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Lee Edwin Foster

Lee Edwin Foster

July 23rd, 1943 - July 19th, 2020

Biography


Lee Foster grew up in Minnesota, went to Notre Dame, and then proceeded to Stanford for his graduate work in literature. There he decided to pursue a life of creating his own books, rather than an academic professorial path of books about books and teaching the gifted young. Lee published 18 books of fiction, non-fiction, travel. See them all on Lee’s Amazon Author Page. Lee offered travel writing/photography on more than 500 worldwide subjects on his website, and was a specialist on his home territory of Northern California. Lee lived in Berkeley, CA, and was a publishing innovator. He was one of the first to embrace the Online, then the Internet, and finally the App world. Lee summarized part of his earlier record in an article, Moments in the Electronic Publishing Revolution: A Participant’s Journey.

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Family

About

Name Lee Edwin Foster
Date of Birth July 23rd, 1943
Date of Death July 19th, 2020
Home Town Omaha, NE, US 
Other City Berkeley, CA, US 
In Memoriam Donation California State Parks Foundation
Family

Family

ChildrenPaul Foster, Karin Foster, Bart Van Aardenne
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Milestone

Milestones

1957 - 1961 Loyola High School, High School Diploma
1961 - 1965 University of Notre Dame, BA - Philosophy
1968 - 1973 Stanford University, MA - Literature (ABD PhD)
1975 - 2020 Travel Writer & Photographer, Foster Travel Publishing

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Tributes



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Laurie Borman, Satw Past President published a tribute .

A great travel writer, photographer, and a person who gave back to his profession. He will be missed. May his memory be for a blessing always.

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Pat Mulready published a tribute .

Lee was my cousin and Godfather. I did not get to spend much time with him due to our age difference growing up. However I was able to spend a few weeks with him, when he returned to Mankato to shoot photos for the book "Just 25 cents and three Wheaties box tops".
My brother Matt(who shared a Birthday with Lee 7-23) and I were the two boys who were shown in the book, along with our sister Mary Mona.
We had a blast hanging out with our cool cousin, and have fond memories of setting up some of the collages for some of the photos.
The most memorable was catching fireflies and putting them in a couple of large canning jars, top to bottom. We then set up a dark backround in Nellie and Russ's basement, in the dark and took several timed exposures to achieve the desired results.
Explains my interest in photography.
I only spoke to Lee a handful of times over the last 50 yrs.(usually on his Birthday). I am very proud of all he accomplished. I always told him I would get out to visit him one of these years.
I regret that I never did.
My thoughts and prayers go out to Lee's sisters and children.
Patrick J. Mulready

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Cabot Christianson published a tribute .

Hi, I'm Cabot Christianson, Lee's cousin in Anchorage, Alaska. Just about 50 years ago exactly, Lee gave me a copy of his then just-published book, "Just 25 Cents and Three Wheaties Boxtops." (Apparently the book later got renamed Minnesota Boy, but I like the original title much better). This is the picture of Lee on the back of the book. Times change, don't they?

Then and always, Lee was a thoughtful, considerate, person. A really nice guy. What a loss.

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Paula Mulready published a comment .

The kids photographed in that book "Just 25cents and Three Wheaties Boxtops" are my siblings. That was a beautiful story. It really captured the times. I wish we could go back to that. God bless my cuz. LEE

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Christopher P. Baker published a tribute .

I've no idea where my other images of time with Lee are (stuffed away as unused and unscanned 35mm, I guess), but this moment in 2016 is especially treasured. Lee and I had increasingly grown closer in the 35 or so years I've known him... to the point that he always extended an invitation to overnight at his Berkeley home whenever I passed through the Bay Area. Always so generous. We shared magnificent times together, laughing a good deal over wine, Camembert and grapes, followed by a predictable dinner of poached salmon with asparagus. The moment of this photo was comic, because I was about to depart for Idaho on my bike... but the darn thing wouldn't start. I ended up having to get it towed to San Francisco BMW dealer. That gave us more laughs for more recent overnights together.

A decade ago we co-authored BACK ROADS CALIFORNIA, and for many years prior we taught the SATW Travel Journalism Institute, along with other SATW faculty members. I got to know him well. Such an insightful man, and a generous and kind personality. Not a risk-taker, for sure... but a steady and reliable hand you was always willing to share. I will miss him greatly. Gone too soon and too suddenly.

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Christopher P. Baker published a comment .

