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Robert D. Foster
  • 96 years old
  • Date of birth: Jan 22, 1920
  • Date of passing: May 30, 2016
  • Place of passing:
    Colorado Springs, Colorado, United States
"Life is worth living, people are worth loving, God is worth trusting"

Robert Delos Foster was born in Los Angeles on January 22, 1920 to Delos and Sadie Ann Foster. Bob and his older sister, Catherine, grew up in Chicago where their father was Dean of Men at Moody Bible Institute.

At Wheaton College he asked Marion Bailey for a date and she agreed if he would accompany her to hear Dawson Trotman, a guest speaker on campus. Bob fell in love with Marion and they were married on December 9, 1943. Dawson Trotman would later become Bob’s role model and mentor in helping men become followers of Jesus Christ.

After Marion’s father died, they moved to Los Angeles to help manage the family plumbing business. Their four children, Bob, Janna, Dan and Rick were born during the years when Bob’s association with The Navigators began to grow.

In 1957, they moved to Colorado Springs to work full time with the Navigators at Glen Eyrie. Their home at 736 Panorama Drive was always open to friends and guests.

Bob and Marion had a growing desire to reach out to businessmen and their families by providing a quality vacation destination. In 1961, that dream became a reality at Lost Valley Ranch.

For many years, Bob served as Bible teacher for an adult class at First Presbyterian Church, Colorado Springs. He also served on the Board of Dallas Theological Seminary, Wheaton College and English Language Institute of China. His passion was helping people come to know Jesus Christ as their Savior and Lord.

After Marion’s death in 1996, Bob married Bev Paynter from Orange County, CA in 2000 and they shared ten wonderful years together.

Bob is survived by his four children: Bob (Karen) Foster, Janna Kay (Bill) Reynolds, Dan (Marilyn) Foster and Rick (Lucy) Foster; 12 grandchildren and 18 great- grandchildren. Nephew: John Williams

Bob believed: Life is worth living; People are worth loving; God is worth trusting.

A Memorial Service will be held at 2:30 p.m. Sunday, June 5 th at Sanctuary Church, 1930 W. Colorado Avenue.

In lieu of flowers, gifts for the Lost Valley Staff Scholarship Fund may be sent to Lost Valley Ranch, 29555 Goose Creek Road, Sedalia, CO 80135. Make checks to: Lost Valley Staff Scholarship Fund.

Memorial Tributes
This tribute was added by Lindy Colmer on 19th July 2016

"I first met Bob and Marion on a brochure when I was looking for a ranch vacation in 1988! Just from the picture on the cover Bob's face  radiated the love of God, even though I did not know then that he was a true man of God. During my many visits to Lost Valley in the years that followed I came to learn the love and grace he showed to all around him. I rejoice that he is now with his precious Lord."

This tribute was added by David Pullin on 2nd July 2016

"I went to the ranch as a rebellious teenager who disliked anything to do with Christianity and church. Bob had me washing dishes and pots and pans for a month! Bob was a wise, gentle and disciplined man. I loved him, and to cut a long story short, his input into my life led me to a deep and lasting commitment to our Lord. Bob's gentle but firm guidance instilled in me a work ethic and dedication to doing God's will. I have referred many things back to my time under his tutelage and also it was significant for my younger daughter who followed my path through Lost Valley."

