Wednesday, August 17, 2022

Stillman Allen Foster Jr., 82

| January 14, 2022 12:00 AM

Stillman Allen Foster Jr., Ph.D., passed away Jan. 11, 2022.

Allen was born on Nov. 10, 1939, in Pittsburgh to parents Stillman Allen Foster and Ruth Sherrard Foster. He joined his "older" sisters, Jane Elizabeth and Margaret Ann who had long wanted a baby brother. Allen graduated from South Hills High School in Pittsburgh in 1957 and Westminster College in New Wilmington, Pennsylvania, in 1961, where he met his future wife, Miriam. During his college years he was well known for being a serious student and a prankster. He followed the path of his father, grandfather and uncle in becoming a Presbyterian pastor. Allen graduated from Princeton Theological Seminary in 1964 where he won the New Testament prize, affording him and Miriam the opportunity to continue their life together in Scotland where he graduated with a Ph.D. from the University of Edinburgh. Their first son, a wee Scot, Stillman Allen Foster Ill, was born while they were in Edinburgh. After a short stay in West Germany, Allen accepted a one-year teaching position in the philosophy department at the American University in Washington, D.C., where their second son, Robin Wallace Foster, was born.

In 1966, Allen moved his family to New Castle, Pennsylvania, where he served the Highland Presbyterian Church and they were delighted to welcome their third child, daughter, Amy Ruth Foster. During his time in New Castle he was involved with various faith communities working to promote civil rights and the Office for Economic Opportunity. In 1972, Allen became the pastor of Southminster Presbyterian Church in Dayton, Ohio, as well as doing part time teaching at United Seminary.

Allen's final and longest pastorate was serving the congregation of Southminster Presbyterian Church in Mt. Lebanon, Pennsylvania, from 1984 to 2004. A quote from a proclamation by the clerk of session in 1994, halfway through his ministry there, might serve to demonstrate Allen's relationship with this congregation:

“His sound, scholarly interpretation of Scripture and his skillful application of it to the real problems of our times gives his preaching a memorable freshness and vitality. His sensitive and healing pastoral care provides comfort in times of greatest need to those of us who are bereaved or troubled, to a degree not often achieved by pastors. ...His administrative ability not only eliminates bureaucracy from our proceedings, but transforms session meetings from boring rituals to inspiring experiences ... "

In 2004, after a brief time as an interim pastor at Central Church in Summit New Jersey, Allen retired and he and Miriam moved to Whitefish where they had spent many summers and fell in love with mountain living. Not quite ready for full retirement, Allen continued his ministry leading retreats for Glacier Presbytery. During these years the pastors of Glacier Presbytery enjoyed a two week trip to Israel and many retreats at Glacier Camp on Flathead Lake.

Allen is survived by his wife, Miriam; his children, Stillman Allen Foster Ill, Robin Wallace Foster (Christine), and Amy Ruth Foster-Wexler (Steven), grandchildren, Michaela, Maya, Marley, Quinn and Ainsley; his special brother-in-law, Randell Bostwick; as well as many nieces, nephews, grandnieces, -nephews and his lifelong friend, Father Richard E. Ward.

Allen's family is especially grateful for the support they have received from Southminster Presbyterian Church, Whitefish Presbyterian Church and their new home, Immanuel Lutheran Communities.

A celebration of life service and interment will be held at Southminster Presbyterian Church in Pittsburgh when weather and health issues allow for safe travel.

Memorial tributes may be directed to Immanuel Lutheran Communities, Southminster Presbyterian in Pittsburgh or a charity meaningful to you.

Johnson-Gloschat Funeral Home is caring for Allen and his family.

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