
Bay City, Matagorda County, Texas

Gold Star Mother
Lula May Troutman Foster


Staff Sergeant Foster was a Colorado County casualty.  Although not a Matagorda County casualty, his family did live here briefly c.1913.  His baby sister was buried at Cedarvale Cemetery in Bay City, and when he was killed in Africa he was buried next to her.  Later his father was buried next to him.  We are proud to include him among our honored dead from World War II.


June 11, 1917 - November 14, 1943

Beneath two huge oak trees beside the Lehrer Memorial Methodist Church in Garwood are placed two memorial markers. The stones are placed to honor two Garwood Methodist boys who died in World War II. Both are buried elsewhere. Norman Lanier is one. William Foster is the other.

When the last Axis troops surrendered in Tunisia in May 1943, the battle for North Africa was over. The North African countries of Tunisia, Libya, and Egypt would continue to be staging areas for heavy bomber strikes against Italy, France, and the Balkans for much of the rest of the war. William Newton Foster of Garwood was in the Army Air Corps in North Africa during this period and, though the War Department listed his death as non-battle, he was killed in the line of duty.

Foster was born June 11, 1917 near Vanderbilt in Jackson County, Texas, the child of Mr. and Mrs. F. R. Foster. His family moved to Colorado County in 1932, and Foster graduated from Garwood High School in 1935. He was a member of the Methodist Church, which he had joined when he was ten.

Foster was inducted into the military May 18, 1942, one of the massive number of draftees taken immediately after Pearl Harbor. He trained at Sheppard Field and earned his silver wings at Ft. Myers, Florida. He had trained as an aerial gunner, mechanic, and machinist. He was shipped overseas in September 1943 and attained the rank of staff sergeant while serving with the 310th Bombardment Group, 47th Wing in North Africa. Reports said Foster was killed in a crash two months later, on November 14, 1943, near Tobruk, Libya. It has been speculated that he was on a mission over the Mediterranean when he lost his life; however, if that were true, he probably would have been classified as killed in action rather than as a non-battle death.

Foster was survived by his parents and an uncle, D. E. Foster of Columbus. After the war, his family brought Foster's body back for burial in Bay City, next to his younger sister, Lucille Isabelle Foster, who had died in 1920. A funeral service was held on June 23, 1949 in Garwood Methodist Church with Rev. Calvin Froehner officiating. Alma Dale Pinchback played the piano. The pallbearers were Garwood servicemen, Sgt. Clyde Muesse, S/Sgt. Carl Smith, T-Sgt. Melvin Schilling, T-Sgt. Robert Schiurring, Sgt. Melvin Rees and Capt. Ted Danklefs. He is memorialized by a simple gravestone in Bay City and a more expository marker at the Garwood church.

Supreme Sacrifice: Colorado County's World War II Dead
, Nesbitt Memorial Library Journal; sources used Eagle Lake Headlight, December 3, 1943 and Colorado County Citizen, December 2, 1943, Used by permission.

In Memory of Staff Sergeant William Newton Foster


Mr. and Mrs. R. F. Foster of Garwood were callers on the Headlight staff Thursday a.m. bringing a letter received a few days after the message came announcing the death of their son, Staff Sergeant William N. Foster. The contents of the letter follows:

"It is with regret that I write you confirming the telegram of recent date which informed you of the death of your son, Staff Sergeant William N. Foster, 38,161-882 Air Corps, near Tobruk, Libya. The official casualty report states only he was killed on November 14, as the result of an airplane crash.


"I wish additional information were available at this time, but unfortunately details of the circumstances surrounding the air plane accidents are seldom included in the original report to the War Department. However you may feel sure that if further particulars are received they will be transmitted to you at once.


"I realize there is little which may be said or done at time to lessen your sorrow but it is my hope that in time you may find sustaining comfort in the knowledge that he died while loyally serving his country.

Signed, J. A. Ulio, Major General


William Newton Foster was born June 11, 1917, near Vanderbilt, Jackson County. His childhood was spent in Matagorda, Chambers and Harris counties. With his parents he moved to Colorado County in 1932. He attended High school at Garwood graduating with the class of 1935.


He became associated with his father in farming interests and was quite successful both as a farmer and stockman.


He was inducted into the Army, May 18, 1942. His basic training was received at Sheppard Field, Wichita Falls, where he graduated as an airplane mechanic. He was then ordered to Patterson, N. J., and later to Atlantic City, N. J. His next transfer was to Fort Myers, Fla., and according to Headlight files, in a letter received from the Commanding officer, he graduated there and was promoted to Staff Sergeant and awarded his silver wings. This was an intensive five week's course of instruction to the Aerial Gunnery School. He was next transferred to an Army Air Force Bombardment Base where he was assigned to an observation Squadron as a mechanic gunner. This came at the time in a government release sent to this paper from Will Rogers Field, Okla. He also received training at Hunter's Field Savannah, Ga.


