Bill (William Neil Foster)
Born in Lower Hutt, New Zealand, at the beginning of World War II, Bill had a happy, active childhood, went to Eastern Hutt School, was a foundation pupil of Hutt Valley Intermediate School, and finally gained University Entrance at Hutt Valley High School. In his final year, Bill was chosen as a Sea Cadet to attend a World Jamboree in the United Kingdom, and this generated an early love of travel.
Bill loved designing houses, and wished to be n architect, but Father persuaded him to attend Lincoln Agricultural College, where he gained a B.Agr.Sci. and came to work in Wellington as a farm adviser. He was soon off to the United Kingdom on an exchange system, and while there, was chosen to do a Masters in Farm Economics at Nottingham University. However, after much agonising, he threw this in to become a gardener.
After some time in the United Kingdom, and the United States of America, he moved to Australia to work in the Melbourne and Sydney Botanical Gardens. After some years in the rare plant section he again looked to another outdoor job with people contact, and became “postie” for Potts Point, Sydney. He enjoyed this occupation, and always passed up chances of promotion, and continued on until declining health forced an early retirement.
He spent his last months in Brisbane where I was able to spend three weeks with him, remarkably strong in spirit and philosophical always to the end.
Bill’s Quilt panel has been designed and crafted by Kari, Bill’s nephew’s friend. She has incorporated his loves – willow pattern china, trams, trains, flowers and native trees.
I remember Bill at once for his quality of making one feel good about oneself. He had a strong sense of justice, and enjoyed many a long discussion about the problems of the world, and his theories on the solutions. He loved family celebrations – birthdays, weddings, picnics, concerts – which would always finish with a round the table yarn about good times.
We remember Bill today with this panel, bethink of him all the time, as one who did so much in his fifty years and gave us love and kindness, his sense of justice, and above all his marvellous sense of humour which shone through to the end.
His sister, Judith.
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