In loving memory of Eleanor “Ellie” Speer Foster
Wednesday, May 11, 2011 at 10:32pm
In loving memory of Eleanor “Ellie” Speer Foster who died of congestive heart failure on April 27, 2011 in Santa Cruz, California. An activist, humanitarian, and dedicated advocate for peace and justice, Ellie was known and loved by many in and beyond the Santa Cruz community.
Ellie was born in 1926 in Milwaukee to Eleanor Garton and Rolo Clayton Speer. She received a B.A. from Redlands College in 1949, and completed an M.A. in Psychology in the 1980s. Following graduation from Redlands, she and her husband, Herb Foster, began a long and inspired life together as social activists. In 1949, Herb and Ellie moved to Vienna, Austria, to work with the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) helping WWII refugees. In 1952, they moved to Chicago where they served as directors of the Interns-In-Industry Program of Saul Alinsky’s Back of the Yards Movement.
After three years in Stockton, CA, they finally arrived in Santa Cruz in 1958. Devoted to improving the lives of children and youth, Ellie became the founding director of the Santa Cruz County Head Start Program and later served as director of the Santa Cruz YWCA. In the 1980s, she worked with UCSC’s Peer Counseling Center, and as a Marriage and Family Counselor.
Ellie was a lifelong Quaker, pacifist, and peace activist. In the early 1960s, Herb and Ellie started the Santa Cruz Friends Meeting, which first met in their living room on Miles Street. In the 1980s, Ellie was the local director of Witness for Peace, and she was involved in direct nonviolent action in Nicaragua.
She participated in many other nonviolent activist movements, including serving as co-founder and member of the Santa Cruz Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) and as a member of the Salt and Pepper Shakers Affinity Group during the Lawrence Livermore anti-nuclear action in 1983. Most recently Ellie participated with the Raging Grannies, an international peace organization.
Surviving Ellie Foster is her beloved family, including her husband of 62 years, Herb Foster, sons Ken and David Foster, daughter-in-law Margo McBane, grandchildren Monica Foster, Onawa Foster-Tannheimer, Bard Foster, and Etta Foster, and great grand-children, Leticia and Kobe Allen. Ellie was preceded in death by her daughter, Joan Foster, in 1973.
Memorial services for Ellie Foster will be held Saturday May 28th 3 pm at the Santa Cruz Quaker Meeting (225 Rooney St, Santa Cruz). A potluck will follow. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the Resource Center for Non-Violence: RCNV Donations, 515 Broadway, Santa Cruz, CA 95060; or American Friends Service Committee, 1501 Cherry St., Philadelphia, PA 19102(or online as gift in honor of a loved one: http://afsc.org/).
Linda's Hearth note: for folks not familiar with streets in City of Santa Cruz, Rooney St is off of Morrisey Blvd, DeLaveaga neighborhood.