This tribute was added by Scott Ewing on 27th June 2016

"In 1965, after reading a story about a ranch in Colorado, from the Oldsmobile Magazine, the Ewing's world began to change.  That summer, we drove to Lost Valley Ranch, spent a week in Heaven on Earth, met the Foster Family and a story of friendship and family began, as Mom and Dad got to know Bob and Marion.  We returned two years later in a private plane and spent another week at LVL.  A few years later, they stayed with us in Pittsburg, KS, on an interview routing and I knew, that my Dad, who read everything Louis L'Amour ever wrote, had found a new friend in "the ranch".  Jump to 1978, I left college for my real dream, to return to "the ranch", having raised Herefords growing up, and building more fence and hauled more hay than a child should have, with my brothers, it seemed the next step.  I met up with Bob, and his bear hug, and settled in with Terry W., Paul B., JJ., Rich, Suzie, and the staff for the year, working with Kenny, on Mobile Squad, joining the wranglers the next few summers.  
Bob held staff meetings, that treated us like sons and daughters, using his fireplace as the pulpit, and we always left, profoundly influenced by a man of God.  Then my first memorized Bible verse came to life:  2nd Corinthians 5:17 "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation, the old has passed away, behold all things have become new".  It stuck.  Big Bob really reached people in his encounters.  
That next summer, Bob took me for a walk, and convinced me to return to college and come back in the summers or whenever.  I did, and did well.  I carried the 2nd Corinthians 5:17 in my head/heart.  I used vaca time to return to "the ranch" during busy cycles of late July, early August.
He helped me get the job at Vista Verde, upon graduation, and to my wonder, Ben, ended up there after I left for Grad School.  I spent the fall of 93' there finishing a job search.  Prayed with TW and Ben on Friday, and the phone rang from SMSU Monday.  I am now 29 years into my profession, the Center for Student Leadership and Involvement" at Southwest MN State University the last 23 of those.  "behold, all things have become new".
I just spent a week with my brothers and family.  LVL comes up, every year we gather.  Thanks Big Bob, for making it stick!  We carry him forward now, all of us.  

Bobby, Janna/Billy, Ricky/Lucy, Dan/Marilyn, it was a good ride.  You dad may sure of it.  Forever missed, but ever present.

ScottE"

This tribute was added by Jim Hooker on 18th June 2016

"To the Foster Children....Your Dad and his 'little blue letter' "from the heart of a man to men" were blessings to me since my senior year in an Ohio High School back in 1972 when my American history teacher encouraged us students to write him and ask that we be put on the mailing list for his bi-weekly 'Challenge' newsletter.  The influence God had on 40 plus years of my life, through your Father's little newsletter, is beyond measure. As I sit here typing you folks this note, I thank God for the life of Bob Foster and you, his children, for sharing him with folks like me through the many years.  He touched so many lives and we will all miss him....and of course, 'the little blue letter'.  Jim Hooker, Mesa, AZ; formerly of Payne, OH and Wayne Trace Local School, Haviland, Ohio"

This tribute was added by Van Gates on 17th June 2016

"To the Foster family
Your family and Bob gave our family some wonderful experiences.   we visited the ranch several times and promoted the ranch locally to our friends.   To experience God and God's people in the Lost Valley manner is to be truly blessed.  We will  always remember how our hearts were touched.   It all started at Wheaton when my sister Sue Thorne graduated in a class with Bob Foster , her future husband John Thorne and Billy Graham.  What a blessing when Billy came down to Indiana a few days after graduation and married Sue and John. Bob was a legend and we were all blessed to know him.

Van and Jean Gates and family
South Bend, IN"

This tribute was added by Kenneth Achten on 13th June 2016

"Betty’s and my association with the Ranch started in 1974 when, at our Church prayer meeting, we expressed a prayer request  to Johnny Wondergem, a contractor for the Ranch, that we were looking for a different place of employment.  He arraigned a meeting with Bob and Marian at Browncraft Restaurant.  Little did we know we were going to meet with a Man of vision that had started a Guest Ranch with a Christian  Staff.  We learned the purpose of the Ranch was to provide the best family Ranch vacation for the guests, in a Christian atmosphere. This meeting resulted in my employment at the ranch for a life changing 28 years.  Bob not only had a heart for God and was a great Bible teacher and councilor , but was gifted in picking out the right  Staff to fulfill his dream.  At that first meeting, I never would have imagined the thousands of guests that would be saved by their association with the ranch and the number of summer staffers lives were changed by working at the ranch.  We remember hundreds of former staff “Kids” and still correspond with many.  Betty has six photo albums of former staff with pictures of  weddings, offspring, grandchildren, and etc.   Bob had touched the lives of thousands and thousands of people not only at the Ranch,  but with his publications, his Church and Sunday School Class, his affiliation with Navigators, with ELIC, and on boards of various Christian organizations and the vast number of friends.    During my many years of working at the ranch, there was always a member of the Foster family in charge of the ranch.  When in Colorado last July, I was able to visit the ranch briefly for lunch on Sunday.    Although the ranch is still operating with the same objective, it felt different to me that there was no member of the Foster Clan present.   Although I am 85 years old now and live in northern CA, I probably will never visit the ranch again.  I remember the first time I drove across the cattle guard and enjoyed the view of the valley below.  I still have dreams at night of trying to keep the physical facility the size of a small town, in a remote area with all its parts, operating. It’s like juggling without dropping one of the balls.  But by the Grace of God and the help of numerous right hand men and many members of the Mobil Squad and the guidance and tolerance of Big Bob and the foster Clan I somehow survived for 28 years.  I still visit the ranch in my mind and think of the great heritage the Foster Family has as a result of a great Christian man who had a vision that, with God’s Blessing, has multiplied into the Lost Valley Ranch Family of thousands of people all over the world."

