Sheldon  Foster

Obituary of Sheldon Robert Bob Foster

Sheldon Robert “Bob” Foster, 93, of Oroville (Pentz/Butte Valley), Calif. passed away peacefully at his ranch on January 21, 2024 after a brief illness. He was born on November 25, 1930 in Chico, Calif. at Enloe Hospital to Genevieve Duensing and Sheldon Leonard Foster. Bob was the descendant of Butte County pioneer families (Duensing, Bennum, Rucker, Colman and Foster). Foster Road in Paradise is named after his great uncle Charles L. Foster and grandfather Robert M. Foster, who first came to the Paradise area in the 1870s. Bob was a third-generation cattleman, following in the footsteps of his parents and grandfather, and the family is still actively engaged in cattle ranching on property homesteaded by the Foster and Elliott families. Bob’s early childhood was spent living in the winter months on the family’s original homestead property in Hamlin Canyon east of Durham. The cattle herd was moved seasonally to the Clear Creek and Powellton Meadow area in northern Butte County during the summer months. After a near-fatal case of pneumonia that delayed his starting school by one year, Bob completed his entire education in Durham, graduating from high school in 1949. Due to the difficulty in traveling from the ranch location to Durham during the winter months, the family acquired a home on Goodspeed Street, where Bob and his mother Genevieve stayed during the week and then returned to the ranch on weekends. By the time Bob entered high school, his mother had remarried to Erol Colman and the family moved to a ranch property on lower Clark Road. Bob continued to work with his father Sheldon, and his mother and step-father in their respective cattle operations, while beginning to acquire his own cattle as a teenager. In high school, he was active in FFA showing steers and participating in chapter activities. During high school he sustained a knee injury while working with his FFA project steer that meant he spent almost two years on crutches. After high school, Bob continued to work with his parents and grew his own operation, leasing properties as they became available. After the death of his father Sheldon in 1958, Bob took over running the ranch begun by his grandfather. He dedicated his life to his livelihood and providing for his family. Bob was a skilled horseman, and could turn his hand to almost any practical skill, including welding, carpentry and electrical work. He spent a few years working for Durham Pump during the early 1950s, and also worked part-time for rice farmers in the Richvale area, all in an effort to continue to grow his ranch. Bob had an incredible work ethic and was a lifelong stockman, actively working on his beloved ranch until the very end of his life. Bob married Carol Wheelock in 1960, welcoming daughter Kay two years later. While the marriage did not last, Bob and Carol remained on good terms throughout their lives. As Bob continued to grow his cattle ranch during the 1950s, he began summering cattle in the Greenville and Taylorsville areas in Plumas County, first leasing pasture, and eventually purchasing his own property. He loved the area and was a respected member of the ranching community in both Plumas and Butte Counties, admired for his devotion to his ranch and family. Bob met the love of his life, elementary school teacher Nancy Rae Rossi in the mid 1960s. She was an avid horsewoman that had spent most of her childhood in the Chico area where her father William Rossi was regional manager for Pacific Bell. They married in August 1969 in the historic Methodist Church in Greenville. Nancy became Bob’s lifelong partner in all aspects of life, and loved being a rancher’s wife. They were devoted to each other, and he provided for Nancy’s well-being as she dealt with a seizure disorder that she developed in her early forties, and again was her caregiver during her battle with cancer that ended her life. In addition to Kay, Nancy and Bob had two children, Mark R. Foster and Holly A. Foster. As an adult, Bob became active in the Butte County Cattlemen’s Association, serving as a director for many years. He was recognized as Butte County Cattleman of the Year in 1986. He was a long-time member of the California Cattlemen’s Association, Butte County Farm Bureau and California Farm Bureau Federation. Bob also served on the Agricultural Advisory Committee for Butte Community College, and was active in other groups that contributed his lifelong passion of cattle ranching. In addition to his busy ranch life, Bob was an avid hunter who enjoyed deer hunting on the property where he had spent his entire life. He loved fly fishing on the West Branch of the Feather River where he and his mother and step-father summered their cattle in Coon Hollow and Snag Lake. Bob was well-liked for his integrity, charm and dry sense of humor. Bob is survived by his children Kay Nelms (Jay), Mark Foster (Brigitte), and Holly Foster; grandchildren Rochelle Hugaboom (Ed), Amy Denlay (Keaton), Adam Nelms (Ashley), Sheldon Foster, and Sawyer Foster; great-grandchildren Chet Nelms and Colter Nelms; brother-in-law William G. Rossi (Shelly); nephew William F. Rossi (Kriztin) and niece Allison Rossi Ferrasci (David). Bob was preceded in death by his parents, and wife Nancy. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Butte County CattleWomen’s Scholarship Fund (designate Scholarship) 495 Stimpson Road, Oroville, CA 95966. There will be a private internment and a celebration of Bob’s life will be held Sunday, April 7, 2024 at Robert Foster Ranch, 2521 Williams Road, Oroville, CA 95965 at 2:30 p.m. Brusie Funeral Home is handling arrangements. Online condolences can be sent to the family at

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