In Memoriam: David Foerster

In Memoriam: David Foerster
David Foerster | July 22, 1923 – November 10, 2021

July 22, 1923 – November 10, 2021

David Wendel Foerster, known by a third-generation family nickname “Dink,” passed away on November 20, 2021 at the age of 98.

Foerster was a Jacksonville native, whose family originally came to Florida in 1870. He was son to the late Robert O. and Ewing Wendel Foerster. He was predeceased by two brothers, James W. and Robert O. Foerster, Jr.

He is survived by his wife, Margaret Vason Foerster, and five children: David, Margaret, Michael, Amy, and Caroline. Foerster had seven grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

“He loved his wife, his children, his grandchildren, and his great-grandchildren. Family was always first and foremost to him,” said Paralegal Rebecca J. Schriver, FRP, CP of Foerster, Isaac & and Yerkes, P.A. Schriver remembers fondly a particular day when she had to deliver papers to Foerster while he was hospitalized. When his wife returned after running a brief errand, she asked her husband how he was doing. “Margaret, I am fine now that you are here,” Schriver recalls Foerster responding. “He was a great man!” Schriver said.

Foerster served in the Navy as an aviator during and after WWII. He graduated in 1947 with a Bachelor of Science degree and in 1951 with a Juris Doctorate degree, both from Washington and Lee University, where he had been a member of Phi Delta Theta, Phi Delta Phi Legal, and Omicron Delta Kappa.

Upon admission to The Florida Bar, Foerster practiced law in Jacksonville and throughout Florida and the southeast for 70 years, specializing in Eminent Domain trial practice. He served as General Counsel for the Jacksonville Expressway Authority, responsible for the acquisition of right of way for the original Jacksonville Expressway System. He left the Jacksonville Expressway Authority to start his own practice representing landowners and businesses whose properties were taken for public use.

Foerster co-authored the text “Florida Eminent Domain Practice and Procedure” published by The Florida Bar, the organization that honored him in 2000 for his contribution to Eminent Domain laws in the state. He published many other articles on the subject as well. Foerster served on the Board of Governors of The Florida Bar and was past president of the Jacksonville Bar Association.

Foerster was well respected by his colleagues. Fred C. Isaac, Foerster’s law partner for over 30 years at Foerster, Isaac & Yerkes, P.A., said of him, “He taught us all how to prepare for an eminent domain trial.  He was always prepared and ready to do battle for his clients.  You rarely saw him without a coat and tie.  He was a gentleman and a scholar in every respect.”  Isaac stated, “Dink was involved in 52 appellate decisions, many of which changed the course of eminent domain law providing full compensation to land and business owners.”

Foerster was a co-founder of The Episcopal School of Jacksonville, serving as Vice Chairman of the Executive Committee for the Planning Group in 1966. He served on the school’s first Board of Trustees and for many terms afterwards, including as Chairman. He was a member of the Foundation Board, named an Honorary Lifetime Alumnus, served as Trustee Emeritus, and was an Episcopal parent and grandparent. One of the school’s original structures, which now houses classrooms, is named after Foerster. 

Foerster’s list of local memberships was extensive: St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, serving on its Vestry for many years and frequently participating as a volunteer at the Sulzbacher Center; Jacksonville Symphony Association, acting as president and serving on the Board for 40 years; Florida Yacht Club honorary life member; The Friars; the Wednesday Group; and Jacksonville Rotary Club, recognized as a Paul Harris Fellow. A long-time member and past president of Memorial Park Association, Foerster was devoted to the beauty and maintenance of the site where he had first learned to ride a bike when he was five years old.

A funeral service was held for Foerster at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church and a Committal took place afterwards in their Memorial Garden. Following the service, friends and family gathered for a reception at the Foerster home.

Memorials can be made to St. Mark’s Episcopal Church or The Episcopal School of Jacksonville.

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