A pity there's no edit function that I can find, because I'd like to revise what I said about "risk-taker." He was actually a trend-setter in so many ways, especially in his clear foresight on ways to derive income from the Internet in its earliest days, as well as self-publishing. A tremendous mind and an example to follow!

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Paula Peck published a comment .

Lee was my 1st cousin and almost 20 years my senior. I will always remember He was so tall and fun! When home from NDU while visiting He would put me on His tall shoulders and leap over our picnic table. He was kind smart and gentle. we will miss him. we have his books as treasures. Love to all the Fosters.

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Karyl Leigh Barnes published a tribute .

Lee was always a light and voice of experience when we chatted at SATW events. His presence will be missed. My sincerest sympathies to his family. We have lost a treasure.

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Jeffrey Samorano published a tribute .

We were so saddened to hear of his passing, he was truly a great man and great client to work with. My team and I currently manage his website and will miss him dearly. He had such a gift. Feel free to reach out anytime if assistance is needed with the website.

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Chuck Cecil published a tribute .

I am so sorry to read this news. Lee was so kind and so generous in his help and advice. I admired greatly his mastery of self-publishing and his early application of apps to his work. Seeing him at SATW meetings, most recently at El Paso, was always a highlight. I will miss him greatly.

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Larry Bleiberg published a tribute .

Lee was kind, innovative and giving. Like so many colleagues, I benefited from his expertise and generosity.

I remember one evening when I was visiting the Bay Area for a meeting just as the world of Apps was taking off. Lee invited me to an evening seminar on travel apps that coincidentally coincided with my visit. He made made sure I had a ride back to my hotel afterwards.

App were brand new technology and as a resident of Alabama at the time, I had little access to folks on the cutting edge of development. Lee made sure I had a chance to learn more.

Perhaps, it was just a small kindness, but I was touched by his help and concern that night.

I miss Lee, and am so sorry we lost him. He had so much more to give.

Larry Bleiberg
President-Elect, Society of American Travel Writers

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Laurie Borman published a comment .

Larry, you expressed it so well. Lee was a kind, gentle soul, and he shared his kindness and gratitude across the community

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Janet Fullwood published a tribute .

Oh Lee you were such a staple in my life - SATW, BATW, OWAC...our paths crossed many times a year. Besides being such a kind person, I was always a little intimidated by how you had grabbed the digital bull by the horns and made it yours. Enjoyed your lectures and workshops and learned a lot. But mostly, considered you a friend. RIP...

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Laurie Borman published a tribute .

Lee welcomed me to SATW in 1991--a warm, smiling, and friendly person when I really didn't know many other members.
He gave generously of his time and talents to teach others about travel writing and photography, presenting workshops at conventions and also at the Travel Institute. I learned a lot from him, and appreciated his embrace of technology as an early adopter.
His generosity and caring attitude will be missed.

Laurie D. Borman
SATW Past President

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Tyler Davidson published a tribute .

So glad I got to know, you, Lee. You were a true gentleman, expert writer and editor, and credit to your profession. Going to miss you. Thanks for all of the great conversations, and reads, over the years. I especially liked your stories about growing up in Minnesota. RIP.

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Carol Godwin published a comment .

Lee was one of the first to welcome me, a new Active member in 1989, to the Society. He remained a friend, always available to share his knowledge and well practiced tips, a pleasure to travel with. I will miss his presence among us.

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Kristin Henning published a tribute .

I'm so sorry to hear of Lee's passing. In our first and only encounter, we became great buddies, sharing so many threads–Minnesota, Omaha, publishing––and embracing changes in the world of writing and travel.

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David Molyneaux published a tribute .

Years ago when we were rebuilding the board of directors of the Society of American Travel Writers Foundation, I made a list of SATW members who might share expertise about the connection between quality travel writing and the millions of people whose lives are influenced by what they, and others, read. The Foundation oversees judging of the annual Lowell Thomas Travel Journalism Awards, which are designed to recognize, reward, and encourage outstanding work in the field.

We were looking not only for top travel journalists, but also for leaders who understood travel writing from the consumer’s position. Lee was on my short list. I was grateful when he agreed to join the board, which he served with distinction.

Lee Foster was an expert in how to make a living from the work he loved. He encouraged careers by other writers, whom he helped see the world from both sides of the camera. He was a kind, gentle leader.

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Gene Meyers published a tribute .

I was very saddened by Lee’s passing. Being a software engineer, I was impressed by how Lee was always an early adopter of the latest technologies and incorporated them into his writing and photography. We also shared a common interest in self-publishing. We sometimes shared a booth at the now defunct annual San Francisco book fairs and enjoyed talking shop and comparing notes about the ins and outs of self-publishing and book promotion. I will miss him.

