Santa Clara Magazine is published in print for alumni and friends of the University. It is updated weekly on the web.
Thomas Foster, S.J., ’61 was born on New Year’s Day, 1938, in Rawalpindi, then a part of pre-partition India, now Pakistan. He spent a few years in Sumatra and later attended St. Joseph’s College, a high school operated by the Marist Brothers in Sydney, graduating in 1956. He came to the U.S. and attended Menlo College from 1957 to 1959, and transferred to SCU, where he graduated with a degree in biology. After a year at the University of Oregon, he entered the Jesuit Novitiate at Los Gatos in September 1962. His Jesuit training took him to St. Louis University for his philosophy degree and to Regis College, Willowdale, Ontario, for his theology training. He was ordained to the priesthood in St. Mary’s Cathedral, San Francisco, on June 10, 1972. Tom taught biology, chemistry, and mathematics at Bellarmine Preparatory from 1966 to 1969 and again from 1972 to 1976. He then went into pastoral work as pastor and leader of team ministry at Holy Family Church in San Jose (1976–1988). He served as a retreat director at the Jesuit Retreat Center of Los Altos (1988–1994), before becoming associate pastor of St. Joseph’s Church in Capitola (1994–1998). He was associate pastor at St. Agnes Church in San Francisco (1998–2000) and was assigned to Sacred Heart Jesuit Center in 2000, serving first as assistant to the superior. As his Parkinson’s disease developed, he moved to the infirmary for a ministry of prayer and presence in the community. He died on Sept. 20, 2019, at Regis Infirmary, Sacred Heart Jesuit Center, Los Gatos, after a long illness. He was 81 years old, a member of the Society of Jesus for 57 years, and a priest for 47 years. Tom was predeceased by his brother, Bill Foster, and his nephew, Paul Foster. He is survived his niece, Christine Foster of Los Gatos, and his nephew, James Foster of Truckee, California.