This tribute was added by Kenneth Achten on 13th June 2016

"Betty’s and my association with the Ranch started in 1974 when, at our Church prayer meeting, we expressed a prayer request  to Johnny Wondergem, a contractor for the Ranch, that we were looking for a different place of employment.  He arraigned a meeting with Bob and Marian at Browncraft Restaurant.  Little did we know we were going to meet with a Man of vision that had started a Guest Ranch with a Christian  Staff.  We learned the purpose of the Ranch was to provide the best family Ranch vacation for the guests, in a Christian atmosphere. This meeting resulted in my employment at the ranch for a life changing 28 years.  Bob not only had a heart for God and was a great Bible teacher and councilor , but was gifted in picking out the right  Staff to fulfill his dream.  At that first meeting, I never would have imagined the thousands of guests that would be saved by their association with the ranch and the number of summer staffers lives were changed by working at the ranch.  We remember hundreds of former staff “Kids” and still correspond with many.  Betty has six photo albums of former staff with pictures of  weddings, offspring, grandchildren, and etc.   Bob had touched the lives of thousands and thousands of people not only at the Ranch,  but with his publications, his Church and Sunday School Class, his affiliation with Navigators, with ELIC, and on boards of various Christian organizations and the vast number of friends.    During my many years of working at the ranch, there was always a member of the Foster family in charge of the ranch.  When in Colorado last July, I was able to visit the ranch briefly for lunch on Sunday.    Although the ranch is still operating with the same objective, it felt different to me that there was no member of the Foster Clan present.   Although I am 85 years old now and live in northern CA, I probably will never visit the ranch again.  I remember the first time I drove across the cattle guard and enjoyed the view of the valley below.  I still have dreams at night of trying to keep the physical facility the size of a small town, in a remote area with all its parts, operating. It’s like juggling without dropping one of the balls.  But by the Grace of God and the help of numerous right hand men and many members of the Mobil Squad and the guidance and tolerance of Big Bob and the foster Clan I somehow survived for 28 years.  I still visit the ranch in my mind and think of the great heritage the Foster Family has as a result of a great Christian man who had a vision that, with God’s Blessing, has multiplied into the Lost Valley Ranch Family of thousands of people all over the world."

This tribute was added by Janice Jantzen on 8th June 2016

"In the early 1950's when I joined the Long Beach Servicemen's Center staff as a secretary, Bob Foster advised me re. my role, as he delivered me to Long Beach to work with Bob Newkirk and the Center gang.  I was always a bit in awe of him.  During my years at the Center, he began writing the Challenge.  Shortly after leaving the Center for The Navigators headquarters at Glen Eyrie, I was invited to go to The Navigators Servicemen's Center in  Wiesbaden, Germany.  Bob Foster was very kind to send a letter to many servicemen asking for them to help me financially, to which many of them generously responded!"

