Sally Ann (Bianchi) Foster, 93, died of natural causes on January 11, 2022, at the Crane’s Mill Health Center in West Caldwell.
Exceptionally creative, generous, witty, sentimental, lively and frank, Sal turned the ordinary into magic. She believed in champagne for major and minor milestones of life, and relished presenting family and friends with handmade gifts, from Irish knit sweaters and personalized quilts to gourmet cooked meals and masterpiece collages “fixing” old items. She was a superb entertainer.
Born in Gloversville, New York to Margaret (McLaren) Bianchi and Charles Andrew Bianchi, Sal was, together with her late sister, Marylou (Schaffer), raised in Passaic, Nutley and Montclair, New Jersey, spending summers at Lochearn Camp for Girls in Vermont. She graduated from Montclair High School in 1946 and earned a bachelor’s degree in drama from Sweet Briar College in 1950, making friends she kept for a lifetime. She briefly attended Yale Drama School for graduate training in technical design and lighting prior to working in educational radio and TV at Newark Public Library followed by WBGO, then the radio station of the Newark Board of Education.
She married Robert Perry Foster, Jr. in 1954. After a short time in East Orange, in 1957 they moved to the “house she most wanted” across from Verona Park, where they raised their three children. Sal was president of the Brookdale Avenue School PTA, participated in children’s theater and volunteered in the early 1970s as dramatist and storyteller for summer programs in Verona Park for Newark and Verona children. She served for 15 years as secretary at the Verona Recreation Department, becoming a friendly fixture for scores of Verona youth. A lifelong avid reader, she followed her retirement from municipal service by volunteering at the Verona Public Library. Upon relocation to Crane’s Mill retirement community in West Caldwell, Sal founded and led the Crane’s Mill Library. For over 35 years, Sal delighted in participating in twice-yearly “camping” trips with The 39ers, six close women friends.
Sal loved John Wayne movies, antique stores, Native American heritage, lobster, Broadway musicals, Verona Park, children’s theater, Johnny Cash, the color orange, B&B, reading, Sweet Briar College, chunky jewelry, Smithsonian magazine, paper dolls, Heath Bars, holiday celebrations, Queen Elizabeth, tennis doubles, crusty Italian bread with butter, Verona Public Library, Gloversville, painting, laughter, train travel and babies.
But most of all she loved her family across all generations. She is predeceased by Robert Perry Foster, Jr., her husband of 63 years, and leaves her three children, Margaret Louise Foster Slotkin (Richard), Kathryn Ann Foster and Andrew Perry Foster (Catherine Smith), seven grandchildren, one great-grandchild and other family and friends.
The family will hold private services. Gifts in lieu of flowers may be directed to the Verona Public Library, 17 Gould Street, Verona, NJ 07044 or the Lochearn Camp for Girls, 1061 Robinson Hill Rd, Post Mills, VT 05058.