Robert Foster

Robert Foster (Term of Office 1948 - 1950)

Robert Elam Foster was born on October 20, 1897 in Sturgis, Mississippi, one of six children born to Daniel and Emma Lina Foster. He served in the National Guard from 1918-1919 and was a soldier in the Army from 1919-1922, serving in World War I.  Foster married Ruby Lee Goosby on November 3, 1924.  They moved to Denver in 1925 and to Federal Heights in 1942.  He worked for Colorado Ice and Cold Storage Company for 21 years and for Shell Chemical Company for 14 years.

Foster was appointed to the Federal Heights Town Board to fill a vacant seat on October 25, 1943 where he served until he was elected Mayor on May 25, 1948. He was sworn in on June 8, 1948 at a Special Meeting, serving with fellow Board members Clarence Wilson, J.R. Klaiss, Creal O. Butters, Stuart D. Savery, John R. Thomson and Ira Logsdon.  He was Mayor for two years.

The Fosters were instrumental in the founding of the Federal Heights volunteer Fire Department. In the mid-1940s, Federal Heights was two-acre parcels of land with one well used as the source of water.  Fear of damage from the frequent weed fires spurred Foster and several other residents to acquire the City’s first firefighting equipment, consisting of an army truck purchased from the United States government for $750.  All members of the Town Board served as members of the volunteer fire department.  Foster was instrumental in helping the Town acquire most of the parts needed to make the transformation from a truck to fire truck, including 100 feet of fire hose.  Funding for the equipment came from social events -  dances, chicken or spaghetti dinners, bingos and stag parties.  In 1945, with donated materials, volunteer firefighters built the City’s first fire station at Federal Boulevard and 90th Avenue from an old barracks from Buckley Air Force Base.  In early 1949, the Town Board voted to create a fund known as the Federal Heights Firemen’s Protective Insurance Fund for those firefighters who may be injured in the line of duty.  The Board added $15 to the fund at monthly meetings when the funds were available.  Prior to 1956, the City of Denver responded to many fire calls in Federal Heights.  When the town organized its own fire department that year, Mr. Foster was elected fire chief.  The Town Board unanimously approved to give $100 to the volunteer department to defray immediate expenses of the group.  Robert’s son, Robert Neil Foster became the City’s second fire chief in 1957, remaining in that position until 1972.  The Firemen’s Pension Fund was established in 1961 with the City’s former Mayor Foster as the first fireman to draw a full pension.

While serving as the City’s second Mayor, Foster and the Town Board dealt with water infrastructure issues, planning regulations on trailer camps and cottage camps, building permits, fundraising and, in March of 1949, appointment of a committee to “straighten out” the Town blocks and house numbers. At a special meeting held at a filling station on August 4, 1949, Mr. Foster saw the City government approve the purchase of its first town hall – a 20’ x 50’ army surplus building - for $745.  With the added cost of trenching, concrete, cinder blocks, and rock, the total cost of the new town hall was $904, leaving the fund balance on hand for the Town as of August 16, 1949 at about $172.  Foster presided over the first meeting in the new town hall on February 7, 1950.  In March of that year, the Town Board approved to pay an individual $2 per month to keep the town hall clean.  Following his term as Mayor, Foster was re-elected to the Town Board as a Trustee in 1952 and served for two years.

 In the late 1950s, the family built and owned Foster’s Garage. The Fosters two sons, Neil and John, both served in World War II.  Ruby worked as the Water Department Clerk and the Town Clerk and Treasurer for Federal Heights for many years, dedicating her time and resources to the community.  When her son Neil was young, Ruby would occasionally go on fire calls by herself or with her son when no one else was available to drive the truck to a fire.

 The City’s fire station, built in 1973, was dedicated to the Fosters and is known as the Federal Heights Foster Memorial Fire Department.

 Robert died on January 2, 1979 at the age of 81 and was buried at Crown Hill Cemetery in Wheat Ridge, Colorado.