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Bill Helsel published a tribute .

I've known Lee for about 40 years as a friend and fellow photographer, and found him always kind, generous, and humble. He was also one of the hardest-working, most determined, and disciplined people I've ever known. My favorite memories of him include a traditional Dutch New Years Eve celebration at Lee and Anke's home, their coming to Margaret's and my wedding in Tilden Park in 1984, Christmas Eve parties at our house, and Lee cooking me lunch with his new solar reflector cooker. We will miss him.

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Ed Church published a tribute .

Lee and I occupied the same locker row at the Downtown Berkeley YMCA. His passing coincides with the closure of those lockers due to COVID. That space was one of those that allowed informal, chance conversations, of which he and I had many. No doubt such spaces were the mainstay of travel writers and are now gone. Perhaps it is fitting to mark his passing at this time. I will miss him.

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Chris Christensen published a tribute .

Here is a photo from the one time Lee and I traveled together. Lee learning how to ride a Segway.

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Steve Callan published a tribute .

Kathy and I had the pleasure of meeting and spending time with Lee at last year’s OWAC conference in Siskiyou County. He was not only a prolific writer but also a kind and gentle soul. Lee will be greatly missed.

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Max Edleson published a tribute .

Lee was my uncle and he was always so encouraging and kind.

Here is a tribute to this great man:

Eulogy for Lee Foster

I took a moment to pick flowers in honor of Lee this morning.

While saddened by the news of Lee's passing,
it is easy to celebrate and cherish a life so generously lived.
His warm smile and hearty laugh come quick to mind.
If ever there was someone who looked on the bright side of life, it was Lee.
His mission was to share his sense of adventure with the world,
To help others recognize the breathtaking vistas and the rich cultural fabric
that surrounds us in our daily life as well as in our travels.
He had a gift for ritual.
Whether sitting on his deck or around his table,
he gave us the opportunity to sit for a while,
to share a glass of white wine, crackers, and cheese,
and to reminisce on this special gift that it is to be alive.
Like flowers in a bouquet, he brought and brings us together,
helped to give each of our unique souls identity as a family.
His legacy will live eternally for he was a sower of seeds.
He cast his seeds of hope and joy wide upon the earth.
He tended his garden with words, images, and celebratory moments.
He watered it with kindness.
And now he leaves a fertile legacy for future generations to propagate his joy for life.

Thank you Lee. We will miss you. You have given us a great gift.
May your soul fly free in the mists that surround the golden gate bridge,
may it glow with the sunshine that ripens the fruit of the vine,
may it reflect in the moonlight that graces the waters of the Bay,
and may you continue to celebrate the mythic landscape you have helped to create.

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John Poimiroo published a tribute .

Of the many words used to describe Lee Foster, the most commonly used is "Kind."

Kindness was a hallmark of the gentle giant I considered to be a dear colleague and friend. He was a giant not just in stature, but in everything about him: the way he treated others, his extraordinary body of work, the many prestigious awards he received, his dedication to craft, his generosity in teaching others what he pioneered, his great talents as a reporter, observer, photographer and philosopher, and his ability to innovate and lead travel communicators to online and self-publishing.

I will miss his wit, his guidance, and his love of discovering the new and untold within our golden state. But mostly, I will miss his friendship.

Each autumn, Lee and I would choose a different place to venture in search of California's gold, whether it be waiting in chill air at 9,225' on the shore of North Lake in the Eastern Sierra to capture aspen leaves backlit by the last rays of sunlight or in Quincy at the old county courthouse while framing it with drapes of bright yellow big leaf maple leaves. I was often his model, wearing a red jacket so that he'd have a spot of color in his Kodachrome slide.

Lee often spoke of his family and how important each of them was to him. While traveling somewhere or over meals, we'd share stories of our families, how proud we were of them and how difficult it was to be away from them. I know that he was never far from those he loved or they from him. He will always remain close to my heart.

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Ann Purcell published a comment .

John! What a wonderful tribute, and so beautifully written! Lee would have thanked you also. How I wish he could know how many people remember him with a smile! Again, thanks, dear friend!
Ann Purcell

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Sally Moore published a tribute .

Having traveled the world many decades with Lee as a friend and fellow travel writer, I came to respect his intellect and his boundless enthusiasm for discovery, whether for a new destination or a developing technology. He will be missed.

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George P Post published a tribute .

A favorite from the Travel section of my bookshelf. Autographed copy!

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Claire Walter published a comment .