This tribute was added by Ben Martin on 8th June 2016

"You can add me to the list of many men who have been impacted by Big Bob's life. While I was disappointed that I could not attend the memorial service, I can authentically celebrate that Bob is home - I can't even imagine what that was like for him to see Jesus face-to-face.  After years of following Him, and walking beside others seeking to do the same, the sheer joy of feeling His embrace and hearing the words I know Bob was so excited to hear - "Well done, good and faithful servant" - must have been overwhelming.  Bob was able to make the mundane a mission, the ordinary a matter of eternal importance, and then teach others to do the same.  I am honored and humbled that Bob's influence carries on - not only through Lost Valley - but through Vista Verde, as well.  So honored to have had access to Bob and sit under his teaching and mentorship.  On a lighter side, I sure hope they hide the keys to the big equipment in Heaven - I'd like to see it before Bob changes the direction of the rivers, moves a few mountains that are "in the way", and makes some essential piles of dirt.... :)"

This tribute was added by Vangie Peterson on 7th June 2016

"When I think of Bob Sr., the word "infectious" comes to mind... You could not stay around the man without catching something.... Zest for life, love for God and people, an adventurous spirit, hunger for God's word, or just plain ol' full hearted laughter! I remember well during my four year stint at Lost Valley how his grandiose story telling on Monday mornings at The Trading Post ending with him yelling "MOTHER" and scaring the kids who were listening so intently out of their minds! It was our signal in the corral that we were about to be inundated with excited youngsters ready to mount up on their chargers for the first time of the week.
I grew up as a cowgirl in the coast range mountains of Oregon on my grandparent's cattle ranch and didn't even know Guest Ranches existed until I heard about them from my college roommate. Later, as a Sophomore in college, I traveled with my Navigators group, under the guidance of Darren and Gina Lindblom, to a Spring break conference at Glen Eyrie in CO Springs. While there, I visited with my brother's college roommate who was working there, and he told me about Lost Valley Ranch and how I would love working there.  Truer words were never spoken.... It was a match made in heaven. My first summer I spent 3 weeks as a cabin girl, 3 weeks as a waitress, 3 weeks as a kid Supervisor, 2 weeks as a Teen Supervisor, 3 weeks as a Teen Wrangler, and 3 weeks as a Wrangler... God used the first 6 weeks to bring me to a place of brokenness as I came to see my selfishness and depravity in a whole new light.  I discovered that I was fine to serve, as long as it was in a way that I wanted....
As I wept for hours on the Trading Post lawn late on a Wednesday night after walking back from the jail, I surrendered anew everything to the LORD, to be used as he saw fit.  The next 3 years saw me working at Lost Valley in my dream job.... Love others until they ask why, and then lead them to Jesus, from the back of a horse.  It just doesn't get any better than that!  I recruited my cousin, Vern to work with me my 2nd Summer, and after that my sister, DeeAnne, and have sent several other staff members their way over the years.... most recently, my cousin's daughter, Chelsea Reeher (now Schwab).  After graduating from college, I went to work there full time! One of my crew mates (Jason Peterson (JP)) ended up becoming my best friend, and as of May 25th, we have now been married for 20 years!  As newlyweds, we attended a Discipleship Training School with Youth With a Mission, and subsequently, went on staff with a new ministry of theirs called Cowboys With A Mission.  After 4 years of serving there and leading Discipleship schools to Australia, Morocco, and Mongolia, we transitioned into business, and still find great joy in serving in the hospitality industry, and in raising our 2 boys and 5 horses in the beautiful Rocky Mountains of Montana.  In October of 2014, after attending Jake and Chelsea Schwab's wedding at the Pond at Lost Valley, we got together with Bob Sr. and Jr. and Karen, and Bill Reynolds. It was a sweet time of fellowship and was a great opportunity for our boys to meet a family who have been so instrumental in our lives.  I am so grateful for that special time with you all and only wish Janna could have made it too! I remember with fondness Rick speaking to us at staff meetings, and him baptizing Dace Starkweather in the swimming pool. It was always fun when Dan came to visit as all, even though I didn't know him as well.  I remember great conversations with Marion as well, and her manual  for the cabin girls was a labor of love! When I think of Marion, I think of Col. 3:17.... Whatsoever you do, do it with all your heart, as unto the LORD, and not unto men....
Meeting the man you will one day marry in a place where you are not allowed to date is it's own special crucible.  I thank God and the Foster's and Reynold's for creating such a place as they co-labored with Heaven.  For me, Lost Valley was a refining fire, a labor of love, a place to lay down my life and receive it back again, a place of growth, discipleship, leadership development, a foundation for lifelong friendships, and because of Bob's vision, there are two Peterson boys named Levi James and Victor Lance who wouldn't be here without it...
Infectious, influential, innovative, unconventional (he interviewed Jason on the spot when he hadn't even filled out an application yet and was only accompanying a friend from college who was applying).... That was Big Bob! An icon, a servant.
He loved well. He laughed often. I know his reward is great!"

