AUBURN — Alice Marie O’Brien Foster, 91, of Auburn, passed away Wednesday evening, Jan. 3, 2018, at her home where she had lived all her life. She was surrounded by her loving family.
Born Alice Marie O’Brien on June 20, 1926, she was the only child of Charles and Frances Shaw O’Brien. Alice was a graduate of St. Alphonsus School, East High School, Auburn Business School, and completed courses at Auburn Community College. Prior to her marriage, Alice worked in the accounting department at ALCO and Stevens Clothing Store in downtown Auburn.
Alice met her future husband, Robert J. Foster, of Auburn, on a blind date arranged by her good friend, Gloria Fennessy Offenburg. Alice and Bob were married June 25, 1949 in St. Alphonsus Church. The couple renewed their vows at a 50th wedding anniversary Mass there in 1999.
Both Alice and Bob were devoted to their Catholic faith and parish. Alice belonged to many parish groups including the St. Alphonsus Rosary and Altar Society, and she often attended daily Mass. In later years, she was active in the St. Alphonsus Alumni Association, reunion committees, and the Melrose Senior Citizen’s.
For many years, Alice helped to serve lunches to priests at the rectory. When her children were growing up, she was involved in parent organizations at their schools where she was always ready to bake cookies and cakes for bake sales and fundraisers.
Faith, family, and friends meant everything to Alice throughout her active, generous life. She was very close to her family, and her Irish wit and spunk were legendary among those who knew her.
Her home on Anna Street – built by her grandfather Shaw – has been home to four generations of her family and has always been known as a happy gathering place for family, friends and neighbors.
Family Sunday dinners, birthday celebrations, holiday parties, garage sales, mystery parties and haunted houses were held there over the years, each filled with plenty of laughter and fun.
Visitors were often met at the kitchen door with the aroma of fresh-baked cookies or brownies, and Alice’s warm greeting and infectious laughter – along with her ever-present Boston Terrier, Skipper.
She had the gift for making everyone feel right at home, quickly putting newcomers at ease. Everyone was welcome, and often an extra chair would be added to her large dining room table to seat an added guest.
Alice took care of her aging parents and relatives over the years, and she developed a lifelong affinity for helping those in need. Years before Meals on Wheels began, she cooked extra amounts of food and sent piping hot dinners to the homebound and elderly neighbors who no longer cooked for themselves. Her husband and children delivered those hot meals.
A talented knitter, Alice left a legacy of beautiful handmade sweaters, hats, coats, mittens, afghans, and baby clothes to her children, grandchildren, friends and people whom she never knew. Never one to be idle, she enjoyed knitting at night and donating many of her knitted items to anyone in need.
Family road trips also gave Alice great pleasure. She loved to travel, and she was always keen to visit a new city or destination. Her favorite jaunts included New York City in early December, Myrtle Beach, Lake Placid and the Adirondacks, Cape Cod, Stowe Vermont, Notre Dame, Maine and Massachusetts. In August 2016, Alice’s 90th birthday wish was fulfilled as she, and her family made a pilgrimage to Saint Anne De-Beaupre Cathedral near Quebec, Canada where she and Bob had honeymooned in 1949.
Never one to seek the spotlight, Alice was most comfortable working behind the scenes but never wanting any recognition for her generosity. She never wanted to get up in front of a crowd, give a speech or draw attention to her work. Yet, she was the heart of her family and people naturally were drawn to her energy, faith and wonderful spirit.
Alice was predeceased by her parents and husband; brother-in-law and sister-in-law, William and Teresa Foster; niece, Barbara “Bonnie” (Foster) DelloStritto.
Alice is survived by sons and daughters, Robert C. (Carolyn) Foster, William L. Foster, Mary A. (William) Rowe, Cheryl A. Foster, and Laura F. (Douglas) Cuthbert; grandchildren, Kara Foster, Megan (Ryan) Barkley, John Foster, and Connor and Ailish Cuthbert; nieces and nephews, Patricia (Roger) Beer, Margret Foster, William (Patricia) Foster, and David (Anne) Foster; several great-nieces, nephews, cousins, and friends, and her faithful four legged companion, Skipper John.
Calling hours will be held from 4 to 7 p.m. Monday, Jan. 8, at Farrell’s Funeral Service, Inc., 84 South St., Auburn. A Mass of Christian burial will be held at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, Jan. 9 in St. Alphonsus Church. Interment will be in St. Joseph’s Cemetery.
Memorial contributions can be made to St. Alphonsus Parish or St. Jude Children’s Hospital in Alice’s memory.
“Our loss is Heaven’s gain.”