Mine too.

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Claire Walter published a tribute .

All who knew Lee held him in the highest regard. My favorite is when we were with a small group in China, visiting the Forbidden City. I like to stay a bit away from the group so that I am not drawn into a guide's commentary. I'd rather look and absorb, and look up facts and figures later. The result is that I am a bit behind everyone else. I would always find the group because Lee's Tilley hat stood above the crowd. Just as Lee himself, was head and shoulders taller in so many ways.

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Jim Gebbie published a tribute .

I met Lee in the early 1980s when I was working for Pacific Travel News. We both joined SATW and BATW and became good friends traveling together and attending travel-related functions. I started working with him in 2003 going to his house in Berkeley on a weekly basis. Later it was monthly. I loved working for him and breaking for lunch. What great conversations we had! Lee was kind, funny, and very generous. He truly was an innovator and was willing to share whatever he learned with anyone who wanted help. We were good good friends and I miss him dearly. Today (7-23-20) would have been Lee’s 77th birthday. Happy birthday, Lee!

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Greg Vaughn published a tribute .

It was a pleasure and a privilege to know Lee, both as a professional colleague and as a friend. I really admired that he was an early adopter of digital and online opportunities for travel journalists. Lee was one of the first to get into the web world, and he freely and enthusiastically shared his knowledge and experience about websites, self-publishing, and producing apps. Perhaps most all, however, I remember Lee as one of the nicest people I have ever met.

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Larry Larsen published a comment .

What a class act. Lee was one of the first people that I met in SATW about 20 years ago when I joined. He was everyone's friend and will sadly be missed by all of us! I'll miss his wit, friendship and his sharing of ideas and expertise in many areas of our profession. My condolences to his family.

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Julie L. Kessler published a tribute .

Lee was a kind and generous person. May his memory always be a b blessing.

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George Moore published a tribute .

He lifted up the people around him and always said something that made me feel good. He was a kind always and positive. He loved his Grandchildren very much and his family too but his eyes sparkled when talking about visits with the grandkids.
Condolences to his family .
George Moore
Locker Neighbor Berkeley Y.

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Kristine Carber published a tribute .

What a good man. I’ve known Lee for more than 20 years and never saw him angry or critical. He was always positive and had a warm welcome and a kind word for everyone. And what talent. He will be missed

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Nita Winter And Rob Badger published a tribute .

We just learned about his passing through a post on BAIPA. We have known Lee Foster for decades through the photo world and cherished the opportunity to reconnect and work with him on the BAIPA board. He will be sorely missed. He was so talented, smart, creative and generous with his knowledge. Such a gentle and kind giant in his world.

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Mary Bergin published a tribute .

I met Lee during a major career transition, from tired newsroom editor at a daily in Madison to hopeful freelance writer, eager to be her own boss. Lee was one of three mentors whose steady guidance and moral support made such a positive difference. I am proud to have known him.

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Carole Terwilliger Meyers published a tribute .

I’ve known Lee for a long time. We crossed paths many times early on as we both wrote and published travel books in the city in which we both reside, Berkeley. But I first remember hearing about him when one of my kids said someone in school had said their father was a travel writer, too, like me. At that time I thought I was the only one in town. Lee was always special fun to sit with during dinner at one of our large professional gatherings. When he was enjoying some wine, he spun tales that we all got so much pleasure from and that often made us laugh. Through the years our paths have crossed throughout the world. I am already missing his friendly face and will always remember him fondly. I am shocked that he has been taken from us so early.
This photo was taken of Lee by me in 2008 at Asilomar in Pacific Grove, California.

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Lee Daley published a comment .

I've known Lee for more than twenty years. He has been an incredible friend, a mentor, an inspiration and through it all, a loving person. I will miss him and his beautiful smile and demeanor. I remember especially a trip to Mammoth Lakes, where Lee was the catalyst who brought our group of four travel writers together as we explored the area. It was an honor to have known him.

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Bart Van Aardenne published a tribute .

Thank you to friends on Facebook pointing out that dad wrote his own obituary in 2007.

https://www.fostertravel.com/assistance-requested-in-writing-my-obituary/?fbclid=IwAR1qXYpoDx-HAdwUqoDgFZDK098Um1RA62eF7IOvU3_BhrmavLfRH-bLV70

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Bart Van Aardenne published a comment .

Considering he did request colleagues assist, please do send me any comments or contributions.
[email protected]

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Janis Flippen published a tribute .

