The very large life & legacy of Ed Foster

Ed Foster (right) with college roommate Joe Wylie of the Portland Thunder, after the Vulcans-Thunder game, 1975
Ed Foster (right) with college roommate Joe Wylie of the Portland Thunder, after the Vulcans-Thunder game, 1975

Ed Foster was an offensive tackle at the University of Oklahoma from 1970-73, and was an All-American in 1973 as well as team captain.  When Foster’s collegiate career ended, he was drafted by the Jacksonville Sharks of the WFL, as well as the New England Patriots of the NFL. Ed signed with the Sharks and quickly established himself as a fixture on the offensive line. Unfortunately, the Sharks organization wasn’t on as stable footing as their offensive line was. The team folded 14 games into the season, leaving Foster and many other players in limbo. Fortunately, Foster was quickly signed by the Southern California Sun for the remainder of the 1974 Season. In 1975 Foster signed with the CFL, but roster rules regarding the number of Canadian and American players on the CFL roster resulted in Foster being released. His inactivity was quite brief as the Birmingham Vulcans called and signed Foster. The 1975 WFL season was already beginning, but Foster had no trouble gaining a place on the offensive line at left tackle and, once again, became a pillar of the O-line. Foster was a starter through the abbreviated 1975 season when the WFL abruptly folded and ceased operations.

After Ed’s football career ended, he and his family moved to Norman Oklahoma where he established a career in specialty insurance as a business owner and chartered life underwriter. He also was active in coaching youth sports for over 30 years, as well as taking an active part in the ministry in his church and on the mission field.

On May 15, 2015, Ed Foster left this world, as a result of a heart attack, but his influence is still felt by those who knew him or were impacted by his work for his community, his church, and his Lord.

Some time after Foster’s death, a collector of WFL memorabilia, known to this blogger, made contact with Kim Foster, Ed’s widow, and, quietly, without fanfare, sent Kim 2 items that Ed wore during his playing days in the WFL; his Southern California Sun jersey and his Birmingham Vulcans helmet.

Kim continues to care for their 5 children and 8 grandchildren. On a trip with one of her sons this past September, the traveling party made a brief stop in Birmingham, visiting venerable Legion Field, to visit one of the last places that Ed played professionally. One of their grandsons (and Ed’s namesake) is pictured on the same field where his grandfather played over 40 years ago.

To quote a passage in Ed’s obituary, In every area of his life, Ed encouraged others with his strength, gentleness, wisdom, and wit. He lived out his favorite scripture: “He has shown you, O man, what is good; And what does the LORD require of you but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?” Micah 6:8.

Even though I missed the “feature film” that was Ed’s life and work, the 30-second trailer has been enjoyable to witness, thanks to Kim’s faithful narrative.

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