He was ready to embark at Miama, Fla., for overseas duty in March of this year when called to the bedside of his mother, who was seriously ill. After a thirty day leave he reported to Homestead, Florida, and was again ordered back to Will Rogers Field. From there he was sent for a training course at Camp Forest, Tenn., later to Florence Air Base in South Carolina, where he completed an Aerial Engineering course on medium bombers and graduated as a B-25 engineer.


Soon after this he embarked from the Greenville Air Base for overseas as a gunner and engineer. He had been in service in Labrador, Greenland, Iceland, England and North Africa.


Staff Sergeant Foster was 26 years, 5 months and 3 days old at the time of his tragic death. He was a loyal and devout member of the Methodist Church, having joined at the age of 10 years. Particularly sad is the fact that the devoted parents are giving up not only their son, but their only child. The tragedy of the war is being brought forcibly home day by day.


Another gallant son has made the supreme sacrifice and another home has been placed upon the altar of their country a noble son. One whose influence will be felt by friends he encountered and made during his brief span of life.


His immediate survivors include his brokenhearted parents, Mr. and Mrs. F. R. Foster of Garwood, a grandmother, Mrs. William Troutman of Altoona, Kansas. One sister, Lucille Isabelle, passed away at the age of seven. A number of Uncles, aunts and cousins and a host of friends are left to mourn his passing. They will cherish his memory and recall him in his happiness, for any where and every where he went, he carried the sunshine of his life, which was reflected in any crowd he chanced to mingle with. Riley's poem, "He is Just Away," has brought to his parents much comfort and at their request, this brief, chronicle of illustrious career closes with the above tribute.

"I cannot say, and I will not say!

That he is dead, He is just away

With a cherry smile, and wave of the hand,

He had wandered into an unknown land."


"And left us dreaming how very fair

It needs must be, since he lingers there

And you-oh you, who the wildest yearn

For the old time step and the glad return."


"Think of him faring on, as dear

In the love of There as the love of here;

Think of him still as the same, I say:

He is not dead--he is just away!"


Eagle Lake Headlight, Friday, December 17, 1943

Article courtesy of Nesbitt Memorial Library, Colorado County, Texas



Funeral services will be held for S/Sgt. William N. Foster who was killed in Libya in 1943 at the Garwood Methodist Church Thursday at 9:30 a.m. Burial will be in Cedarvale Cemetery in Bay City.

He was the only [living] child of Mr. and Mrs. F. R. Foster of Garwood and formerly of Matagorda County.

26[sic] years old at the time of his childhood in this county and was 26 years old at the time of his death. He died as a result of an airplane crash near Tobruk, Libya, on November 14, 1943.

He was an aerial gunner and engineer in the air force. 

The Daily Tribune
, June 21, 1949

Reburial Service In Garwood For Sgt. Wm. Foster

Reburial services for Staff Sergeant William N. Foster, who lost his life in Libya, November 14, 1943, at the age of 26, were held Thursday, June 23rd, from the Methodist Church in Garwood at 9:30 a.m. with Rev. Calvin Froehner of Austin officiating, assisted by Rev. Carl Israel of Garwood.

Mrs. W. G. Chapman of Bay City sang two special songs "The Old Rugged Cross" and "Beautiful Isle," accompanied by Miss Alma Dayle Pinchback of Garwood.

Pallbearers and their war ranks were Sgt. Clyde Muesse, Staff Sgt. Carl Smith, T. Sgt. Melvin Schilling, T. Sgt. Robert Schuiring, Sgt. Melvin Rees and Captain Ted Dankfels.

Military orders were accorded Sgt. Foster by the Veterans of Foreign Wars at the burial in Bay City Cemetery.

[NOTE: The biographical information at the end of this article is not included here as it is also in the December 17, 1943 article.]

Eagle Lake Headlight, Friday, June 24, 1949

Article courtesy of Nesbitt Memorial Library, Colorado County, Texas

Altoona Cemetery,
Altoona , Wilson County, Kansas

Photo Courtesy of Gene Ewert

County native dies Monday

Mrs. Lula Mae Foster, Fredonia, 78, died Monday, Dec. 10 in Fredonia after a long illness. She was born Nov. 26, 1893 near Altoona, a daughter of William H. and Mary E. Damewood Troutman. She was a housewife and member of the Methodist Church.

She was married at Fredonia July 4, 1914 to Forrest Foster who preceded her in death.

She is survived by four brothers, William Dewey Troutman, Huntington Beach, Calif., Harry Troutman, Altoona, Frank and C. W. Troutman of Fredonia, one sister, Mrs. Jessie Miller, Altoona.

