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Carol Foster, St. Petersburg organist and mother of former mayor, killed in car accident

Carol Foster, 83, descended from a founding St. Petersburg family.
Carol Foster, 83, died Sunday from injuries she suffered in a car accident. An accomplished pipe organist, she was a third generation St. Petersburg native and the mother of former Mayor Bill Foster.
Carol Foster, 83, died Sunday from injuries she suffered in a car accident. An accomplished pipe organist, she was a third generation St. Petersburg native and the mother of former Mayor Bill Foster. [ Photo courtesy of Bill Foster ]
Published Jun. 2, 2021
Updated Jun. 2, 2021

Carol Foster, 83, the mother of former St. Petersburg Mayor Bill Foster and an accomplished pipe organist, died from her injuries in a car accident Sunday.

A third generation St. Petersburg native, Mrs. Foster descended from the Garrick family, one of the city’s founding families and whose name is on a monument in Pioneer Park. She was a 1955 St. Petersburg High graduate — “Very proud Green Devil,” Bill Foster said by phone Tuesday — before attending St. Petersburg College, where she studied music.

She became an organist and made a family in St. Petersburg, playing the massive instruments in churches all over the city.

“She never left,” Bill Foster said. “Very proud of the city she loved. And she stayed here the whole time.”

In retirement, Bill Foster said his mother loved to read and travel. She and her husband, David Foster, who at 88 is still practicing law, traveled to Alaska and Europe.

And she was proud of her son for serving their city and never missed an opportunity to remind people who he was.

“Even seven years after being mayor, she’ll say ‘Well, you know my son was the mayor,’ “ recalled Bill Foster, who served from 2010 to 2014. “She was my biggest fan.”

The accident occurred Sunday at about 2:45 p.m. Carol Foster was the passenger in a Chrysler Town and Country minivan driven by her husband as it headed west on the Pinellas Bayway. David Foster attempted to turn south onto Leeland Street S but did so in front of an oncoming Toyota Tundra pickup truck, according to St. Petersburg Police. The two vehicles collided.

Both Carol and David Foster were taken to Bayfront Health St. Petersburg, where Carol died several hours later. David Foster was released from the hospital Tuesday. His son said he is doing well.

Detectives said impairment was not a factor in the crash and no criminal charges will be filed. The accident, which stopped traffic coming off the beaches for several hours Sunday afternoon, remained under investigation Tuesday.

Mrs. Foster is survived by her husband, David Foster; two children, Bill Foster (Wendy) and FayEllen Steelnack (Bob); four grandchildren, Carol Ann Pundsack (Christian), Adam Roebuck (Haley), Christine Carvin (Dan) and Will Foster (Ashley); and two great grandchildren, Ridge and Blair Roebuck. And Bill Foster said the family is growing, with more children expected this summer.

The family will announce plans for a memorial service soon.