Dr. Salona E. Foster of Norfolk, VA made her heavenly transition on August 2, 2020 at age 92. Born in Warren County, NC on July 29, 1928 to Ned and Mary Eggleston, she was the youngest of twelve siblings.
A graduate of John R. Hawkins High School, she earned her bachelor’s degree from Fayetteville State University, two master’s degrees in Education from Virginia State University and her doctorate in Education from Penn State University and Coppin State University. Professionally, she was an Early Childhood educator for the city of Portsmouth, VA and, upon retiring, worked at the Commissioner of the Revenue office at Norfolk City Hall.
She was married for 54 years to the love of her life, the late Rev. Dr. John H. Foster, and served for over 40 years as First Lady of Shiloh Baptist Church, Norfolk and, prior to that, as First Lady of Mt. Calvary Baptist Church in Knoxville, TN. She worked tirelessly to help build programs at Shiloh, like the mid-week prayer service (inviting each family in the church to serve as prayer leaders), singing in the choir and helping produce holiday concerts, leading the Hospitality committee, and helping facilitate special events. Together they had two sons, Dr. Laguna O. Foster and Dr. John Shévin Foster, and four grandchildren. She was also blessed with a loving daughter-in-law, LaKesia Jolley Foster, her third and fourth sons/nephews, Dr. Dexter Allgood and Billy Alston, and a host of loving family – primarily in Pennsylvania, North Carolina and Virginia.
Always active in the community, she was the owner of Foster’s Baton School, a celebrated singer and member of The Famous Friendly Trio, a member of Iota Phi Lambda, Sorority, Inc. Alpha Chi Chapter, the Minister’s Wives and Minister’s Widows Alliance of Tidewater, and she assisted her husband’s work with the Tidewater Metro Baptist Minister’s Conference and the Lott Carey Baptist Foreign Missionary Conference.
She loved travel, and in 1976 she led a group from Hampton Roads churches on an educational trip to London, England. She was a basketball lover and business woman (she played for Fayetteville State U.), and she sponsored ongoing trips for friends to the Washington Wizards games in Washington, DC, so much so, that the travel company made her a partner and printed her name on the side of its bus. She received honors and recognition from several organizations for her outstanding service.
The first in her immediate family to earn the title “Dr. Foster,” she went on to support her husband and sons in becoming an entire family of Dr. Fosters. To many young people she mentored and nurtured (now adults), however, she was also known as “Mother Foster.” Salona was always present to support and celebrate the achievements of others, and to help those in need. She was strong. She loved to laugh and rejoice. She loved her family and friends, and she loved God.