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Deacon Norman Foster 1930-2023


Deacon Norman E. Foster died at his home in Snyder on Nov. 14, 2023. He was 92 years old. 

Born in the Southern Tier hamlet of Obi, on Nov. 19, 1930, he was the second youngest son of Cleo Foster Sr. and Gladys (Owens) Foster. Deacon Foster graduated from Portville High School in 1949 and went on to study Physical Education at Cortland State Teachers College, where he earned his bachelor’s degree in 1953 and met the love of his life and wife of 70 years, Nancy June Maney.

He starred in four sports at Cortland, set records for the Red Dragon football team, was an active alumni, and was inducted into the school’s Hall of Fame in 2001. 

He married Nancy on Dec. 26, 1953, and served in the U.S. Marine Corps in the Pacific for two years during the waning years of the Korean Conflict.

After returning stateside in 1955, he began a 36-year teaching and coaching career with Iroquois and Amherst Central Schools. His Iroquois wrestling teams won 10 straight Section VI titles and set a national record for 143 consecutive wins. Coach Foster was a pioneering advocate for the sport of wrestling in Section VI and New York State, served as the Section VI wrestling chairperson, and was inducted into the NYS Wrestling Coaches Hall of Fame in 1982.

He mentored and positively impacted many young people throughout his career, coached sectional and state champion athletes, and was blessed to coach his sons in wrestling and football. Deacon Foster earned his way into the Portville, Iroquois and Amherst High School Sports Halls of Fame and he was inducted in 1999 to the National Wrestling Hall of Fame.

Deacon Foster led a life of service to humankind and he was a man of deep faith in God. He was ordained a permanent deacon for the Diocese of Buffalo in 1982 and his ministry included pastoral service at Wyndham Lawn Home for Children, St. Augustine Parish in Clarence, Christ the King in Snyder, and St. Jude in downtown Buffalo. He was active with the Christian Cursillo movement, Kairos ministry in local prisons, and with his wife strongly committed to community service with Meals on Wheels and nursing home visitations.

He was predeceased by six siblings; Arlene, Eugenia, Marion, Cleo Jr., Stanley and David. He is survived by his beloved wife of 70 years, his six children; Michael, Pamela, Timothy, Daniel, Norman Jr., and Patrick, and by his 21 grandchildren and 13 great grandchildren.

A funeral Mass was held at Christ the King Parish on Nov. 17.


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