Henry Sessam Foster, Jr., born March 1, 1944 in Memphis, TX to Henry Sessom Foster and Anna May Ball Foster, passed away Wednesday, March 13, 2019 in Carrollton, TX following an extended illness. Thanks to many prayers, his faith in God, and his sister Cheryl’s stem cells, Henry overcame leukemia in 2013.
Services will be at 11 a.m. Friday, March 22, at Wilshire Baptist Church Chapel, 4316 Abrams Road, Dallas. Interment will be in Fairview Cemetery in Memphis, TX.
Henry is survived by his wife, Elaine C. Foster of Carrollton; daughter Karen Sue Orndorff and husband Jerry of Fort Worth; son Robert Henry Foster and wife Janee’ of Allen; granddaughters Britni Gray of Midland and Emma and Lauren Foster of Allen; great-granddaughter Emerie of Midland; step-children Stacey Starkey and husband John of Irving; Matthew McKinley and wife Charla of Cary, NC; Tom Paniszczyn of Lewisville; and Lesley Paniszczyn of Corpus Christi; step-grandchildren Gerilynn Blanchard and husband David of Crowley, Jessica Starkey of Irving; Jack and Kate McKinley of Cary, NC; step great-grandson Damyon Blanchard of Crowley; sister Cheryl A. Foster of Virginia Beach, VA; a number of cousins who were special to him; and a legion of friends.
Henry attended elementary school in Memphis, TX and in 1962 graduated from Abilene High School where at 6’ 6” he lettered in basketball.
After his 1966 graduation from US Military Academy at West Point, NY, Henry was commissioned to the US Air Force. After training at Reese Air Force Base, his first mission was to teach cadets to fly at the Air Force Academy at Colorado Springs, CO. In 1971, he volunteered to serve as a pilot in Vietnam. After military service, Henry farmed on family land several years before attending Texas A&M University where he earned an MS (1977) and a PhD in Agricultural Economics (1980).
For 24 years, Henry worked as a survey sampling statistician. His career took him to Washington DC twice: first as a cotton analysis for USDA Economic Research Service and later for USDA National Agriculture Statistic Service where he did cattle projections. In between his stints in DC, Henry worked for the USDA Regional Inspector General. His last career move was back to Dallas to work for FDIC.
Henry became a pilot at age 13, and flying remained a lifelong hobby and avocation. He built a gyro-plane and taught many others to fly the tiny aircraft, a cross between an airplane and a helicopter.
A lifelong Baptist, Henry had a passion for foreign missions. One year, his mother asked what he wanted for Christmas. He said that he did not need anything and to give the Lottie Moon Offering whatever amount of money she had planned to spend on him. As an adult, Henry continued to support missions through Corporative Baptist Fellowship.
December 10, 2012, Henry and Elaine met at a dinner dance. They have done a lot of living, traveling, and dancing since then. She loved it when he said, “Whacha doin’, Mrs. Foster?”
Henry’s favorite pastimes were dancing, reading, singing, playing the piano, doing financial research, and spending time with family. His favorite dance was West Coast Swing: Dallas Push Style. He was a dance host for numerous area senior centers and Marilyn Meyers Dance Connection Club. He volunteered in the ballroom dance program at Reverchon Recreation Center in Dallas. A life-long blood donor, he encouraged others to be blood, stem cell, and organ donors.
Henry was a member of Wilshire Baptist Church where he sang in New Song Choir. He was also a member of Texas Rotorcraft Association and Experimental Aircraft Association. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to Cooperative Baptist Fellowship (www.cbf.net) for their global missions program or to any other charitable organization