Milbonn Waldo “Mel” Foerster went to be with our Lord & Savior on Sunday, Nov. 19, 2017, surrounded by loving family in Burleson, Texas at the age of 95.
Milbonn W. Foerster was born in Fayette County, Texas on Feb. 27, 1922. During his early years, he lived on the Lockett family farm where they grew cotton, maize, and raised livestock. Initially, his dad used mules to plow the fields. He often shared stories about how gentle their mule, Shorty was with all the children. As farming methods modernized, his dad acquired a Minneapolis Moline tractor, which was later given to Milbonn. He cherished that tractor for many years. Milbonn attended Peace Lutheran Church in Vernon, Texas, where he was confirmed in 1934 and learned to recite the Lord’s Prayer. He was a graduate of Lockett High School. He continued to farm with his dad from the time he got out of high school until he went to work for North American Aviation in January of 1942. While he was there, he studied electronics at Southwest Aeronautical Institute.
During WWII Corporal M.W. Foerster served in the Army Air Corps in Calcutta, India as a supervisor for aircraft engine mechanics on the B-17 and B-24 warplanes from 1943 to 1946. After being discharged from the military, he determined that his preferred future was in the aerospace industry and became employed at Convair in Ft. Worth, TX from 1947 to 1954. Additionally, he served in the Air Force Reserve until 1953. He met Billie Garrett and they married in 1949 in Grand Prairie in a double wedding with her sister and his dear friend. They had four daughters and celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary on June 3, 1999. Mel was employed most of his life in defense and aerospace before retiring as an Electronic Technician with LTV missile division at the age 73. He continued contact with his respected coworkers through Quarter Century Club. He truly loved his job, which allowed him to travel and take part in several noteworthy aerospace endeavors, including the early Apollo space program in the 60’s and Strategic Defense Initiative in the 80’s at White Sands, NM. He later continued his education through National Schools L. A. Refrigeration and Air Conditioning and Commercial Trades Institute basic programming and had an air conditioning and a bookkeeping business. Mel was a multi-talented craftsman as well. After the sale of their Pantego property, he developed it for a subdivision.
In later years, he spent his free time enjoying grandchildren and longtime friends and vacationing at their mountain home in Ruidoso, NM, among other travels. In addition to patiently raising four daughters with his wife, he enjoyed vacationing in the mountains, reading, being politically active, gardening, tinkering with his tractor, bird watching, and visiting with neighbors while walking the dogs. Our dad will be forever remembered as a kind, loving family man who was honest and humble. We are grateful to have many precious memories of his selfless actions and witty sense of humor.
Mel is survived by his wife of 68 years, Billie Joyce, his daughters, Sandra Reeder and husband, Joe, Connie Lacy and husband, Robert, Kandee Rockett and husband, Donald, and Sheree Gothard and husband, Tony. 13 grandchildren, Tracie and husband Bill Hogan, Christy and husband Eric Blair, Jason and wife Crystal Lacy, Heather and husband Ryan Wyatt, Christy and husband Andrew Maxey, Amy Lacy, Kevin and wife Lacy Cantrell, Wendy and husband Jason von Holstein, Kirstie and husband Justin McKeller, Jordan Gothard, Sommer Gothard, Annjolee Gothard, and Jacob Gothard, 21 great grandchildren, and 6 great-great grandchildren. He has 2 sisters, Elda Raschke and Jeanell Kilgore, and was preceded in death by parents, Paul and Erna Foerster, sister Louneda Duty, and brothers, Eugene and Elroy.
Special thanks to the nurses and caregivers at Texas Health at Cleburne and Community Hospice of Texas at Burleson for their kind words and tender care for our precious dad.