of Fairfield Bay, AR
July 25, 1940 - April 6, 2023
David E. Foster passed away on April 6, 2023, after a rewarding and impactful life. He was born in White Cloud, Kansas, on July 25, 1940.Dave met the love of his life, Phyllis Nicholas, in Red Oak, Iowa, and married her on September 30, 1962. Dave always said that he was successful in his life and career because of the support and love of Phyllis. She gave him everything he needed, and he was thankful for every day they were together.Dave graduated from Pittsburg State College with a B.S. degree in biology in 1967. He earned his M.S. (1969) and his Ph.D. (1973) in entomology from the University of Idaho. Dave was a professor of entomology first at Texas Tech University, then University of Kentucky and University of Idaho before joining Iowa State University in 1980 as a Professor and Extension Entomologist. While at Iowa State he co-led the development of a new concept called Integrated Crop Management, which was demonstrated across Iowa. The University recognized him with an award in 1984 for his research and extension programming excellence. Dave came to the University of Arkansas in 1988, first serving as the Head of the Department of Entomology, then as Associate Director of Extension, and later Associate Vice President of Agriculture for Extension/ Director of the Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service. He oversaw 800 employees and an annual budget of $40 million. In this role, he brought to fruition a state headquarters complex in Little Rock, Arkansas, for the Extension Service. He joined Oklahoma State University (2000) as Associate Director of the Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service, Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, serving in that role until his retirement in 2004 to Fairfield Bay, Arkansas.Dave provided national leadership for land grant universities throughout his career. A key example of this leadership is his role as Chair of the National Committee to Develop the Extension Vision for the 21st Century. The Committee's report was instrumental in moving extension systems forward. As a result, Dave was recognized with a special award that states, ''It takes people with vision to help people with dreams.'' That statement captures the essence of Dave.After retiring Dave continued to work by volunteering in Fairfield Bay as an EMT (and Deputy Captain) on the Emergency Medical Services ambulance, as a Community Club board member and president, and as a member of the Team 2035 planning committee, just to name a few.Dave is survived by his wife, Phyllis; sister, Virginia Thompson; brother, John Foster (Barbara); and sisters-in-law Betty Herzberg, Carolyn Hanson (Adrian) and Shirley Clark (Jack). He is also survived by many nieces and nephews. Dave was preceded in death by his parents, Ernest and Ruth Foster.Perhaps no motto fits Dave's life more than this Mark Twain quote: ''Always do right. This will gratify some people and astonish the rest.'' Dave wanted to be remembered as a good and decent person. He will be remembered as an individual who loved to work and who made a tremendous difference in the universities he served, the students and colleagues he mentored, the communities in which he lived, and the friends and family he touched.Memorial gifts may be given to the Iowa State University Foundation, PO Box 2230, Ames, Iowa, 50010 to support the David E. Foster Scholarship for students studying insect science at Iowa State University.A memorial service for Dave will be held at Roller McNutt Funeral Home, in Clinton, Arkansas on June 3, 2023, at 11:00 AM.To express condolences online please visit www.rollerfuneralhomes.com/clinton
I was blessed to sit with Dave and Phyllis at their kitchen table for lunch a few times. Friends.
I was honored to call Dave my friend. We got to know one another while volunteering on EMS. He was an admirable man full of respect for others. He served his community, well. Phyliss, my heart, prayers & love are with you. I am sorry that I cannot be at tomorrow's Services.
I fondly remember Dr. Foster as an energetic and visionary man. One of the most genuine people I have met in my Extension Career. He was a great boss to me while at OSU. He helped me grow as a person and as a supervisor. As has already been said, he was dedicated to work and family and was as honest a person as you will ever meet.I had great respect for him and I know he will be missed by many.
Dave was a great mentor to me when I joined the faculty at ISU in 1982. He also became a very dear and trusted friend. If someone were to ask me to describe Dave in just a few words I would simply say that he was a genuine and decent man who truly cared for others. I am grateful and blessed to have known him and deeply saddened at his passing.
Phyllis, my heart is broken for your loss. The world has lost such a gentle soul. I feel so fortunate to have had Dave as a friend and co-Razorback fan. I will always remember the wonderful times we all shared and the fun we had, even though the scores didn't always come out as we wanted. My thoughts and prayers are with you in this sad time.
Sorry for your loss, Phyllis. I was fortunate for the opportunity to work with Dave in Extension and on my graduate committee. He was a great educator.
I’m so very sorry for your loss. You are in my thoughts. Love,Annette
With my heartfelt condolences for the huge loss of Dave. I valued his friendship and support. He will be missed!Love, Helga
Great man will be missed. Hugs to Aunt Phil we love you!
Dave was an excellent boss and mentor. When Dave moved from Arkansas, we lost a brilliant, clear thinker and visionary. Dave was more than a Director of Extension in Arkansas, he was a man who personified ethics and hard work, which he expected of himself and those who worked with and for him. Dave was rare in every aspect.Dave was a straight up “what you saw was what you got,” person, because he was about making absolutely certain that Arkansas’s Extension Service provided nothing but the best that Extension had to offer to enrich the lives of farmers, communities, youth and families. Phyllis, I’m so very sorry for your loss. You lost a true soulmate. I lost a true friend.
I'm grateful I had the chance to work with Dave at Iowa State University through Extension. He was a straight shooter all the way and lived a high standard in his work. My condolences to Phyllis and his family in his loss.
I will remember Dave helping me with CPR in class. And he always told me and everybody else that my auntie would die. And he said it with a smile and a sparkle in his eyes. A great gentleman all around nice guy. But tell Phyllis I didn't have to cut and paste this and she'll get that.
I first met Dave more than twenty years ago and memory tells me that our relationship quickly went from initial acquaintance to respect to admiration to trusted friend.Dave was the elected leader in our association of Extension Directors for one year but he was the respected leader every year. He was always the “adult in the room,” the consummate professional. In his witty and wise, yet humble way, he consistently led us to good decisions. This was not Dave’s work persona. It was Dave, day in and day out. Though work was important to Dave, exhibit one of his wit and wisdom was his choice of his wife, Phyllis, a woman beautiful inside and out! Whether at work or riding the backroads of Puerto Rico with four people in a car made for two, Dave was Dave. What a treasured friend! He has blessed many and will be missed greatly.
Dave Foster was a great major professor. He expected me to work hard and to be smart and creative about my work. He cared for me. He supported me. He helped me be successful. I will be forever grateful.
A man who believed in Extension and the service it provided to the people. A man of his word. A treasure that will be missed in this unreliable world.
I’m so sorry for your loss. Dave oozed intelligence, integrity, honesty, and genuine care for others. I was very fortunate to be able to call him a friend. Prayers for you Phyllis.
Dave was a good friend, respected, and admired leader. We spent many hours/days wetting the bottom of a boat where one really gets to know the character of a person. Dave's commitment to helping others through example and leadership skills is a great example to all. I can't say we always agreed, but Dave was always open to a candid difference of perspective.
Our thoughts and prayers with Phyllis and the entire Foster family. Dave’s word was his bond and you could depend on it. I’m sure he will be missed by family and his many friends especially around Fairfield Bay.
Dave was a great friend and boss! He will be remembered and missed. Love you Phyllis! Hugs and prayers! Dorothy Rodgers