Jeanne M. Foster, 82, of Salida died Nov. 22, 2021, surrounded by her companion of more than 30 years, Bill Newcom, and sons Tom and Rob.
She was born in Chicago, Illinois, to Marie and Fred Loshbaugh.
Friends and family said she lived life on her terms from beginning to end: She was fiercely independent, deeply believed in her strength and built a successful business in the 1970s when it was difficult for women to get support, financial backing or credit in their own name.
They said that did not stop Ms. Foster; she persevered and went on to run multiple businesses while raising three boys on her own.
She was active in national and local politics. Her family said she challenged the status quo, fought for the underdog and had more courage than most.
In 1978 she became the first woman commodore for FIBArk.
She was happiest working in the garden, studying the Civil War and participating in re-enactments or behind the wheel of her car navigating Colorado mountains, following up on real estate leads, conducting land surveys or ensuring her Strout Realty signs were still in place. Orange tape, a tape measure and ground stakes were always in her purse.
Family and friends said Ms. Foster will be remembered for her unfailing work ethic, knowledge of what seemed to be everything, running errands around Salida wearing her signature sunbonnet and the impact she made in Salida throughout her 51 years living in the same house.
They said she will also be remembered as a loyal and tough-minded companion, a small business owner whose opinion carried weight and a protective mother of three boys who went on to achieve their own success.
They said she believed “can’t” meant you didn’t want to, and we would only have what we could take care of in life.
Survivors include her longtime companion, Bill Newcom; sons Tom and Rob; daughter-in-law Kim; sister, Susan; nieces, Lynne and Sheri; grandchildren, Ashlyn, Zachary, Shirley Ann, Amanda Jo and LaRen; and many cousins.
Her graveside ceremony will be at 1 p.m. Nov. 27, 2021, at Fairview Cemetery, where she will be laid to rest next to her mother.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to FIBArk by volunteering time to help make the festival a success. Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Arrangements are with Lewis and Glenn Funeral Home in Salida.
Online condolences may be offered at www.lewisandglenn.com.