A Tribute to Jim and Bev Foster’s YMCA Legacy

Orthman Community YMCA staff and members are mourning the loss of two special members who recently died. Jim and Bev Foster died within three months of each other. But, before that, they visited the YMCA 518 times in one year.

The Fosters enjoyed walking, yoga and other exercises, but they especially cherished the friendships and camaraderie they found at the Y.

Their son, Gary Foster, said his parents cultivated a close group of friends through their years of exercising at the Y.

“The Y allowed them to reconnect with community members and meet people,” Gary said. “The social aspect helped them to get out and be part of the community.”

Jim died on Nov. 20, 2023, at age 83. Bev died on Feb. 17, 2024, at age 77.

Before Jim started exercising at the Y, he had worked for Roberts Cattle Company for 39 years and then for Davis Energy for eight more years.

“Dad had jobs that were very hands-on,” Gary said. “So, when he retired from work, he said ‘I can’t sit around the house all day.’”

He would walk at the Y in the morning and then go back in the afternoon and walk again. Eventually, he also invited Bev to go along. At some point,  Gary said his parents met a group that started meeting for coffee at the Y after their exercise.

Darrel Yerg was part of that coffee group.

Darrel said he went to the Y most weekday mornings between 9:30-10 a.m. and often exercised next to Bev on the NU-Step. A group of them would then meet in the YMCA social lobby to drink coffee, visit and share stories. Jim often shared stories of his time in the Army.

“That was something I always looked forward to, seeing everybody.” Darrell said. “Jim and Bev were awfully nice people. I miss both of them.”

YMCA Instructor Joyce Muzzey encouraged Jim to attend her Yoga Chi Class on Wednesday mornings for several years.

“It took me a long time to get him to come through the door,” Joyce said. “He finally came and decided he liked it. He had been coming for close to three years.”

Jim was the only man in the class that usually included five to eight others.

“I think he liked the group,” Joyce said. “I think he felt like it gave him something more to do for his balance and for him to move more.”

Joyce sometimes joined Jim and his coffee group after class and enjoyed hearing the stories told.

Gary said his mom also made close connections with the coffee group at the Y, including one friend. Deb, who had moved to Omaha. Deb visited his mom every other day when she was in the hospital there before she died.

After Jim died in November, Bev directed memorials to the Orthman Community YMCA.

“I think that he would have wanted it to go the Y since that’s where he spent most of his time,” Gary said.

The children followed that lead again when Bev died.

“The Y had treated them so well and helped them out immensely so that’s why we wanted to do memorials to the YMCA.”