Lucyella Johnson Foster, 103, of Harrisburg died Sunday, Oct. 16, 2022 at Harrisburg Medical Center.
She was born July 16, 1919, in a farmhouse in Big Ridge south of Harrisburg. She was the daughter of Roscoe F. and Nell (Walker) Johnson and the granddaughter of George F. and Ella (Dixon) Johnson and Richard and Lucy (Gibbons) Walker.
When she was about 1 year old the family bought several acres on the one-lane brick road in Garden Heights where she lived until her marriage except for a few years. She was taught to read before she was three and spent hours reading to her blind grandmother, Lucy Walker. During the temporary economic boom, the family lived partly in Gary, Ind., where her father worked in the steel mills, and also in Harrisburg.
Because of the family traveling back and forth, she often spent a few weeks each fall as a student at the Pankeyville school. When in Gary, she was home schooled by her mother. In the fifth grade she became a regular pupil at Pankeyville where she and the other student, John Bramlet, graduated eighth grade. Four years later she graduated as the valedictorian from Harrisburg Township High School, in 1937 in the days before school buses. She graduated from SINU with both an elementary and high school certificate to teach. Later she earned her masters from SIU, adding a certificate to teach junior college.
During her college years she was active in the Latin and French language clubs as well as the school dramas in which she played various roles.
On Nov. 10, 1939, she and John Franklin Foster II were united in marriage. They shared their interest in history and old-time crafts until his death on May, 1, 1984. During World War II she taught briefly at North Wilford and then three years at the Ridge High School. After her husband returned from active duty and the Marine occupation of Japan, they lived for two years in California, where he attended the Brooks Institute. She taught in the Carpenteria School for those two years. She began teaching at Harrisburg High School in 1957 and retired in 1982. In retirement she taught for the University of Evansville in
England as well as tutoring and home schooling students in Latin.
She will be remembered for teaching high school aged girls in Sunday school and for longtime committee work in memorials, and the Bottomley Scholarship at First Methodist Church of which she was a member.
She was a charter member of the Saline County Historical Society and with her husband and the society helped to establish the museum. She is well known for her skills as a seamstress, a quiltmaker, a pioneer craftswoman including spinning, knitting, weaving, and the ancient craft of net darning.
She was a world traveler, visiting most of the countries of Europe and also China, Japan, Fiji, New Zealand and Australia. Her collection of nativity scenes numbered more than 80. She actively supported the schools and the community until age slowed her down.
Preceding her in death in addition to her husband, parents and grandparents are her daughter, Charlotte Michal (Foster) Berry; son John Franklin Foster III; sister Willa (Johnson) Brown; parents-in-law Fanny Foster and John F. Foster I; sisters-in-law Noveda Norman and Catherine Ingram; niece Kay (Brown) Turner; and nephew Dennis Brown.
Lucyella is survived by her granddaughter, Heather McKechney of Fairport, N.Y., and her spouse Michael; her grandson, Thomas Berry of Cheshire, Conn., and his fiancÚ Diane Kucharczyk; and five great-grandchildren.
Memorial services for Lucyella Foster will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 12, 2022, at First United Methodist Church of Harrisburg with Rev. Dr. Thomas Logsdon officiating. Burial will follow at Sunset Lawn Cemetery. Friends may call at First United Methodist Church on Saturday, Nov. 12 from 9 a.m. until the service hour at 11 a.m.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the First United Methodist Church of Harrisburg, Harrisburg District Library, or the Saline County Historical Society and Museum. Envelopes will be available at the church. Condolences may be left for the family on her obituary page at stricklinfuneralhome.com.