Marguerite Peet Foster passed away peacefully at her beloved Rockwood Ridge Farm in Bluemont, VA. She was 87 years old. A memorial services will be held on August 3, 2013 in Wickeden Chapel, Tabor Academy at 10:00 am. She is survived by her four sons, Reginald C. Foster of Needham, MA, H. Peet Foster of Riverside, CT, Adam R. Foster of Bluemont, VA, Charles O. Foster of Friday Harbor, WA; three granddaughters, Katherine J. Foster, Frances P. C. Foster, Christine S. P. Foster; two grandsons, Samuel P. Foster, Austin K. Foster; three step grandsons, Phillip C. F. Devor, Christopher B. Devor, John R. Devor.
Marguerite grew up on a farm that is now part of downtown Kansas City, Kansas. Riding was a lifelong passion. She competed both in jumping and dressage and fox hunted regularly with her father and his friends. The first woman in her family to attend college, Marguerite graduated from Smith College in 1947. She recalled her father’s shock that the cost of educating a young girl was so dear at $1,500.00 a year. She completed her Masters of Education at Harvard University 1977.
She met and married Rockwood H. Foster (aka “Adam”) of Needham, MA in June of 1948 and moved to Washington, DC. While Adam worked in the Foreign Service of the State Department, Marguerite taught biology at Cathedral School for girls. When she was pregnant with her fourth child, Adam was transferred to London. Given only two weeks notice, Marguerite dutifully packed up the house and crossed the Atlantic on the SS United States, two years before the dawn of transatlantic jet service, eight months pregnant with three boys 2, 4, and 6 years old in tow. While living in London, she grew friendly with a group of bell ringers and later brought them over to Washington to ring the inaugural peal of the newly competed bell tower at The Washington National Cathedral.
After returning from London in 1960, she became very involved in many activities, clubs, and areas of public service, including hosting a mid-day television show at WTTG for the Junior League. Marguerite, Adam, and their four young boys started summering in Marion, MA in 1961, initially co-renting with the Hugh Foster cousins, then buying their house on Allens Point Road. Marguerite was supporter of the Marion Antiques Show, Sippican Lands Trust, Marion Arts Center, Coalition for Buzzards Bay, Marion Fireworks, Elisabeth Taber Library, Blankenship Cemetery, New Bedford Whaling Museum, Gleason YMCA and Appalacian Trail. She was a longtime and active member of the Beverly Yacht Club, Kittansett Club, Sippican Tennis Club, Piney Point Beach Club and Chilton Club. Marguerite was a founding Board Member of The Buzzards Bay Musicfest, which is held annually in July at Tabor Academy. From its modest beginnings in 1996, the Buzzards Bay Musicfest just completed its 17th season of presenting several days of free concerts performed by top tier musicians from all over the country. Dozens of musicians have enjoyed their stay at “Hotel Foster” during their visits.
A science teacher by vocation, in the mid ‘60s Marguerite returned to her lifelong passion as a teacher of Earth science at The Potomac School in McLean, VA. In the ‘80s, she was instrumental in starting the first computer lab at Potomac School.
During the summers, she created an oceanography program out of the basement of her summer house in Marion, MA, zooming all over the inner and outer harbor with the children of friends, collecting specimens and studying marine habitats and ecosystems. In the early ‘70s, she persuaded Tabor Academy to add her program as a summer school elective, which she taught consecutively for the next thirteen years. It quickly became a popular and oversubscribed course and was the fore bearer of today’s marine sciences program at Tabor. In later years, Marguerite became an active and dedicated member of the Tabor board, where her quiet leadership resulted in Tabor’s magnificent Marine and Nautical Science Center, which opened in 2005.
As a country girl from the mid-west with no prior sailing experience, Marguerite plunged into the sailing scene, skippering her Herreschoff 12 in countless ladies’ day races. For several years, she was involved with organizing the Junior Regatta and cruise and supporting the Buzzards Bay Regatta. Hundreds of visiting sailors have enjoyed a bed, breakfast, and Marguerite’s wonderful hospitality at her house.
Over the next sixty years, there was hardly a winter organization in Washington nor a summer activity in Marion that did not enjoy Marguerite’s energetic, enthusiastic, and generous participation. She was active in the National Zoological Society, the Smithsonian Women’s Committee, and the Founders Board of St. John’s Community Services, from whom she received the Pillow Lee award for her lifetime contributions. Even after she moved back to the farm life in Virginia in 2007, she continued to contribute her time, energy, financial support, meals, beds, and love to her friends, relatives, and students of all ages.
Memorial services will be held at the Wickenden Chapel, Tabor Academy in Marion, MA on Saturday, August 3, 2013 at 10:00am.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that contributions in her name be made to your favorite Marion-based non-profit organization.