Preserving the Past, Informing the Future
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Carl Foster, a judge of the Superior Court from 1927 to 1942 and an active state referee from 1942 until shortly before his death, died at Bridgeport on March 13, 1959, after an illness of only a few days.
Judge Foster was born in the town of Waterford, Virginia, on August 28, 1872, the son of Isaac McKendrie Foster and Julia E. Masher Foster. His father was a minister and Civil War veteran who returned to Connecticut, where his ancestors had lived for more than 250 years, six months after the birth of his son.
Judge Foster was graduated from Dickinson College, Carlisle, Pennsylvania, in 1893 with an A.B. degree. In 1894, he returned to Bridgeport and entered the law office of the late Alfred B. Beers, a close family friend, where he studied law. He was admitted to the bar of this state in 1896. He rapidly developed a large practice and became known as one of the leading trial lawyers of the state. He also took an active part in community affairs. As a Republican, he was elected for a two-year term to the board of alderman of the city of Bridgeport. He served as a judge of the City Court six years. He also served five years as a trustee of the Connecticut School for Epileptics. For more than thirty years he was a director of the City Trust Company and its predecessor, the City National Bank. At one time, he was a trustee for the First Presbyterian Church of Bridgeport.
For almost twenty years, Judge Foster lectured weekly at the New York University Law School on Connecticut practice. These lectures were always held on Friday afternoons, and it was his regular practice following the short calendar to go to New York on that day. He scarcely missed a single lecture during the entire period of time. He also took a great interest in the affairs of Masonry and was a Scottish Rite Mason of the 33d degree, a Knight Templar and a member of the Masonic Lodge No. 104, A.F. & A.M., Pyramid Temple Shrine, Lafayette Consistory, Jerusalem Council and Jerusalem Chapter. At one time, he was active in the affairs of the Independent Order of Redmen, serving a term as national leader of that organization. He was a member of the American Bar Association, the Connecticut Bar Association, the Bridgeport Bar Association, the Mayflower Society, the Sons of the American Revolution and the Sanford Society of America. He was also a member of the University Club, the Brooklawn Country Club and the Graduates Club of New Haven. After his elevation to the bench, he gave up most of his other activities and devoted his full time and energy to his judicial duties.
The recital of his many activities gives some idea of the full life he led and enjoyed, but his chief interest was always the practice of law. He was a prodigious worker, an able advocate and an aggressive and thorough trial lawyer. His experience in trial work, more extensive than that of most appointees to judicial office, equipped him admirably for the performance of his judicial duties. His service on the bench was characterized by skill and technical ability of a high order, a deep-seated respect for the majesty of the law and the dignity of the court, and a sense of the drama of the courtroom. He was indeed a colorful figure as he presided at the trials in this state.
On June 29, 1897, Judge Foster married Delia Norcross of Carlisle, Pennsylvania, whose wise counsel contributed much to her husband's success in life. They both enjoyed traveling and spent many of their vacations visiting the scenic and historic places of this country and Europe. Mrs. Foster died in 1951.
Judge Foster left five daughters, Mrs. Milton Heath of Floresville, Texas; Mrs. J. Foster Hawkes of Fairfield; Mrs. G. E. Menzel, Jr., of New York City; Mrs. Schuyler Voorhess of Amsterdam, New York; and Mrs. Edward B. Lang of Bridgewater; a son, George N. Foster of Fairfield; ten grandchildren; and ten great-grandchildren. Another son, Sheldon J. Foster, died in 1931.