Mary Bates Foster, 86, whose life touched hearts as an author, community leader, artist, and social worker, passed away peacefully on Tuesday, July 26, 2022, in Charleston, SC
Born in Greenville, SC, she was the daughter of the late William Joseph Bates and Janelle Hubbard Bates of Greenville.
She received her early education in Greenville County Schools, attended Winthrop College, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, and graduated Summa cum laude at Limestone College.
She championed women’s education, health, and outreach as a Program Manager with Piedmont Council and later as Director of the Friendship House community ministry center at Hampton Heights Baptist Church, all in Greenville. Mary was the author of four published books, including We The Women, a detailed history of work by the South Carolina Baptist Convention’s Women’s Missionary Union (WMU). She served WMU as Executive Board VP, Pro-team, member at-large. While working with WMC she published group mission’s programs, teaching guides, and numerous articles. She served as WMU Centennial Chairwoman, led the Cooperative Program Task Force, and was a Board of Trustees member for Marietta Baptist Camp near her home in Pumpkintown, SC.
Mary was as talented an artist as she was a community leader. Her works included professional wedding cake designs, antique dolls, garden benches, dress-making, and especially quilting, which earned her numerous awards at regional shows.
She delighted in the joys and growth of her surviving family: sons, John Foster (Bridget) of Atlanta, GA, and Dean Foster (Allison) of Meggett, SC; grandchildren, Durham and Brandon; daughter, Judi McNeely (Jerry) of Johns Island, SC; granddaughter, Erin McNeely Hill (Travis) of Johns Island; and two great-grandchildren, Madison and Hudson Hill.
Mary was preceded in death in 2016, by her loving husband, James W. “Jimmy” Foster, Jr.
Mary’s family would like to express deep, sincere appreciation to the caregivers who assisted her during her later years in assisted living in Charleston.
A visitation will be held Sunday, July 31, 2022, from 3:00 p.m. until 5:00 p.m. at Thomas McAfee Funeral Homes, Downtown, 639 N. Main St., Greenville, SC. Burial will be held on Monday, August 1, 2022, at 11:00 a.m. at Woodlawn Memorial Park in Greenville, followed by a memorial service at 1:00 p.m. at Pickens First Baptist Church, 406 E. Main St., Pickens, SC.
Memorials may be made to the Connie Maxwell Children’s Home, P.O. Box 1178, Greenwood, SC 29648-1178, conniemaxwell.com.
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