Friday, May 25, 2018
News Roundup

Retiree colored his world with scores of cross-stitch portraits

SUN CITY CENTER — Bob Foster usually got out of bed by 5:30 a.m. to take his 2-mile walk around his retirement community. He had stayed active all his life, as if he found movement more comfortable than rest.

Mr. Foster had capped off a career in the textbook business traveling the country. He visited Europe many times in retirement, hitting several countries in succession.

His idea of retirement included 10-hour shifts as a dispatcher and driver for the Sun City Center Emergency Squad, tending to patients who experienced everything from fainting spells to heart attacks to car crashes.

His hands kept moving even as he sat, knitting scores of cross-stitch portraits and scenes that took months to complete.

Mr. Foster, a busy man with a calm center, died Friday at South Bay Hospital. He was 81.

He had been moving and adapting all his life. Mr. Foster was born in 1930 in Saginaw, Mich., the youngest of six children. He was an infant when his mother died and went to live with cousins.

The aunt who had cared for him died. He served four years in the Air Force during the Korean War, including more than a year on tiny Johnston Island in the Pacific Ocean.

Mr. Foster married Nancy Bonvouloir, whom he dated in high school. They had six children.

He graduated from the University of Michigan, then managed textbooks at a campus bookstore. He spent the last 15 years of his career in Lincoln, Neb., traveling and buying college textbooks.

That is where his interest began in a form of cross-stitching, sewing X-shaped stitches through evenly spaced holes to create patterns.

"You might be traveling through a big city," said Nancy Foster, 79. "You've worked all day and you're exhausted. You come into your hotel room. You don't want to go down to a bar. So instead of trying to read a little or watch a little TV, you do this."

Mr. Foster sewed floral designs and pastoral scenes over printed patterns. Over time, he began stitching Santas as Christmas gifts. For a daughter's wedding, he cross-stitched Georges Seurat's A Sunday on La Grande Jatte.

"I know women loved to do it," his wife said. "I've never met another man who took the pain and the carefulness that Bob did."

He undid all mistakes. "I'd say, 'Honey, it's just sky. So your cloud is a little bit lopsided. He'd say, 'That's not what the pattern is.' "

Though he seemed to have slowed down the past year, Mr. Foster had seemed in good health. Two days before he went to the hospital, he had taken his morning walk.

Sympathy cards flooding in invariably mention his kindness. Mr. Foster had recently completed a Santa Claus cross-stitch for a long-lost cousin from his childhood. Stitching in the folds of Santa's suit tested Mr. Foster's eyesight, calling for subtle distinctions in differing shades of red thread.

Andrew Meacham can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 892-2248.

Comments
He is accused in 13 Gulfport vehicle burglaries. An ankle bracelet tipped police off.

He is accused in 13 Gulfport vehicle burglaries. An ankle bracelet tipped police off.

GULFPORT ó An 18-year-old man, wearing an ankle bracelet, was arrested Thursday after he was accused of breaking into 13 cars in a one-block radius over the last week.Benjamin Langkamp Jr. faces 13 charges of vehicle burglary ó each of which occurred...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Warrant issued for Tampa suspect in January slaying

Warrant issued for Tampa suspect in January slaying

TAMPA ó Hillsborough County deputies have identified the suspect in the fatal shooting of a man in January.Deputies are searching for 23-year-old Javon Rakeem Turner, who is wanted in the death of 22-year-old Elijah Moore on Jan. 17.According to depu...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Willy Adames goes back to AAA, leaving Rays with ďa lot to be excited aboutí

Willy Adames goes back to AAA, leaving Rays with ďa lot to be excited aboutí

Willy Adames' first stint in the major leagues ended as planned Thursday night when he was optioned back to Triple-A Durham at the end of his planned three-game cameo filling in for new father Joey Wendle.Adames said going back down was "tough" even ...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Steve Yzermanís summer plans: Make the Lightning better

Steve Yzermanís summer plans: Make the Lightning better

TAMPA — Captain Steven Stamkos said the Lightning's window for contending for a Stanley Cup championship is not closing."I think it's wide open," he said one day after the Lightning lost Game 7 of the Eastern Conference final to the Capitals.Ge...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Hurricane hunters to investigate potential tropical system that could drench Tampa Bay

Hurricane hunters to investigate potential tropical system that could drench Tampa Bay

TAMPAó A hurricane hunter plane will investigate the area of low pressure in the Caribbean this afternoon as the likelihood increased that it will become the hurricane seasonís first tropical system.The reconnaissance plane will fly over the area to ...
Updated: 1 hour ago

Fatal pedestrian crash closes SB lanes on U.S. 19 in Hudson

PORT RICHEYó The Florida Highway Patrol is investigating a fatal crash involving a pedestrian at U.S. 19 and New York Avenue, in Hudson. Troopers said a vehicle hit an unidentified pedestrian. One person has died, according to troopers.According to b...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Two accused of turning St. Petersburg test drive into carjacking

Two accused of turning St. Petersburg test drive into carjacking

MADEIRA BEACH ó Two men were arrested Thursday after a carjacking during a test drive led to a crash on Gulf Boulevard less than an hour later, according to the Pinellas County Sheriffís Office. According to deputies, 30-year-old Robert Gajate went t...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Indianapolis 500: How Danica Patrick changed racing

Indianapolis 500: How Danica Patrick changed racing

Tampa's Carlie Yent was at a racing banquet a few years ago when someone asked her to name the driver who influenced her the most.The answer was easy and obvious: Danica Patrick."She was someone I could look up to," Yent said, "and she was the most i...
Updated: 3 hours ago
After Danica Patrick, why arenít there more women in auto racing?

After Danica Patrick, why arenít there more women in auto racing?

If you assumed Danica Patrick's success would lead to a tidal wave of female drivers into racing's top series, you're not alone."I kind of thought the Danica thing would bring out a lot of people, honestly," said Tampa's Megan Rae Meyer, a 21-year-ol...
Updated: 3 hours ago
The Daystarter: Latest on potential tropical system; taking action along dangerous Bayshore Boulevard; Denis Philips talks hurricanes and beer; Memorial Day things to do

The Daystarter: Latest on potential tropical system; taking action along dangerous Bayshore Boulevard; Denis Philips talks hurricanes and beer; Memorial Day things to do

Catching you up on overnight happenings, and what to know today.ē Todayís forecast calls for warm and humid weather up until lunch time. Then in the late afternoon thereís an up to 80 percent chance of thundershowers and the rain wonít let up until ...
Updated: 4 hours ago