John R. Foster was born August 17, 1911, in Greensboro, North Carolina, and graduated from Greensboro Senior High School (now Grimsley High School). He served as president of Odell Mill Supply, McCloud Companies, and Greenville Textile Company.
John Foster was chairman of the Greensboro Board of Education in 1954 when the Brown v. Board of Education decision mandated desegregation of the city’s public schools. He later served on the N.C. Board of Education and was a founding trustee of Guilford Technical Institute. Foster was also active in the Jaycees, serving as its president and also as chairman of the Greater Greensboro Open, a golf tournament the Jaycees organized annually. Foster also played a significant role in the construction of the polio hospital, Central Carolina Convalescent Hospital, in 1948. He was also a trustee of Wesley Long Hospital in Greensboro. John Foster died March 19, 1981, at the age of 69.