Dr. Portia L. Foster
A Woman of Purpose, Philanthropy, and Passion Her Purpose –
The Reason for Why She Was Created Great men and women are only born for the time they are needed the most. In the midst of national societal struggles and challenges of inequality and injustice in the 1950s, God sent a ray of hope through the life of Portia L. Foster; God knew the world needed someone like her. God willed it to be so that Portia L. Foster would be born on December 1, 1953, to the late Mr. Porter L. and Myrtle L. Foster in Gadsden, Alabama.
The Fosters knew early on that Portia was distinct. She was cultivated in academia at Gadsden High School and was a part of the graduating class of 1972. Portia unearthed her desire to learn and develop academically early in life. She allowed nothing to hinder her from crossing the threshold of unprecedented success. Portia continued her academic career and received her undergraduate degree from Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama. She later received her Master of Science degree in nursing and her Doctor of Philosophy degree from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Her journey up until this point was clearly not because of her own strength, courage, or power but rather her faith. Dr. Portia publicly expressed her unwavering faith in the Lord Jesus and accepted Him as her personal Savior. Dr. Portia L. Foster was a devout member of Athens Christian Methodist Episcopal Church of Gadsden for over fifty years.
Her Philanthropy – Her Desire to Promote the Welfare of Others
In Proverb 31:31, GW declares, “Reward her for what she has done, and let her achievements praise her at the city gates.” Dr. Portia gained respect and honor from all whom she met and knew. She believed that life isn’t about what you receive but rather what you contribute via your purpose, gifts, and talents to make the world a better place. She spent years exercising her passion in life
through education, medicine, and love. As a philanthropist, promoting the welfare of others was a clear, essential part of her purpose. Dr. Foster was a pillar in her community, church, and family.
Dr. Foster was destined to make a difference—her career involved her being a registered nurse and became a very inventive educator. Dr. Foster touched countless lives in the classroom as a professor of nursing at Jacksonville State University and Gadsden State Community College for several years.
Some of her achievements included but were not limited to being a member of Sigma Nu International Nursing Honor Society, a co-author of several published articles in peer-reviewed journals, and a reviewer of several books and journals in her discipline. Dr. Foster was a former accreditation site visitor for the National League for Nursing and a recipient of many research awards. Dr. Foster was voted “Who’s Who” among teachers two years consecutively during her tenure as a professor of nursing at Jacksonville State University. She also served as the Coordinator of Community Health Nursing in the College of Nursing. Dr. Foster served as the Dean of Gadsden State Community College’s Licensed Practical Nursing program and made many relevant changes to improve the program.
Inspired by her sister, Bonita, Dr. Foster was a proud, Silver Star, a life member of the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., Lambda Eta Omega Chapter of Gadsden, Alabama, for forty-three years. She held positions at the local and regional level including president, vice president, secretary, sergeant at arms, financial secretary, chaplain, parliamentarian, regional conference committee
chairman, and regional spiritual oversight committee member.
Being a philanthropic trailblazer in Gadsden, Dr. Foster faithfully served her community in several capacities: she supported reading programs in the city of Gadsden, was often found volunteering for the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Holiday Event, volunteered for the Salvation Army, and was involved with the Gadsden Chamber of Commerce. Dr. Foster’s passion for education and nursing exuded from her heart through service-based work, even outside of the classroom by teaching CPR for the American Red Cross. She was always present and ready to make a difference through servant-leadership by serving on various boards. Dr. Foster enjoyed being a part of the Pilot Club and Red Hat Ladies. With a blend of passion for education and her faith, she served as the director of the Board of Christian Education for ten years at Athens C.M.E. Church. While all these accomplishments are worthy of both applause and honor, Dr. Foster believed her greatest accomplishment was being accepted into the Body of Christ.
Her Passion – What Gave Her Life Deeper Meaning and Impact
Dr. Portia L. Foster, a woman of grace, elegance, dignity, and passion, loved her family deeply. One of the highlights of family time for Dr. Foster was spending time with “the three Es,” Erin Myrcille (Jean-Marc), Emily Giselle, and Ethan Joaquin. Dr. Foster was the epitome of a globe-trotter; she desired to travel and see all fifty states before she turned fifty years old, and she did! It
was a part of her life’s joy to travel, and she was blessed to travel to Africa and Europe during her lifetime.
Dr. Foster enjoyed quiet moments reading and she was gifted in sewing, cross/stitching, and crocheting. She tremendously enjoyed being creative and crafty, like scrapbooking or creating games, and truly found what it meant to enjoy life.
The Word of God declares in I Corinthians 15:53, “For we will discard our mortal clothes and slip into a body that is imperishable. What is mortal now will be exchanged for immortality.” Dr. Foster exchanged time for eternity on Tuesday, August 15, 2023. Her body transitioned but her spirit yet lives, and the time we had with this precious jewel from God’s treasury will never be forgotten. Her purpose, philanthropic impact, and passion will remain evident through her legacy for generations to come.
She leaves to cherish her memories: her sister, Bonita Foster; three special nieces and nephews who she treated as her own children, Erin Myrcille (Jean-Marc), Emily Giselle, and Ethan Joaquin; great-niece and great-nephews, Kaylee Alexandria, Elias Alexander, and Emerson Jean; and three aunts, Nallie Wyatt, Jeanette Jelks (Curtis), and Dorothy Foster. Dr. Foster’s love will
continue to flow to and through all her remaining special friends and family, Rhonda Turner, Annita Stevens, Takisha Foster, and Kurissa Johnson. She
also leaves a host of other relatives and many dear friends.
“When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am.”
John 14:3 (NLT)