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Retired Church of the Nazarene executive Dr. Robert L. (Bob) Foster, 87, passed away April 12, 2019. Services were held April 20, at Overland Park Church of the Nazarene where he attended.

Foster was elected general treasurer of the Church of the Nazarene in 1995. In this capacity, he was responsible for oversight of the work of the finance department, of which Pensions and Benefits USA (P&B) was a part.

From 1966 to 1987, Foster served as business manager of Pasadena College. During this time, he was responsible for managing school finances and overseeing the transition of Pasadena College to Point Loma Nazarene College and the move of the institution from Pasadena to San Diego.

“Bob Foster’s value to Pasadena College was incalculable,” said Stan Ingersol, denominational archivist. “He went to the college when the school was in serious financial trouble. He developed an austerity plan that left the school solvent by 1971. He had a pivotal role in the school’s move to San Diego, calculating the financial impact of moving versus not moving. He then kept the school solvent after it relocated. Dr. Reuben Welch said in an interview with Ron Kirkemo, Foster ‘saved our bacon.’”

After more than 20 years at Pasadena College, he became president of NPH (now The Foundry Publishing) in 1987. “Dr. Foster was president of Nazarene Publishing House during a critical time of transition for Christian publishing,” said Mark Brown, Foundry CEO. “Through the years, I observed him make decisions based on what was good for the Kingdom and the organization he served, regardless of the impact on himself. He was truly a layman called of God.”

After eight years at NPH, Dr. Foster was elected general treasurer of the Church of the Nazarene. “Dr. Foster was a good friend to our late director Don Walter,” said Mark Graham, communication resources manager and editor for P&B. “He and Don continued to meet for periodic lunches even after Dr. Foster’s retirement. Don held him in high esteem as a man of integrity who dearly loved God and others, and wanted the best for his church. He represented our doctrine of holiness in every way.”

Foster took his work seriously, but he had a great sense of humor. He especially enjoyed singing and was blessed with a beautiful Irish tenor voice. Over the years, he sang in a number of men’s vocal groups.

Dr. Foster attended El Camino Community College in Torrance, California, and received a certificate in banking from the American Institute of Banking. He graduated from the Policy Institute at the University of Southern California and from the National Association of College and University Business Officers Management Institute. In 1982, he received an honorary doctor of laws degree from Point Loma Nazarene College.

Preceded in death by his wife, Wilma, in 2016, Dr. Foster is survived by three children, John, David, and Linda.

A video of the memorial service for Dr. Foster is available here.

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