Local attorney Bob Foster—a longtime Morgan Hill Rotarian, former school trustee and city councilman, and all-around family man—is Leadership Morgan Hill’s 2018 Leadership Excellence Award recipient.
Foster will be honored at a July 21 outdoor celebration and fundraiser at Guglielmo Winery in east Morgan Hill. Tickets and other information about the celebration will be announced in the near future.
The Leadership Excellence Award recognizes leaders like Foster whose vision advances the spirit of community and charity in Morgan Hill, according to a press release from Leadership Morgan Hill. The annual award winner also reflects courage and insight and inspires others to lead in a like manner.
“(Bob Foster’s) community leadership over so many years has built a solid foundation for making Morgan Hill the great community it is today,” said LMH President Cricket Rubino. “Our board enthusiastically looks forward to celebrating Bob’s accomplishments and the resulting award.”
Foster, 78, was born in Long Beach and moved to Morgan Hill in 1965, after growing up in numerous locales around the country as the son of a U.S. Navy serviceman. Foster’s move to Morgan Hill followed his graduation from San Jose State University and the UC Berkeley Boalt School of Law.
With his law degree and state bar membership—and some experience as a California Deputy Legislative Counsel—Foster joined Ernie Rusconi’s law firm. The two established the Rusconi & Foster firm in 1967, according to the press release. The firm was joined by George Thomas in 1972, creating the Rusconi-Foster-Thomas firm that continues to thrive in Morgan Hill.
While Bob Foster is now retired, the firm in the “very capable hands” of his son Del, the press release continues.
Bob Foster’s 50-plus years of practicing law allowed him to pursue a long list of public service and philanthropic experiences outside his career at the firm. These included a stint as Morgan Hill’s city attorney, practice as a volunteer judge during the 1971 riots at SJSU and work for the state and local bar associations, according to the press release.
Furthermore, Foster was elected to the Morgan Hill Unified School District board of trustees for three terms (1966-74 and 1978-82), followed by election to the city council, where he served his first term as the city’s mayor. He returned to the council in 1996 for two years, as an appointee and then an elected councilmember to fill a vacant seat.
As a member of the Rotary Club of Morgan Hill since 1965, Foster has served on the organization’s board as president and remains active in the club’s projects.
Throughout all of these activities and commitments, Foster found time to mentor his four sons as Boy Scouts, coach their sports teams and actively support the YMCA, United Way and Goodwill, according to the press release. He has also served as president of the Chamber of Commerce, and was the chamber’s “Citizen of the Year” in 1969.
He has also used his legal expertise to help establish a number of nonprofit organizations in Morgan Hill.
Foster met his wife, Nancy, when they both attended Willow Glen High School, according to LMH. The couple married in 1962 and raised their four sons in Morgan Hill, where two still live. The senior Fosters now have 15 grandchildren.
Nancy was an elementary school teacher for several years, and was active in their sons’ after-school pursuits. Active in the community like Bob, she has contributed as a past president and member of the American Association of University Women.
Del and Chris, the sons who still reside in Morgan Hill, have carried on the family tradition of community service. Del Foster has served two terms on the MHUSD school board. Chris Foster has also become increasingly active in the local Rotary Club.
Del said there is no question his own community service is influenced by his upbringing, and the tradition continues. Del’s children—who range from high school age to their 20s—have been highly active in various public service organizations, including Rotary Interact as teens, the American Red Cross, the civil air patrol and their church.
“We were raised in a family where public service was the expectation, and it was what we did,” Del Foster said. “It never occurred to me to do anything other than that, and my kids have picked up the same thing from me.”
The seeds were planted even earlier, though. Bob Foster said his lifetime devotion to the community was influenced by his parents. His wife’s parents were “even more active in the community than I was,” he added.
“I was raised in a family that was military, and very country and community oriented, and my parents were always involved,” Bob Foster said. “When Dad was home (during peace time), he was always doing something. My mother was active in the Red Cross wherever she went.”
He added he is “very appreciative” of the Leadership Excellence honor, and he is looking forward to the celebration this summer.
This summer’s celebration in Bob Foster’s honor will be attended by community leaders, supporters of LMH, past Excellence Award winners and “the many friends and relatives of the honoree,” reads the press release. The event is also a fundraiser for LMH, a nonprofit educational organization. Ticket price includes dinner as well as a chance to participate in a silent auction for numerous items on display.
Leadership Excellence Award winners are selected by a panel of past award recipients and other selected community members.
LMH is now in its 23rd year of “building community leadership,” according to the press release. The annual LMH program provides participants with the insight, tools and training that enables leaders from all walks of life to emulate residents like Bob Foster and give back to their community through service.
For more information about LMH and the Leadership Excellence Award, visit leadershipmorganhill.org.