Our neighbor and everybody’s friend, J.C. Foster, died at age 92 last Wednesday.

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, October 3, 2000

Our neighbor and everybody's friend, J.C. Foster, died at age 92 last Wednesday.

His was a life lived to the fullest.

His good humor was infectious and he has left in his wake a world that is a better place for his having spent a brief span of years among us.

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"I don't make jokes.

I just watch the government and report the facts."

The above quote from Will Rogers may well have been intoned by James Columbus Foster, who is better known through the region as J.C.

Mr. J.C. was born near the Searcy Community on October 26, 1907, and helped his papa, Felix Foster, run the three-mule, one-horse farm.

Until this week he sort of ruled the roost as burgomaster (principal magistrate) of Greenville's Hickory Street fiefdom.

During his early years, Mr. J.C. toiled and sweated in the cotton fields, seldom making the horse-and-buggy trek into the county seat at Greenville.

When he and his siblings, three brothers (Grady, Nattie and Ralph), and four sisters (Exa Dean, Linnie Mae Dunn, Avis Kent and Evelyn Cook), did journey into the Camellia City, it was quite an occasion.

As he grew to manhood, J.C. made the move to Greenville and hired out to Mr. Louis Stabler as a clerk and general factotum at Stabler's Grocery.

It was his dream then to become a businessman himself, a dream which he later realized when he set up shop in what today's idiom would refer to as a Mom and Pop operation.

When J.C. and his wife, the former Pauline Day from near Antioch, were wed in June of 1933 they worked as a team in the operation of their small grocery/dry goods store on Alabama 10.

Through the years that followed, the couple remained childless but they were instrumental in assisting the Foster brothers and sisters whenever called upon to do so.

J.C. had a wit of his own, although it was reminiscent of the Will Rogers' tongue-in-cheek, dry humor that captivated the world of the Golden Twenties and the Panic Days of the 1930s.

On one occasion about 20 years back, J.C. made a $23 purchase that would have come to a dollar or two in his earlier days.

Upon examination of that "extravagant" invoice, J.C. exclaimed, "Well, I declare- I thought Jesse James was dead."

Our man always had a twinkle in his eye and was forever coming forth with an apt, humorous rejoinder when faced with out-of-the-ordinary circumstances.

His one affiliation was with his church, the Mt. Zion Primitive Baptist, precluding memberships in other organizations.

But J.C. needed no other regimented affiliations because since his retirement several years ago, his primary objective had always been to savor life to the fullest and to share his humor with the world at large.

Incidentally, if you'd have just taken a squint at J.C. (you old-timers who remember those days) you'd have noticed he actually looked a lot like the late Will Rogers.