TOPKEA — James Elliott Foster, 87, of Topeka, passed away Nov. 17 at Brewster Health Center following a short illness. Jim was born on April 8, 1925, in Topeka. He was the only child of Dwayne Eliab Foster and Geraldine Mareeta Gardner Foster. Although Jim attended Topeka schools most of his life, his family moved to Carlsbad, N.M. for a couple of years at the beginning of the Great Depression, and returned to Topeka. Jim attended Van Buren Elementary, Crane Junior High, and was a 1943 graduate of Topeka High School. He played on the Topeka High School Varsity Baseball Team.
After high school, he entered the service, joining the Army Air Corp. During World War II, Jim was a bombardier on B-29s serving in the Asiatic-Pacific Theater with the 29th Bombardment Group. Jim remained in the Air Force Reserves for twenty years attaining the rank of Major. After the war ended, Jim returned to Topeka and married his longtime sweetheart, Doris Jeane O’Malley, on Aug 4, 1950. They had two children, Susan and Mark. Doris passed away August 6, 2002.
Jim attended Washburn University on the G.I. Bill, earning a Bachelor of Science in Business. He went to work for the Securities Acceptance Corporation in Topeka and was transferred to Great Bend in 1952. The company asked him to open a new branch in Russell in 1955, where the family resided for six months. The family returned to Great Bend when Jim was promoted to Branch Manager, and the company eventually became The Associates. Looking for new career opportunities and to return to their hometown, Jim joined Topeka State Bank and Trust in August 1964. Jim was in charge of the installment loan department and was the Executive Vice President at Topeka Bank and Trust when he retired from banking. While at the bank, he earned a degree from the Graduate School of Banking at the University of Wisconsin. Jim was past chairman of the Installment Credit Committee of the Kansas Bankers Association and served on the board of directors for Topeka State Bank and the Credit Bureau of Topeka. Because of his banking experience, he was asked to serve as an adjunct professor at Washburn University and Kansas State University. Jim served as the Director and Treasurer of the Kansas Joint Council for Consumer Credit Education. Since retirement wasn’t for him, his next career move was to work for the Credit Bureau of Topeka, retiring from that position in 1991. Jim was a proud Washburn University alum. He supported the school in many ways, including being a football and basketball season ticket holder. He was always excited with the new development of facilities and how the campus has changed over the years.
Jim was involved in several community activities, including serving as President of the Great Bend Optimist Club and the Southwest Optimist Club of Topeka. He was greatly involved in their Bicycle Safety Rodeo and Christmas Tree Lot activities. While living in Great Bend, he coached junior high and American Legion baseball teams. Jim took up golf when he was about 30 and it remained his favorite hobby. He served as President of Shawnee Country Club for a term in the late 1970s. During retirement he enjoyed playing various golf courses with his buddies, including the par-3 course just off Wanamaker Road. His best friends have been his friends his entire life. These friendships originated mostly through sports during grade school, junior high, and high school.
Jim is survived by his two children and their families, Susan Kathleen Foster Nelson and her husband, Dennis Dean Nelson, of Overland Park, and Mark Elliott Foster and his wife, Joan Elizabeth Serewicz Foster, of Longmont, Colo. “Grandpa” was also blessed with five grandchildren, Ryan Matthew Nelson and his wife, Maisie Fong Nelson, of Beijing, China, Karen Elizabeth Nelson Carroll and her husband, Konrad Carroll, of Lubbock, Texas, Scott Michael Nelson of Kansas City, Mo., Megan Elizabeth Foster and Kathryn Elise Foster, both of Longmont, Colo. His four great-grandchildren are Jackson and Ranger Carroll of Lubbock, Texas, and Ulysses and Cecelia Nelson of Beijing, China.
Funeral services will be at 11 a.m. Wednesday at Mount Hope Chapel. Burial will follow at Mount Hope Cemetery. The family will receive friends at the chapel one hour prior to the service. In lieu of flowers, please donate in James E. Foster’s name to Washburn University School of Business Fund for Excellence. You may visit www.givetowashburn.org, call 785-670-4483, or mail to Washburn University Foundation, 1729 SW MacVicar Ave, Topeka, Kansas 66604. To leave a special message for the family online, visit www.PenwellGabelTopeka.com.
Funeral arrangements provided by
Penwell-Gabel Funeral Home & Crematory**
3700 SW Wanamaker Road
Topeka, KS 66610
Great Bend (Kan,) Tribune, Nov. 20, 2012