Judy Foster: 1932-2000

Judy Foster, our friend and comrade, died October 8, 2000, at the age of 68. She was a teacher, cook, activist, mother and grandmother. She was a poet, an astrologer, and a founding member of a vibrant wiccan order. Judy stayed present in important struggles with people of all generations, with her hard work and her wisdom.

Born Judith Ann Isquith on November 2, 1932 in Brooklyn, New York, she grew up in a Brooklyn brownstone and at a farm house in New Jersey among her brothers, cousins, and friends. She attended Oberlin College from 1950 to 1955, studying music and then primary school teaching. A college administrator admonished her unconventional dress and lifestyle, which she believed would make her an unfit role model for children.

Undeterred, as a schoolteacher Judy moved to New York City where she was a Beatnik on the Lower East Side. Her apartment was the center of a concentrated group of friends and an active, absorbing social life rich with art, politics and folk music. It was a time of black tights, sandals, long hair, and grass.

By 1960 Judy had moved to San Francisco and was involved in direct action with a small, politically active group of friends, protesting against the death penalty. She met and fell in love with Charlie Foster whom she described as a \”shaman / poet / madman/ visionary.\” She continued to teach, travel, read and write poetry. She dropped acid for the first time in 1964. She traveled and lived in Mexico, New York, the Bay Area, and rural California. She had two daughters. In 1967 Charlie Foster died.

In 1969 Judy helped found the Frogg House, an early, successful, and enduring communal house in Berkeley. In the early 70\’s Judy and her close group of friends started and ran the People\’s Free Community School. She was active during the birth of People\’s Park and was tear-gassed. She was involved in the Free University, and the Food Conspiracy.

In the 80\’s the resistance took aim at the nuclear industry and the war machine, and Judy was active in the Nuclear Freeze movement and the Livermore Action Group (LAG). She went to many Livermore demonstrations. (Livermore blockade, Site 300). She was always there, doing the work.

After the Gulf War in 1992 she became active in East Bay Food Not Bombs, soon becoming a central force and matriarchal inspiration for the group. Tuesday Food Not Bombs lunch was well known for the gourmet specialties that came out of her kitchen. Judy worked hard and constantly to feed the community both good food and good spirit. She cooked, picked up, stored and sorted, served and enjoyed food with her community.

Judy worked as a cook at The Creative Living Center (among other places) and had her own catering business, \”A Movable Feast\”, which served many amazing events. Judy traveled to the WTO protest in Seattle and worked hard to feed the protesters. She was on the People\’s Park Advisory Board for four years. She also had a long-standing show on Free Radio Berkeley, \”Judy\’s Mixed Bag\”. Judy studied and taught astrology and made astrological chart necklaces. She loved to sing.

She enjoyed many flavors of people, and she was a vibrant part of many communities. She enjoyed intelligent conversation and connecting with people. She feared little.

She was diagnosed with Primary Liver Cancer in 1997 and was active until Saturday October 7, when she spent the day out with friends. She died at home among her family and friends and Sunday, October 8th, 2000.

She will be loved and missed by her two daughters, three grandchildren, three brothers and a very large community of people who she touched in her caring. Judy rocked!

By Terri Compost

Good-bye Judy. May we feel the strength of you presence in every act of love made by our strong arms and caring wills. You have stood firm in our community, deep roots, a solid trunk and beautiful dancing limbs. You inspire us with your truth and your daily commitment to live our dreams. You have been giving and receiving of the beauty you see in many of us souls. Thank you for showing us and bringing us together. You will be remembered long. Blessings dear one. May you travel on in Peace.