Magazine chief never lost his sense of humor

David Crawford Foster wrote many fishing and hunting articles for Gray's Sporting Journal and other publications. He was diagnosed with stage IV advanced renal cell carcinoma in 2005.

David Crawford Foster, the strategic adviser for national magazines for Morris Communications Co., died Tuesday at University Hospital after battling cancer. He was 62. A memorial service is pending.


The Augusta resident was a leader within America's independent magazine community for many years, including serving as editor in chief of Gray's Sporting Journal . He was the general manager of Morris' national outdoors magazines, including Alaska magazine, Fly Tyer , The Milepost , American Angler and Destination Alaska magazine.

Mr. Foster was internationally regarded as an expert in fishing and hunting, writing eloquently about them in a literary style for Gray's Sporting Journal and other publications. His articles often were accompanied by his high-quality photographs.

"David Foster was a unique individual," said William S. Morris III, the chairman and CEO of Morris Communications Co. "He loved the out-of-doors with a passion. He wrote about it with considerable ability and skill. His columns and articles were entertaining, enlightening and humorous."

Mr. Foster's contributions to and management of Gray's Sporting Journal during his 15 years as editor in chief were excellent, Mr. Morris said.

"He improved the magazine in every way. He helped our company build its magazine division, and he did a good job of managing it," Mr. Morris said. "It was my pleasure to know David Foster both professionally and personally. He was my friend. He will be missed not only by his associates but his many readers."

Augustans know Mr. Foster as an award-winning history columnist for Augusta Magazine for the past 10 years. His wife, Sherry, is that magazine's editor. Other survivors include his son, Richard Crawford Foster, Marietta, Ga.; his daughters, Rebecca Elizabeth Tonge, Winder, Ga.; Hillary Foster Pennington, Laurel, Md.; and Alexandra Lee Foster, Augusta; his brother, Edward Foster Jr., Navarre, Fla.; his sisters, Katherine Foster, Fort Walton Beach, Fla.; Helen Foster Pate, Sparta, Tenn.; and Martha Elizabeth Foster, Virginia Beach, Fla.; and seven grandchildren.

Mr. Foster was a native of Mobile, Ala., but grew up in Macon, Ga. He received a bachelor of arts degree in history from Georgia College. He began his journalism career in 1969 as a stringer for the Honolulu Star-Bulletin . During his career, he wrote for a wide variety of magazines and newspapers, including the Atlanta Journal-Constitution . Mr. Foster was the publisher of Atlanta and New Orleans magazines and the editor of Business Atlanta magazine before joining Morris Communications in 1991.

In April 2005, Mr. Foster was diagnosed with advanced renal cell carcinoma, stage IV. As a result of e-mails to his "wellness group" of friends and colleagues, Mr. Foster began chronicling his battle with the disease in a blog titled "David Foster's Kicking Kidney Cancer's Arse."

"I don't even want to think about the last day of my life," he wrote in one of his blog messages. "Jesus, cancer can be depressing enough without getting maudlin. No, I just live every day like it was another day. Some days I feel pretty good; some days I do not. On the days I do not, I just nap a little more to enjoy the next good day coming up, but damn sure not the last one of my life."

Even in dealing with a bleak future, Mr. Foster never lost his sense of humor. He wrote in one of his blog postings, "Even the last day of your life can have meaning. A warrior friend died recently and I went to see him the day before the last day of his life. He smiled weakly and said, 'Dying ain't so bad. You get to hold the hands of all the people who love you.' Frankly, I would rather be shooting birds, but you gotta give him credit for keeping life going to the very end.

"When I have to go there," Mr. Foster added, "there will be no choice but to go. But just by keeping a close eye on tomorrow helps ensure it does not get away."

Platt's Funeral Home, 721 Crawford Ave., is in charge of arrangements.