Sharon W. Foster PhD

Published 12:22 pm Friday, November 23, 2012


Sharon W. Foster, PhD died at home in Salisbury, VT on November 19, 2012.

Sharon was born on April 20, 1952 in Berwyn, IL and was the daughter of Herbert G. Foster, Jr. and Shirley (Montgomery) Foster. Sharon grew up in Hazel Crest, IL, graduated from St. Olaf College in Northfield, MN in 1974 with a double major: Psychology and Philosophy, followed by a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology in 1985 from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Email newsletter signup

Sharon’s entire career was spent as a psychologist in the Division of General Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine in the Department of Pediatrics, University of Wisconsin, Madison, where she was also an Associate Professor who contributed to local and national efforts on doctor-patient communication and the health of those who are health care providers. Sharon had a special interest in adolescents and counseled many of them in her career. At one time Sharon was Director, Curriculum and Faculty Development at the University of Wisconsin National Center of Excellence in Women’s Health.

Following a diagnosis of Early Onset Alzheimer’s Disease in January 2006, Sharon left her home and garden in Mazomanie on the sand prairie of Wisconsin and came to Vermont to live with her mother in Salisbury, VT, in March 2006.

Sharon loved and took strength from the natural world, was inspired by the work and writing of Aldo Leopold, books by Hal Borland, the poetry of William Wordsworth, classical music and the bagpipes. In the past Sharon played flute, electronic organ and dulcimer. Sharon was a gourmet cook.

Sharon was predeceased by her father, Herbert G. Foster, Jr. in March 1996. Sharon is survived by her mother, Shirley M. Foster, her brother Lawrence H. Foster, wife Traci and nephews Benjamin and Charles Argo of Valley Grande, AL; aunts Marilyn Marshall and husband Robert, of Windsor, VT, Sheila Legendre and husband David of Danville, VT, uncle Stewart P.Washburn of Portland, ME; 10 cousins, as well as by former husbands Harold Erdman and Arne Thesen.

The family deeply appreciates the happiness brought to Sharon by the friendship of Hospice Volunteers Bethany Barry, Margie Bekoff, Patty Hallum, Chip Mayer, Margaret Olson, and Heidi Willis during their walks, conversations, hours singing together, and by Priscilla Baker, Hospice Volunteer Coordinator, who arranged the visits, and “sings” about the time of Sharon’s birthday, as well as at other times. Sharon received loving care by Dzevida Avdagic, Jayne Fjeld, Jennifer Telling and Melissa Warren. The family is grateful for the perceptive care by Home Health Nurses, Mary Beth Tichacek and Patricia Meyer and their Home Health Aides, especially Michelle Whitney.

Sharon willed her body to the University Of Vermont College Of Medicine. A celebration of Sharon’s life will be held at a later date at the convenience of the family. Donations in Sharon’s memory may be made to Hospice Volunteer Services, 63 Maple St, Middlebury, VT 05753, Addison County Home Health and Hospice, Rt 7 North, Middlebury, VT 05753, or The Prairie Enthusiasts, PO Box 1148, Madison, WI 53701-1148.