It is with a heavy heart that I share this news and mourn the loss of a passionate patriot and patriarch. My 81-year-old father-in-law, Foster Stephen Friess, passed away peacefully last Thursday, May 27, in the presence of his immediate family at their home in Scottsdale, Arizona. There was only one Foster! His larger-than-life personality and exuberance for doing good was unmatched. He was well known for his exceptional generosity and best loved for his ability to encourage and empower. I appreciated his love for God and his love for his wife of 58 years Lynn. Together, they sought to be “the hands and feet of Christ” in a hurting world. Every prayer that Foster offered ended with thanksgiving that he could start each day with a clean slate and stand ready to serve others.
Foster was a born leader. He was class president, captain of his high school sports teams, valedictorian, Chi Phi fraternity president at the University of Wisconsin, and served in the U.S. Army as an infantry platoon leader. He was a hard-working American determined to keep our country on the right path. Through his involvement in various projects that mentored kids, ended bullying, offered scholarships, taught character, sought justice, and provided clean water, he furthered the ideals of our founding fathers and affirmed our country’s biblical heritage. He expertly networked people together through his Left-Right-Left-Right Forward March! initiative and with hope proclaimed, “Together we will get there!” Foster waded in deep, kept going despite whatever circumstances he faced, and made this world a better place.
Although Foster was not a founder of Jackson Hole Classical Academy, he was a moral owner. He cared deeply about the values of classical and Christian education and was concerned about the long-term ability of the school to impact the needs of our community. At a very pivotal point in the founding of Jackson Hole Classical Academy, Foster took a financial risk that secured our future. We had come thus far in creating something good, and he was intent on making sure that work would bear fruit. Foster knew that education opens doors of opportunity. He was a first-generation college graduate who according to Forbes was ranked as one of the ten most successful money managers of his generation. Foster used that success to care for others.
Foster influenced my leading of the school in subtle but profound and unseen ways. For example, I adopted his top business efficiency and relational tools, which are now second nature to me, as most of you know:
- Voiceless communication except when relationship building (before email)
- Dictation for all written communication: letters and emails, (before Siri)
- Email titles must summarize the main point and contain the action needed,
- Copy the team on all emails so that everyone is on the same page,
- Position results descriptions are better than job descriptions,
- Every typed letter should be signed with a personal note,
- Never use acronyms to respect all levels of knowledge,
- Too much planning can be an impediment to progress,
- Name tags should have the first name large and last name small (see below),
- Always consider other people more important than yourself, and so much more.
Foster, you let your light shine before others. We saw your good deeds that glorified your Father in heaven. Your life was a beacon of hope for those searching for inspiration in a dim world. Your presence and energy will be greatly missed. It was a privilege to know you. It is an honor to carry your name and continue your legacy of generosity and kindness. I will never give up, ever!
May you rest in peace,