MADISON--Jeanette Raymond "Jimmy" Foster died Thursday, March 28 at the age of 90.
She was born February 6, 1923, in River Forest Illinois, to Fred and Jeanette Raymond. She graduated from the University of Michigan in 1945 and worked in the family's manufacturing business. She then began working for Senator Paul Douglas of Illinois, first as a campaign volunteer and then as an assistant in his Washington DC office. Jimmy is mentioned several times in Sen. Douglas' autobiography, "In the Fullness of Time".
While in this position, she met her husband, George William "Bill" Foster, then serving as a speech writer and eventually Chief of Staff for Senator Frank Myers. Jeanette and Bill married May 26, 1950 in Washington D.C. The couple moved permanently to Madison when Bill was offered a position on the Law Faculty shortly thereafter.
Jimmy was active in the Democratic party all of her adult life. Upon her arrival in Madison she and her husband were active members of the anti-McCarthy "Joe Must Go" organization in the early 50's. Jimmy was particularly active, collecting signatures to recall McCarthy. She served as the Treasurer for Sen. Bill Proxmire's successful campaign to replace McCarthy in the special election on August 28, 1957. She continued to canvass and raise funds actively for the Democratic Party until her three children were in school full time, enabling her to re-establish a career.
Initially Jimmy served as a secretary in the Department of Sociology at the University of Wisconsin, and then assumed the position that would absorb her intellectual and societal interests for many years; that of Coordinator of the Criminal Justice Education Program.
This position had the unusual effect of placing her in a position to work with police during the period in which student demonstrations of the 60's and 70's often pitted students against police. In this role she both contributed to the development of criminal justice education at the University of Wisconsin, and developed programs to encourage those active in corrections and law enforcement to return to school to further their education in the field. In conjunction with this role, Jim served on the Regional Criminal Justice Committee for a number of years.
Jimmy was active in the development of "Project Respect", a halfway house for prostitutes that enabled many women to transform their lives. This later developed into Arc House, providing services more broadly to women in need of support in transforming their lives from abusive to healthy contexts. The "Foster House", a halfway house located in Madison, Wisconsin is named for Jeanette Foster.
Jimmy traveled extensively with her husband and children. She particularly enjoyed international travel, encouraging her family to live in Europe on two occasions, and later she and her husband lived in Afghanistan for six months. Jim has been a devoted member of the Madison community, working to enhance both social and aesthetic aspects of the community. Jim is survived by a sister, Susan Raymond Campos, and three children: Susan, a professor and marine biologist at Clark University; Bill, a U.S. Congressman from Illinois; and Fred, the founder and CEO of Electronic Theatre Controls Inc.; and six grandchildren. Services will be private.
The family is grateful for the excellent care and support given to Jeanette and her family by Dr. Williams and Agrace Hospice Care during the course of her last illness. Finally, the family wishes to give heartfelt thanks to the amazing women of Supportive Elder Services, who shared and illuminated Jim's life for the last twelve years.