Sandra Mills Swan Foster, 75, Gouverneur
Tuesday, January 22, 2013 - 9:06 pm

Sandra Mills Swan Foster died peacefully Monday, January 21, 2013 at the home of her daughter and son-in-law, Lauren and Ray French, Gouverneur, where she had resided since June 2012.

She was born in Scranton, Pennsylvania on December 6, 1937 to James Robert and Jane Louise Smith Swan. She was the eldest of five children. She graduated from Jamestown Community College in 1957, Cortland State Teachers College in 1959 and eventually taught fourth grade at East Side Elementary School in Gouverneur. She retired after twenty years of teaching.

She married Richard Lee Foster on November 28, 1958 in Jamestown, during one of the largest winter blizzards for decades. Together they raised five children and are survived by Lee and Diana Barnes Foster, Cayuga, New York and granddaughters Sophia and Isabelle, Lauren and Ray French and grandsons Jonathan, Nathan, Lee and step-grandson Adam, Betty and Cameron Karslake, Lakewood, Ohio and grandchildren Maxwell and Rachel, Sue and Vincent Maresco, Homer, New York and grandchildren Will and Lillian and Catherine and Kevin Kueng, Milton, Wisconsin and granddaughters Claire, Abigail and Lydia. In addition, Sandra is survived by Jack and Doris Swan, Barry and Suzanne Swan Bertram and Ronald and Cynthia Swan Hedman. She is also survived by Fred and Phyllis Foster, Richard and Joan Foster Riesdorph and Betty Foster Burr. Sandy was a loving aunt to many nieces and nephews.

Sandra was predeceased by her husband, Richard; her parents; sister Jill; and brother-in-law Edward Peters, brother-in-law William F. Burr; and nephews John Foster and Timothy Swan.

Sandy was regarded as a kind and caring person, who loved her family, especially her grandchildren. She often said her family was her greatest source of pride and accomplishment. Her hobbies included reading, needlework, gardening and outdoor activities with her family. She was a member of Garden Club, Bridge Club and a past member of United Methodist Women Unit 4. Together with her husband Dick, she contributed to the community through education, church and civic functions. Sandy was especially appreciative of the recent notes and cards from many former students who wrote passionately of the difference Mrs. Foster made in their lives. These letters were cherished.

Sandy devoted the last ten years of her life providing care first to her mother and then her husband. After Dick’s death in 2011, Sandy was able to remain at “The Farm” and lived independently until her cancer diagnosis. In her last months, Sandy was able to visit all her children, traveled to Florida to see relatives, attended the Lion King and Wicked and fulfilled a promise to Dick to get back into the community and worked as the Hostess at the Casablanca Restaurant, where she was treated like a member of the family.

In lieu of cards or flowers, remembrances to Hospice and Palliative Care of St. Lawrence Valley, The Gouverneur Foundation or the Rossie Community Church would be a fitting tribute to a person who valued the needs of others.

The family would like to extend a very special thank you to Pastor David Sheppard and all the care-takers, Hospice employees and volunteers who enabled the family to keep Sandy home, comfortable and surrounded by those who could provide loving support during end-of-life care.

Calling hours will be Friday, February 1, from 4 to 8 p.m. at the French Funeral Home, Gouverneur. The funeral service will be held at the Gouverneur United Methodist Church at 1:00 p.m. on Saturday, February 2. The family will receive guests at the Casablanca Restaurant immediately after the service. Condolences may be made online at