Gene Robertson considers Darrell Foster, who died June 17, to have been a hero of Columbia's black community. Robertson had known Foster for at least 20 years, and he delivered this eulogy at his memorial service.
I wanted to give this eulogy because I know Darrell would have wanted me to do it. I know he is somewhere laughing because he knows I have to say good things about him and not criticize him like I usually do.
1. He loved his family passionately.
2. He was proud of them and of himself.
3. He had two degrees. He had played pro ball in Europe.
4. He loved his community and encouraged me, and the First Ward ambassador, to work with him to address the community and its needs.
He was courageous, not fearless. He feared, but he was courageous enough to act in spite of his fears.
His hero was Medgar Evers, who gave his life for civil rights 50 years ago this month. He was proud of attending the Million Man March, and of getting Almeta Crayton elected here in Columbia.
Darrell was a big man with a big heart who will be missed by all of us — and by a lot of people who did not always witness his impact but felt his impact without knowing who was standing up for them.
If he could speak to us now, I believe he would say:
I am gone,
Cry for me a little,
Think of me sometimes but not too much,
Think of me as I was in life.
Sometimes it may be be pleasant to recall me,
But not for long — you have your work to do. I am at peace, and I wish you peace. Our times were good times, and I wish you all my best.
Who do you consider to be heroes in your community? Consider telling us about them in the section of the Missourian called From Readers, which is dedicated to your voices and your stories. Here's how to share. Supervising editor is Joy Mayer.