Former Thanet College lecturer and course leader Richard Foster has died, aged 75, after a short illness.
Richard Spencer Foster was born in St Helen’s, Merseyside, on April 18, 1944, the younger of two sons to William and Eleanor. His brother John, 10 years his senior, became a well-known chef and restaurateur in the South West of England, but it’s fair to say Richard missed out on any inherited culinary skills!
After attending Queen Elizabeth’s Grammar School in Blackburn, Richard started work and soon became a senior manager, working for large companies such as Walls Ice Cream, Dansk, Texaco and Amoco.
He met Kristin through friends in Hull in 1966 and they married two years later, moving first to Southend, then to Cornwall, Birchington and finally Broadstairs, a town which Richard loved for the remainder of his life.
Twin sons Edward and Stephen were born in 1972. After gaining and losing a number of senior management roles, Richard sought employment abroad and started working in Saudi Arabia in 1979, just as the Saudi economy was booming.
He was employed as office/HR manager for large construction companies and was involved in the building of the international airports at Riyadh and Jeddah, as well as major infrastructure projects such as the network of desalination plants.
After his employer went into liquidation in 1986, Richard returned to the UK, where – as a man in his early 40s and without any higher education qualifications, at a time when they were a requirement – he struggled to find appropriate employment, working as a gardener for Thanet District Council, to make ends meet.
Richard and Kristin separated in 1988. In 1995, Richard took a gamble and started a degree course at the University of Kent at Canterbury, where he studied Accountancy with Computing. Here he found his niche, working hard to achieve a Second Class Honours degree and subsequently being offered a lecturing role at Thanet College in Broadstairs.
Richard then spent several years teaching accountancy and computing at the college, becoming very popular with his students and colleagues. He eventually left that role at the age of 67.
Not being one to want to give up work completely, he joined son Edward and daughter in law Christina at their law firm in East Kent as assistant practice manager, initially part time and then full time, overseeing the day to day running of the office network.
A heavy smoker and drinker for over 50 years, Richard understandably suffered with his health in later life, and was forced to retire in April 2018, just before his 74th birthday.
After a series of falls at his Granville Road, Broadstairs, flat, he was admitted in May 2019 to Deal Hospital and then to St Winifred’s Care Home in Deal, where he died peacefully on August 1.
Richard’s funeral takes place on Monday. September 2 at 3.15pm at Thanet Crematorium, with a wake afterwards at the Bay Tree Hotel in Broadstairs. Richard’s colleagues and friends are welcome to attend.