In Memory

Emily Foster (Teacher)

Emily Rose Foster, age 90, of Niles, Michigan, died peacefully June 27, 2019, with family gathered at her home, following a brief illness.

She was born February 3, 1929, in Benton Harbor, Michigan, to William W. and Leone L. (Dahnke) Teichman.  She graduated from Dowagiac High School and then earned Bachelor of Science and Master of Arts degrees from Michigan State University.  She was employed for more than twenty-five years in the Niles Community Schools, beginning in the Home Economics classroom while managing the cafeteria of the former Central High School, and later serving many years in the guidance and counseling offices.

Emily was a member of the First Presbyterian Church in Niles and of the American Association of University Women.  She was elected to the inaugural board of Lake Michigan College in 1963 and served as the only woman on the board for eighteen years.  During her tenure she was elected Chairman of the Board, and in 2014 was awarded LMC’s highest honor, the Bernard C. Radde Distinguished Service Award for advancing the cause of Lake Michigan College and higher education.

She served on the board of the Berrien County Historical Association at the Courthouse Square in Berrien Springs.  Her interest in local history was recently highlighted in the book “Michigan POW Camps in World War II,” by Greg Sumner, that included an extensive interview with Emily as one of the few remaining first-person connections to the story of prisoners of war working as volunteers on local farms.

As an accomplished gardener she had a special interest in roses and topiary – to the delight of everyone who traveled past her home – and was a certified Master Gardener by the Michigan State University Extension Service.  Emily enjoyed cooking and could always make room at the table for another plate, carrying on a tradition she learned growing up on the family farm, Skyline Orchards, near Eau Claire.

Growing up, Emily took piano lessons and was always available to serve as the accompanist for family and friend sing-a-longs.  But most of all, Emily enjoyed her horses.  She was an accomplished equestrienne and looked forward to a daily trail ride; even in her late 80s, she trailered her horse to ride at  Tree-Mendus Fruit Farm.

On November 28, 1953, at the First Presbyterian Church in Niles, she married John Otto Foster, with whom she celebrated fifty-nine wedded years prior to his death in April 2013.  She was also preceded in death by her parents, and earlier this year by her brother, Herbert F. Teichman.

Surviving family includes her children, Leona J. Foster of Ann Arbor, Frederick W. Foster of Niles, and William J. (Elizabeth Waltman) Foster of Niles; grandchildren Landon Foster, Zachary Foster, and Gabe Foster; and Emily’s siblings, Judy Teichman of Point Reyes Station, California, and John (Marcia) Teichman of Traverse City; and sister-in-law Mary Elizabeth Teichman of Eau Claire; along with many nieces and nephews.

The celebration of Emily’s life will be at 11:00 a.m. on Monday, July 8, 2019, at the Youth Memorial Building of the Berrien County Youth Fairground, 9122 US31, Berrien Springs, Michigan, and will begin with blessings by the Rev. Bob Bond of First Presbyterian Church in Niles, followed by a sharing of memories led by Leona Foster.  Committal services will follow at the Union Cemetery in Berrien Center, Michigan.

The family will receive relatives and friends on Sunday, July 7 from 5:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m. at the Halbritter-Wickens Funeral Home, 615 East Main Street in Niles.  Contributions in memory of Emily are invited to be made to the Berrien County Historical Association, 313 North Cass Street, Berrien Springs, Michigan, 49103;