This tribute was added by Jimmy Carlson on 6th June 2016

"As I was traveling to attend Big Bob's memorial service, one word came to mind; Visionary. That word was repeated during the service multiple times. Not much on details. If you think Bob was attentive to details, you had not retrieved his road grader from a ditch. What he did was delegate the details to others while he kept his eye on the vision. We "others" were, In many cases, green, and he knew it. How many employers would have turned this nineteen year old loose with the ranch tractor trailer loaded with 20 head of horses for a first trip down the shelf road? Or entrusted 15 to 25 guests to a first year wrangler for an overnight pack trip into the middle of nowhere? Bob did, and I got stretched and grew. I will ever be grateful for Bob just turning me loose. For knowing that what he would ask of me would be bigger than me. And special thanks to Bobby, Janna, Rick and Dan for sharing their special father with me, a guy that spent seven of the best years of his life at a place called Lost Valley."

This tribute was added by darcy Bridgeman on 5th June 2016

"I shared the following on Instagram today:

Remembering the life of Bob Foster Sr.:

This man impacted Jeb and I's lives before we were born for in 1961, Bob began Lost Valley Ranch. His wife Marion prayed that the staff would find one's spouse there.  And Jeb and I met at Lost Valley Ranch in the summer of 2001.  Even though Marion had passed on a few years before, God was still honoring her prayer request.
Bob spoke prophetically into Jeb's life concerning his career and his wife-to-be, while his new bride, Bev, would mentor me during my time at the ranch.
Both would give us our premarital counseling and Bob would marry us on June 29, 2003.

Today, I am thankful for his devotion to Jesus, his vision for Lost Valley Ranch, both his wives Marion & Bev, and his faithfulness to finish the race strong.
#ooooaaaah #lostvalleyranch #remembering #agodlyman #weddingdayphoto"

This tribute was added by Cora Simpich on 4th June 2016

"We remember Bob's enthusiasm and love for the Lord. Oohaaaahhh! He knew we were getting married before we did. I applied for a job and he said no since I was engaged to Ragan Simpich. We got married that summer though we had planned to wait two years. In Ragan's wedding ring it says 'ahhh!' My mother saw it and thought it was part of Bob Foster's Oohahh and in a special way it was. He is in the land of Ahhh... now! The day Marion gave up her lunch for our late friend Dave Burgert also comes to mind. She ate soup while we enjoyed delicious chicken. Please pray for Dave while you think of Bob. We have not seen him for years. He is on America's Most Wanted List for shooting at sheriffs after they shot at him in Montana. Dave B became a chaplain while in prison. We tried to get him to work at the Lost Valley Ranch the day we came for lunch. We do not know the end of his story. We look forward to sitting in heaven and hearing the rest of the stories that come from the incredible hospitality of Bob Foster. We love your whole family. Your lives have had a great impact on ours. I have been making a joyful noise with the gutbucket now for over forty years because Ragan first saw one played at Lost Valley. May God bless you all. I will not be able to attend service because of work as a Certified Nurse Assistant. Love to hear more from all of you. Facebook is a good place to connect with us. We love singing on down the trail of life and many of the songs we sing were learned at Lost Valley Ranch."

This tribute was added by Kathryn Powers on 3rd June 2016

"Having worked closely with Bob in the hub (front office) of Lost Valley Ranch for two full years, I can say that we never had a bad day. Working with Bob was both interesting and uncomplicated. It was always about "catching the vision" he had for the ranch. And that, I did. I learned a lot from Bob, loved my work at Lost Valley, and  will always hold the fondest memories of him and the work we shared together."