Lee was always so nice and I enjoyed seeing him at SATW events. He would always stop at my table even though I didn’t represent a “sexy” destination. He would always try and get me coverage and I so appreciated that. He will be missed! Sending warm thoughts to his family and all of his friends.❤️

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Bart Van Aardenne published a comment .

What destination did you represent?

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Ron Hoefer published a tribute .

Every fathers dream is to witness the success of their children. I am certain you experienced this deep joy thus making life a rich experience...

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Barbara Steinberg published a tribute .

The last time I saw Lee was at our conference in Siskiyou County. Here's a photo by John Williamson of Lee presenting and sharing the knowledge of self-publishing and digital publishing. Always up for an adventure. I remember sharing lunch at Saul's Deli in Berkeley and a glass of wine at his kitchen table. He lived a life few can imagine. I hope to honor his memory by following his lead and his footsteps.

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Barbara Steinberg published a comment .

PS - Happy Birthday Lee - July 23rd!

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Wendy Haase published a tribute .

Lee was one of my favorite SATW actives. He always made the time to meet with me and talk about Irvine. I will miss seeing him. My deepest condolences to all who knew and loved him.

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Judy Reyes published a tribute .

So sorry to hear this. It was an honor to know Lee through BAIPA.

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Gloria (Gauthier) Louris published a comment .

So sorry we lost a friend and school mate.
Prayers for his family

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Karin Fisher-Golton published a tribute .

What a shocking loss. Lee was so full of life. I knew him through the Bay Area Independent Publishers Association. He was very knowledgeable and always happy to share what he knew. I'll miss his presence.

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Candy Harrington published a tribute .

My husband and I knew Lee for about 20 years, and he was the first to welcome us to BATW when we joined in 2000. Later I ended up doing the (print) newsletter and my husband did the database/website. To say it was stressful was an understatement, but Lee always had praise for our work, no matter how much it sucked. Professionally he was very supportive and always interested in my niche -- accessible travel. And I totally adored his wit and sense of humor. There was just nothing better than sitting down and having a glass of wine with Lee -- you never knew where the conversation would lead.

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Shelly Rivoli published a tribute .

Lee was so kind and generous with his knowledge and any advice that might help others. I'm so grateful I had the chance to get to know him over these past 5 years. He will be missed by many!

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Shelly Rivoli published a comment .

PS That's Lee on Lake Pokonobe at Mammoth Lakes in 2016.

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Pam And Mike Mirabella published a comment .

Our condolences to Lee’s family. He was our mentor publishing our children’s books and BAPIA colleague and friend. He was a very gentle soul and very willing to share his self publishing knowledge. We are grateful he had us to his home to share his passion and encouragement. Pam & Mike

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Erin Van Rheenen published a tribute .

I remember kayaking with Lee on Tomales Bay. The day was as mild as his character, and we made our way across the bay in companionable silence, birds calling and water dripping from the paddles. When Lee did speak, it wasn’t to chatter or fill space. He had things to say. He was a hard worker and a deep thinker; I enjoyed his “Minnesota Boy: Growing Up in Mid-America, Mid-20th Century” as well his innumerable and very useful travel pieces. In 2017 I hired him to review my web site, but it turned into a review of my life. He didn’t shy away from the big questions. In his assessment, he wrote me: “The balance between producing life-sustaining income and nurturing dreams rages in you, as is your and my fate as creatives.” Rage on, Lee, in your own quiet way. My love and condolences to his family, and all of his many friends. We will miss you, Lee!

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Suzie Rodriguez published a tribute .

Lee Foster was one of the kindest people I've ever known, always perceived and sought the good in people, and encouraged everyone to do what made them happy. He spoke frequently and with love of his sons and grandkids, and of the pain he felt at the loss of his daughter; I've always thought he must have been a wonderful father. I will always be grateful for our friendship and conversation.

Lee was fun, too, always up for an outdoor adventure, and an adept companion on a hiking trail. He inevitably wore his beloved and voluminous red jacket - in which he'd had a tailor construct large inner pockets to cart around gear -- and was a pro at carrying on a conversation from behind a large-lensed SLR or small phone camera. Here he is, with jacket and cameras, on a hike we took in Carmel in spring 2019. I will miss you, my friend.

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Bart Van Aardenne published a comment .

He was indeed a wonderful father! Thank you for your comments.

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Anne Mcquaid published a tribute .

So sorry to hear about Lee’s passing. I knew him in high school in Mankato, Minnesota.

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Arlene Miller published a tribute .

Lee, you were a great friend to me all the years I belonged to BAIPA with you. I treasure our conversations, and I will miss you dearly.

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