September 23, 2019 — Fr. Thomas W. Foster, S.J., one-time teacher at Bellarmine College Preparatory and pastor of San Jose’s Holy Family parish, died September 20, 2019 at Regis Infirmary, Sacred Heart Jesuit Center, Los Gatos after a long illness. He was 81 years of age, a member of the Society of Jesus for 57 years and a priest for 47 years.
He was born on New Year’s Day, 1938 in Rawalpindi, then a part of pre-partition India, now in Pakistan. He spent a few years in Sumatra and later attended St. Joseph’s College, a high school operated by the Marist Brothers in Sydney, Australia, graduating in 1956. He came to the U.S. and attended Menlo College, Menlo Park, CA, 1957-1959, and transferred to Santa Clara University, where he graduated in 1961 with a degree in Biology. After a year at the University of Oregon, he entered the Jesuit Novitiate at Los Gatos in September of 1962.
His Jesuit training took him to St. Louis University, for his philosophy degree and to Regis College, Willowdale, Ontario, for his theology training. He was ordained to the priesthood in St. Mary’s Cathedral, San Francisco, on June 10, 1972.
Tom taught biology, chemistry and mathematics at Bellarmine Preparatory, 1966-1969, and again 1972-1976. He then went into pastoral work as pastor and leader of team ministry at Holy Family Church, San Jose, 1976-1988. He served as a retreat director at the Jesuit Retreat Center of Los Altos (El Retiro), 1988-1994, before becoming associate pastor of St. Joseph’s Church, Capitola, 1994-1998. He was associate pastor at St. Agnes Church, San Francisco, 1998-2000. He was very active in the charismatic movement throughout his ministry.
He was assigned to Sacred Heart Jesuit Center in 2000, serving first as assistant to the superior. As his Parkinson disease developed, he moved to the infirmary for a ministry of prayer and presence in the community.
He was predeceased by his brother, William. He is survived by a niece, Christine Foster Li of Los Gatos and a nephew, James, of Truckee.
Mass of Christian Burial will be held Saturday, September 28, 2019 at Holy Family Church, 4848 Pearl Avenue, San Jose 95136, with burial at Santa Clara Mission Cemetery, 490 Lincoln Ave., Santa Clara 95050.
Contributions in memory of Fr. Foster may be made to Jesuits West Province, P.O. Box 68, Los Gatos, CA 95031 or to a charity of your choosing.