This tribute was added by Sally Jayne Acosta on 3rd June 2016

"Big Bob was a bright light in this world. He was the kind of person that made you feel very important. He made me feel important when I was an awkward pre-teen, a college worker at Lost Valley and as an adult. He helped to create one of my very places on earth. It was a place that matured me in ways I needed to mature, showed me new ways to love and serve others and most importantly pointed me to Jesus again and again. Big Bob knew his Bible so well and that made a great impression on me. I will always be thankful for the ways in which Big Bob and Lost Valley impacted my life. He most definitely fought the good fight, finished and race and kept the faith."

This tribute was added by Jeff Stebbins on 3rd June 2016

"In 1978, my dad mistakenly thought Bob had offered me a job, so I showed up at Lost Valley Ranch in March. Bob was away on a trip, but I insisted I had a job, so they put me to work, even though (fresh out of high school and just arrived from overseas) I had no qualifications or proof that I'd been hired. When Bob returned, he kindly let me stay for six months. For a naïve missionary kid, it was the best possible transition to America! Bob was thereafter a mentor and friend, and when I married Beth, he invited us to have our honeymoon at LVR. Then, for over 30 years, he was our wise and godly advisor in all major decisions about our missions work. When we see Jesus, He will look somewhat familiar, for we saw Him in Bob each time we met."

This tribute was added by Scott Hall on 3rd June 2016

"Bob Foster Sr. was one of the greatest influences in my life and I would not be where I am today if God had not used Big Bob in my life.
We first crossed the Lost Valley Ranch cattle guard the summer of 1972. Little did I know that family vacation would forever change my life. Big Bob was bigger than life! I was sitting up at the pool with my parents and he came up and sat with us. He told us "This vacation will change your lives in ways you may not see today...but you'll look back and understand what I mean". WOW!!! God used Big Bob with me, my family and so many others I'm sure have similar stories. It didn't end there. It was that same trip I approached Big Bob and it became my mission to work at Lost Valley. He told me about the teen program and 5 summers later, that dream happened. Through all of my ups and downs as a lost young man...Bob and Marion stuck with me, they loved me and invested in my life. The investment was eternal. Bob's impact was just as great with Peter Vincent, my wife Ellen's dad, whose life was changed during a pack trip. That trip was catalyst that brought Ellen to the ranch as well as all of our daughters. They are all walking with the Lord as a result of the Fosters investment in our lives.
I could write a book of my favorite memories of Big Bob. Two of my favorite memories were in 2008 and then again a couple years ago in California. It was late summer in 2008 and I was in between jobs when Bob Jr graciously agreed to have me come up to the ranch, clear my head and help out in the coral for a couple weeks.  Big Bob spoke to us at staff meeting. As I was talking with him after he spoke, another staff member walked up to meet Bob. Without missing a beat, he asked the staff girl...."Do you know when I first met this guy to talk about a job?" and I thought...I know he is going to get this wrong. Of course, I was wrong. He remembered the date, the hotel, me having a mustache...WOW. The last memory I have of Big Bob, which I cherish, was in Southern Cal when I met him at Mimi's for dinner. I asked if I could pick him up and he told me he would meet he there. When I pulled up, he had pulled his car up on the curb with a flat tire. I couldn't help but think of similar situations with the road grader. He was sitting on the bench outside, with that famous grin on his face. I had to chuckle, cause I wouldn't have expected less, and he gave me that quick laugh as he always did. He brought so much joy into my heart then and always. His wisdom, and advice are etched in my heart. "Base your life on principle...not expediency. Live by conviction...not convenience"...my favorite Big Bob quote.
I will forever hold a special place in my heart for Big Bob. They don't make them like that any more. He was God's man, a true servant for Christ and I was privileged to call him my mentor and friend."

This tribute was added by Rick White on 3rd June 2016

"In 1993 Bob graciously treated us to an incredible lunch at the top of the Shangri La Hotel in Hong Kong. (a real treat for 2 ELIC teachers after 5 months in Jiangxi Province!) What impacted us the most that day, however, was the love and care Bob showed his wife Marion, who was  in the beginning stages of Alhzeimers. We'll never forget that afternoon and the beautiful, clear reflection of the Lord Jesus we saw in Bob."


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