Edwin Lemuel Foster II, famed long-time local of Gunnison County, left us suddenly and unexpectedly Saturday, Aug. 10, at age 56. Witty and energetic, humorous and kind, Edwin’s trailblazing legacy persists in his many areas of athletic and intellectual talent.
Edwin was born Oct. 1, 1962 to the late Gary Lee and Sarah-Jane Nelson (Futch) Foster in Reno, Nev. The majority of his childhood was spent in Clancy, Mont. Edwin moved to Colorado the October of 1980, where he would remain for the rest of his life. He attended Western State College and received his Bachelors of Art in English Literature in 1986. Edwin worked predominantly as a stucco contractor, and as one of the city’s recycling technicians. Renown for his friendly, charismatic demeanor, one couldn’t help but become his friend after speaking to him.
Edwin’s free spirit expressed itself best in the great Colorado outdoors, shredding snow on a pair of skis or climbing its greatest geological structures. Edwin had the unique honor of competing in all five of the U.S. Extreme Skiing Championships held in Crested Butte. Among skiing stars and experts, he earned nicknames like Headspin and Shredwin. When there was no snow to be skied, Edwin could be found in the middle of nowhere, latched onto a rock. A pioneer of countless routes and first ascents all across Colorado, he was always on the lookout for new places to conquer.
Edwin’s intellectual passions were uniquely esoteric. An experience from Edwin’s childhood grew into a lifelong archeological hobby: unearthing and collecting Colorado’s antique bottles from breweries long gone. This collection was his pride and joy, and with an infectious grin, he could recount the story of each and every bottle to anyone who dared to get him started. His historical aptitude allowed him to connect the stories of his treasures to events that occurred in America’s past, bringing long forgotten tales of the wild, wild west back to life.
A soundtrack accompanied Edwin wherever he went in his exploits. He prided himself as an old-school rocker, and could always be found listening to music pulled from his towering collection of tapes. As with anything from his collections, with every song came a story — either of the band itself or of his associations with it and its music.
Edwin was preceded in death by his father and mother, Gary Lee and Sarah-Jane Nelson (Futch) Foster. Left to perpetuate his tale and cherish his memory are his daughter, Mikiko Kusaka Foster, his siblings Margaret-Eleanor (Aaron) Robinson, Seth (Suzanne) Foster, many nieces and nephews, as well as a countless number of friends. Edwin’s celebration of life took place Wednesday, Aug. 21 at Legion Park here in Gunnison.
To have lost Edwin is to have lost a true embodiment of America’s wild spirit. He will be sorely missed by all those who looked up to him as an athlete, a collector, a man and as a father. Edwin was an irreplaceable man who lived an inimitable life, and will surely find himself among the western legends he so adored.