Cover photo for Larry G. Foster's Obituary
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Larry

Larry G. Foster

Larry G. Foster, 78, politician, civic leader, and entrepreneur, of Sedalia, MO, passed away peacefully Wednesday, July 20, 2022, at Bothwell Regional Health Center with family by his side. He was born on February 29, 1944, in Sedalia, the son of Thomas Jewell Foster and Valeda Evelyn (Bowen) Foster.

Larry attended Smith-Cotton High School, and then traveled the United States, before returning to Sedalia. When Larry returned to Sedalia, he met the love of his life, Debbie Foster, and they married. They have two children, John Foster and Shawn Foster.

For the majority of his life, Larry was self-employed and enjoyed working in the service industry. Larry owned and operated four Apco service stations throughout Pettis County. Larry always had a love for cars, especially Corvettes. This love for cars and the automotive industry, eventually led him and his business partner, Bob McEnerney, to form Sedalia Metal Stripping, Inc., which was a premier vendor for one of the world’s largest automobile wheel manufacturers. Larry eventually became the President and sole owner of the company. He operated the facility for 30 years, until his retirement in 2018.

Larry was active in the community and always wanted what was best for Sedalia and the people living there. Larry had a great love for others and treated everyone the same regardless of their race, sex, social status, political affiliation, or anything else. Larry believed that the best leaders in our society are the individuals whose insights, ideas, and relationships enable them to change the lives of those who live in their neighborhoods and communities. He always stressed to his kids that everything is based on “relationships.” His love for interacting with people, and his love for Sedalia made politics a perfect fit for him. He specifically loved local politics. His routine did not change over the last 40 years. His day would start at around 4:00 a.m. and he would make his rounds to coffee shops and/or businesses to discuss politics, and on occasion stir up a little controversy. Larry’s group of friends consisted of Republicans and Democrats, and although there may have been disagreements over issues, Larry never let a persons’ political affiliation define their friendship.

Larry not only loved talking local politics, but he also enjoyed actively participating in local politics. His interest in politics started when he was appointed, by the Mayor, to the Police Personnel Board. As a member of the Board, he realized he could not make the necessary changes without being on the city council. Shortly thereafter he ran for city council, and was elected twice as a city council member and served from 1978-1982. Larry ran two successful mayoral elections, and was elected as Sedalia’s Mayor for two terms which he served from 1982-1988. Following this, he was elected as the Presiding Commissioner of Pettis County and served from 1990-1994. After retiring from running for office, Larry continued to be active in campaigns by acting as a campaign manager and/or consultant for both local and state elections.

Larry loved the Missouri State Fair. As Mayor and Presiding Commissioner, Larry collaborated with Senator Jim Mathewson and Adam Fischer to lobby Jefferson City to invest more monies into the State Fair. His passion for the Missouri State Fair continued after leaving office and Larry was appointed and re-appointed by Democratic Governor Mel Carnahan to the Missouri State Fair Commission from 1996-2003. As a board member, he was instrumental in creating and implementing the Missouri State Fair Foundation. He served as a board member on the Foundation from 1998-2012. During his time on the Board and Foundation, the state’s investment into the Missouri State Fair grew exponentially, and the fairgrounds received much needed renovations and upgrades. Larry eventually invested more of his time and money into the Fair when he opened and operated the Roadhouse Beer Garden. Larry looked forward to the Fair every year to catch up with old friends and to promote Sedalia and the Fair.

Larry was an active member of the Sedalia Pettis County Economic Development Board, and in 2011 was honored with the “Lifetime Achievement Award,” an award that had only been given to one other individual. As a member of the Economic Development Board, and a business owner, Larry understood how important industry was for the future of Sedalia. He also realized that Bothwell Regional Health Center was an asset, and an economic driver for Sedalia, and he was a staunch supporter of Bothwell Regional Health Center and its employees. He knew for Sedalia to be a competitive city, it had to have a hospital that provided superior care. In order to strengthen the hospital, and share his vision, Larry was appointed to the Bothwell Regional Health Center Board of Trustees in 2015. After serving on the Board for two years, the trustees elected Larry as the Board’s Chairman.

Larry enjoyed promoting Sedalia. He served on Sedalia’s first tourism board. He was an avid supporter of the Scott Joplin Festival, Missouri State Fair, and the Katy Trails. As Mayor, Larry traveled to Comoro City Japan and met with the Mayor of Comoro, and entered into a sister city agreement to help promote Sedalia internationally. His relationship with the Mayor and Comoro City Japan continued throughout his life.

Larry enjoyed being an active member of civic groups, clubs, and fraternal organizations, serving on the Board of Directors of Sedalia Shrine Club, where he was honored with the “Shriner of the Year” award. Larry was an active Mason and member of Granite Lodge #272, and a member of the Scottish Rite of Kansas City. As an avid supporter of the military and Whiteman Air Force Base, the American Legion honored him by making him a lifetime guest member. Larry was a member of Calvary Baptist Church.

Larry loved his family and loved spending time with them. Larry enjoyed traveling, but he did not like to fly, so he would routinely surprise Debbie, with short notice, to a spontaneous trip that may last 10-14 days. The only catch was the Corvette could only hold one piece of luggage and there was no planning for the trip. He simply drove until he wanted to stop for the day. He specifically loved spoiling and spending time with his granddaughters, Olivia Foster and Jillian Foster. He would routinely travel to Kansas City to watch them play sports or to just grab lunch. He also loved his granddogs Zoie and Miley who would come and stay with him for weeks at a time. He loved Corvettes and would not be shy about letting you know that he had owned each generation of the car. Larry was obsessed with taking care of his lawn and Koi fish. Most days you could find him doing something in the yard or sitting in the Gazebo listening to Elvis Presley and George Jones. He had a neon “open” sign on the Gazebo that he would turn on so the neighbors or cars passing by knew they were welcome to stop by and visit.

Larry never knew a stranger. He will be remembered for his generous, loving, and helpful nature. He always told everyone, “if you need anything, you let me know,” and he meant it.

Survivors include his wife, Debbie Foster of the home; two sons, John Foster of Sedalia, and Shawn (Heather) Foster of Lee’s Summit; two granddaughters, Olivia Foster and Jillian Foster of Lee’s Summit; four brothers, Bobby Foster of Tucson, AZ, Lowell Foster of Overland Park, KS, Dennis Foster (Vicki) of Columbia, and Tom Foster (Julie) of Columbia. In addition to his parents, Larry was predeceased by a sister, Norma Schupp of Liberty, and a brother, Jewell Dean (Delores) Foster of Sedalia; his in-laws Norma and William Hill.

Funeral services will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Tuesday, July 26, 2022 at First United Methodist Church (Thompson site) 916 Thompson Blvd in Sedalia, with Pastor Phil Hopper and Pastor Candace Fowler officiating. Masonic services will be held. Burial will be in Crown Hill Cemetery.

The family will receive friends from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. on Monday evening, July 25, 2022 at First United Methodist Church (Thompson site) in Sedalia.

Honorary bearers will be Adam Fischer, Bill Shumake, Gary Hayden, David Curry, Larry Perriguey, Jack Ehlers, Craig Matz, and Sonny Broyles.

Friends may sign the guest book from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Monday, July 25, 2022 at Heckart Funeral Home.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorial contributions to be made to the Missouri State Fair Foundation or a charitable organization of your choice.

Arrangements are in the care of Heckart Funeral Home and Cremation Services.
To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Larry G. Foster, please visit our flower store.

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