If a man’s life is measured by the impact he has had upon others, then Henry “Hank” Foster can rest easy knowing his life’s work has shaped and influenced generations. His time, care, and investment in the lives of young people as an educator in Plainfield, where he was born and raised, and within the church community at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, where he began as an acolyte in 1940, will continue to live on in the lives of the many he inspired along the way.
The oldest of three, Hank was born in Plainfield, New Jersey in 1935, to the late Frances and Henry C. Foster. Sharing a life with brothers Donald and Reginald, Hank enjoyed trips to Belmar, the only beach to allow blacks, and Philadelphia with lifelong friend Bobby Burgess. He excelled in track and field at Plainfield High School, achieving All-American status. He continued his education and athletic pursuits in both track and field and basketball at Butler University, located in Indianapolis, Indiana, where he was the first black player to play varsity basketball.
During college, Hank met his bride to be, Sharon Louise Enix, on a bus ride to a social event. The two were married in Indianapolis in 1957, and had three children: Henry Jr., Marcia Louise and Howard James. The Indianapolis 500 became the site of an annual gathering of the Enix and Foster families.
Hank received his bachelor’s degree in Sociology from Butler and his MBA from Kean University. He was a member of the Air Force Reserves and Kappa Alpha Psi. He continued playing basketball with the Essex County “Oldtimers” and longtime friend and like-minded inspirer, James “Jim” Summers.
Hank enjoyed his time with dear friend, Shirley Andrews.
The Neighborhood House, Camp Kilmer, Maxson Junior High School, Plainfield High School and Hubbard Middle School were all beneficiaries of his time and care.
If you ever left a voice message for Hank, then you know what mattered most.
“And how are the children? Remember, it takes a village to raise a child.”
He will be laid to rest Wed. June 10, 2020 in Franklin Memorial Park, North Brunswick. A memorial celebration will be held at a future date.
For more information visit Browns Funeral Home.