PORTLAND – Robert H. Foster, 77, passed away Dec. 8, 2011, in Portland. He founded R H Foster Energy and served as its president until retirement and continued to serve as chairman of the board. Bob was born July 27, 1934, in Dennysville, the son of Ray S. and Florence (Lunn) Foster.
He attended schools in Machias and graduated from the University of Maine with a degree in civil engineering in 1956. While at UMaine he was a member of Phi Mu Delta fraternity. He remained close with many of his fraternity brothers throughout his life and especially enjoyed their monthly luncheons. R H Foster, Inc. began its roots in Machias. The company, then called Foster Fuels, began in 1959 as a Gulf Heating Oil dealership with one truck and one employee, Robert H. Foster. The growth of the Retail Division began in 1967, Foster Fuels merged with E.G. MacLauchlan to become MacLauchlan & Foster Oil Co. Inc. The company also began selling Mainegas Propane as a dealer. The Gasoline Division began in 1965 when Bob became a Mobil consignee. This included operating the ocean terminal in Pembroke. In 1978, Bob as consignee, purchased the Pembroke terminal from Mobil Oil Corp. and R H Foster, Inc. became a full line Mobil distributorship. In 1979, R H Foster, Inc. constructed a new office building and warehouse in Marshfield, moved the wholesale/dispatch operation from Pembroke and merged MacLauchlan & Foster Oil Co. Inc., with R H Foster Inc. to become one company with commercial, wholesale and retail heating oil, diesel and gasoline accounts. Convenience store operations began with the Mobil Mart on High Street, Ellsworth. In 1987, Carter, Inc., a Mobil subdistributorship in Caribou was purchased, bringing four company operated stations on line, as well as several wholesale gasoline dealers. This was the beginning of what has evolved into the C-Store operations. There are now more than 20 company operated locations throughout Maine. In 1984 Bob founded Maine Wild Blueberry Co., Machias, a blueberry processing plant. The company was sold in 1997 to Oxford Frozen Foods. Bob felt a deep and abiding loyalty to his employees, customers and partners. R H Foster employees felt his kind presence by just a simple walk-by. All was ok when Bob was in the room. Throughout his lifetime, Bob devoted countless hours to many organizations. He was a respected voice of Washington County. He served as a director of Maine Oil Dealers Association, a trustee of the University of Maine System, a director for Fleet Bank of Maine, charter member for Friends of Jackson Laboratory, a director for Bangor Hydro Electric Co., past president of Machias Rotary Club, a corporator of Downeast Community Hospital, a member of Anah Temple Shrine, an associate member of Centre Street Congregational Church, Machias; a member of First Congregational Church, United Church of Christ, South Portland; and director for Katahdin Area Council, Inc. Bob was recognized for his many contributions and achievements. Bob was proud to be inducted as a Distinguished Member of the Francis Crowe Society of UMaine’s College of Engineering. The Society was established to recognize professionals who have made considerable engineering contributions to the state, nation or world. He was truly deserving of this membership. He had previously been named as a Vernon P. McFadden Memorial Award given by Eastern Maine Development Corp., named as an Outstanding Contributions to the Economic and Social Development of Washington County given by the Washington County Development Corp., a Paul Harris Fellow by Rotary International Foundation, a Silver Beaver Award by the Boy Scouts of America and Outstanding Service Award by the University of Maine at Machias. Bob found great pleasure in enjoying all of the activities that the outdoors offered. He especially enjoyed fishing the Miramichi and Matapedia rivers in Canada. He relished his time outdoors and respected the nature around him. Bob had fond memories at special places including his "Ponderosa," and at Cathance Lake. "Boom" was known to take off on some extended "errands" to Las Vegas with his family and friends. Bob will be fondly remembered by those he touched so deeply. When you met Bob, you had a friend for life. He committed himself to those countless folks he considered friends. Bob was a tireless giver of patience, understanding and unconditional love. Bob loved his time following his grandchildren in various sporting activities and considered himself quite the Bangor Rams fan. Bob was a neighbor’s neighbor and always had his front door open to all. He will be missed by all his friends on Hope Avenue.
Bob is survived by his loving and caring wife of 25 years, Carolyn M. (Watson) Foster of Portland; daughter, Dorothy J. Vachon and husband, Nick, of Ellsworth, and their children, Gabriel, Rosehannah and Isabelle Vachon; son, Robert W. Foster and his wife, Renee, of Hampden, and their children, Robert "Jake," Katie, Benjamin and Isaac Foster; son, Daniel C. Foster and wife, Robin, of Orrington, and their children, Emma and Sherry Foster; son, Scott R. Stacey and wife, Joan Kennedy, of Portland, and their children, Grace and Charlie Stacey; son, Brett R. Stacey and wife, Julie, of Bangor, and their children, Jack and Carolyn Stacey; and daughter, Beth-Marie Stacey of Portland. Known as "Boom," "Boo" or "Grampy," Bob loved all his grandchildren greatly. He is also survived by nephews, Dana Foster and wife, Mary, and Ray Foster and wife, Sara; niece, Beverly Linnane and husband, Bill; niece, Florence Wood; many great-nieces and great-nephews. In addition to his parents, Bob was predeceased by a sister, Jeane Rutherford; and brothers, Carlton and Donald Foster. The family expresses gratitude to daughter-in-law, Joan Kennedy Stacey, for the special gift of life donated in 2004. Special thanks to the many professionals at Maine Medical Center; in particular, CTICU and R4.
Visiting hours will be held 1-3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 11, at the family home, 115 Hope Ave., Portland. Services will be held 3 p.m. Monday, Dec. 12, at First Congregational Church, United Church of Christ, 301 Cottage Road, South Portland.
Burial will be private. Donations in Bob’s memory may be made to First Congregational Church United Church of Christ, 301 Cottage Road, South Portland, ME 04106. Arrangements are under the direction of Conroy-Tully Crawford Funeral Home, 172 State St., Portland.