Funeral services were held Wednesday, Jan. 12, at the Altoona United Methodist Church with Rev. Kenneth Richards officiating. Interment was in the Altoona Cemetery under ..... [cut off]

Wilson County [Kansas] Citizen, January 13, 1972

Obituary courtesy of W. A. Rankin Library, Neodesha, Kansas

Last Rites Held For F. R. Foster Of Garwood


Citizens of the area learned with great sadness of the death last Wednesday, Feb. 14th of F. R. Foster, prominent farmer and rancher in the Garwood area since 1932. Mr. Foster passed away at 7:00 p.m. in the Nightingale Hospital in El Campo after an attack at his home Tuesday night.


Funeral services were held in the Garwood Methodist Church at 10:00 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 17th, with the Rev. Windel Bell, pastor, officiating. The body was taken overland for burial in the Cedarvale Cemetery in Bay City.


Serving as pallbearers were L. D. Schilling of Columbus; and from Garwood, James T. Danklefs, Troy Krenek, W. Cecil Stears, W. C. Smith, Boyd Rees and E. H. Stienke.

Forest R. Foster was born on October 30, 1889 at Webster City, Iowa the son of Alexander Newton Foster and Verilla Rogers Foster. The family moved to Ohio when he was quite small and at 4 years of age moved to Kansas, where he resided until a young man. He and his parents, a brother and two sisters moved to Texas settling in Colorado County. He lived near Rock Island for five years farming and ranching and then moved to the South Texas area, and back to Colorado County in 1932, settling at Garwood where he resided for the remainder of his life.


He had lived in this county two years when he went back to Kansas for the sweetheart he had left there, and on Jan. 4, 1912 he married Lula Mae Troutman of Altoona, Kansas, who survives him.


Mr. and Mrs. Foster had two children, both preceding him in death. Lucille Isabelle died at the age of seven years, and William Newton was killed Nov. 14, 1943 in North Africa, during World War II.


He was well loved by every member of the Garwood community. He was interested in anything that was good for his community. He was very active in the Lions Club, being a charter member; in the Volunteer Fire Department, in which he was an honorary member; and in the Future Farmers of America. He assisted in the FFA annual sale and was among those instrumental in organizing the Pioneer Trail ride connected with the sale. Most Sundays, unless ill, he was to be found with his wife in his pew at the Garwood Methodist Church.


The Foster's only son volunteered for service in World War II with full consent of both of his parents and Mr. Foster never let his great grief at losing his only remaining child keep him from doing anything he could for his country and he was awarded a citation from the government for his help in selling more war bonds than anyone else in his area.

On January 7th, 1962, Mr. and Mrs. Foster celebrated their golden wedding anniversary with a reception in the social hall of the Methodist Church.


Surviving are his wife, Lula May; one sister, Mrs. Ethel Faulkenberry of Chanute, Kansas; and a number of nieces and nephews, among them Mrs. Don Williamson of Orange.

A host of friends from Houston, Rosenberg, LaGrange, Columbus, Eagle Lake, Needville, Garwood and El Campo attended the funeral services. Also attending were the following relatives from out of town:


Mr. and Mrs. Paul D. Jernigan and Eva Lou and Paul Durward of Houston;

Mr. and Mrs. Don D. Williamson and son Bill, of Orange;

Mr. and Mrs. Buel Burris, Mrs. C. L. Fulgham, Mrs. J. W. Martin, Mrs. Harris Till and Earl Burris of Alvin;

Mrs. E. N. Foster and son Floyd, Galveston;

Mr. and Mrs. Floyd Troutman and Mr. and Mrs. Harry Troutman of Altoona, Kansas;

Mr. and Mrs. C. W. Troutman and Frank Troutman of Fredonia, Kansas;

Herman Troutman of Neodesha, Kan.;

Mr. and Mrs. L. M. Harris of Choctaw, Okla.;

Allen Harris of Duncan, Okla.;

Vernon Harris of Abilene; and

Mr. and Mrs. Richard Messer of Jackson, Miss.



Dear Forest, My Loving Husband

Should I go first and you remain to walk the road alone,

You'll live in memory's garden dear,

With the happy days we've known.

In spring you'll wait for roses red, in summer lilacs blue;

In autumn, when brown leaves fall

You'll catch a glimpse of me.

Should I go first and you remain, dear,

For battles to be fought,

Each thing I've touched along the way

Will be a hallowed spot.

You'll hear my voice and see my smile

Though blindly you may grope;

The memory of my loving hand will buoy you on with hope.

Should I go first and you remain, one thing you hope Ill do;

Walk slowly down the path of death for you will be following me.

You'll want to know each step I took that you may walk the same,

For some day, down that lonely road, I'll hear you call my name.

Your loving wife,

Lula Foster


Eagle Lake Headlight, Eagle Lake, Texas, Thursday, February 22, 1962

Obituary courtesy of Nesbitt Memorial Library, Colorado County, Texas


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Jan. 28, 2006
Jan. 18, 2009