In Memoriam: School Founder David “Dink” W. Foerster

Episcopal mourns the loss of one of its beloved Founders, David “Dink” Foerster, who passed away November 20. Dink, a Trustee Emeritus, served  the school faithfully from its inception in 1966, when he was Vice Chairman of the Executive Committee for the Planning Group that brought the vision for the school into a living reality. 

“Dink was a titan of Episcopal,” said The Rev. Adam Greene, Head of School. “His belief in the school and its mission was unwavering. He was in the first conversations about what Episcopal could be, and he was ever present through every year since. He was proud of Episcopal, and Episcopal was proud of him.” 

Dink’s service to Episcopal did not end once the school opened in 1967. He served on the first Board of Trustees and served terms in later years, many of those as Chairman. He was also a member of the Foundation Board, named an Honorary Lifetime Alumnus, and was an Episcopal parent and grandparent. 

In 1983 the school held a mortgage burning service to celebrate the school’s solvency, and Dink gave the address, acknowledging the ceremony as proof that “many, many people have adhered to the Biblical admonition that we keep the faith.”

Dink’s support of the school was all encompassing. He and his wife Margaret were members of several giving societies, including the 1966 Society, Fifty by 50, the Great Oak Society, and contributed to multiple school capital campaigns. Many of the school’s classrooms are housed in the Foerster building, or  “F building,” as it is familiarly called on campus, which is named in his honor. 

Dink was a graduate of Washington & Lee University, where he received his undergraduate and law degrees. He served as a naval aviator during WWII. He practiced law in Florida for more than 60 years, specializing in eminent domain. He was past President of the Jacksonville Bar Association and served on the Board of Governors of The Florida Bar. He was a member of St. Mark's Episcopal Church, where he served on its Vestry. He also was President of the Jacksonville Symphony Association and served on its Board both actively and as an honorary member for over 40 years. He was an honorary life member of the Florida Yacht Club, The Friars, a member of the Wednesday Group and the Jacksonville Rotary Club of which he was a Paul Harris Fellow.He was a long-time member of Memorial Park Association and past president.

A funeral to celebrate Dink's life will be held at St. Mark's Episcopal Church this Saturday, December 4, at 11 a.m.. Following the service, the Committal will take place in the St. Mark's Episcopal Church Memorial Garden. Afterward all are welcome to join the family at a reception at home, 5023 Yacht Club Road, Jacksonville Fl. In lieu of flowers the family requests memorials be made to St. Mark's Episcopal Church or Episcopal School of Jacksonville.

Dink is survived by his wife, Margaret Vason Foerster, and five children: David Wendel Foerster, Jr. of Atlanta, Margaret Foerster Bratton ’75 (Theodore) of Raleigh, Michael Clements Foerster ’80 (Michelle), Amy Foerster Lyerly ’84 (John ’86), and Caroline Foerster Hammond ’94 (Brandon) of Jacksonville. His seven grandchildren are Theodore Dubose Bratton, Jr. (Katherine), Gabrielle Bratton Hall (Edwin), Margaret Bratton Dillon (Alexander), John McIllwaine Lyerly ’18, Jr., Caroline Vason Lyerly ’20, Emily Grace Hammond ’25, Anna Wendel Hammond ’29 and three great grandchildren, Theodore DuBose Bratton, III and Mildred Foerster Bratton, and Robert Edwin Hall, Jr.