Remembering Phillip “Skip” Foster

We are very sad to learn of the passing of LightHouse longtime employee, supporter and friend, Skip Foster on June 12. His name will be familiar to many in our community, as from 1990 to 2019, Skip was a fixture at LightHouse, working at LightHouse Industries. He also supported campers at Enchanted Hills Camp, took part in as many LightHouse events as possible, and was always willing to lend a helping hand when anybody needed one.

LightHouse CEO, Bryan Bashin, recalls:

“Skip essentially built our NIB social enterprise, first on Poplar Street in Oakland, then in San Leandro. Over the years he was responsible for supervising many dozens of blind employees, and his operation contributed back to LightHouse at least $20 million during that time. It was essentially the second largest source of blind program support in our history.

“In the early days, Skip would also bring his crew to Enchanted Hills Camp, to use their mechanical skill to fix and build things that needed attention.”

Skip led the LightHouse Industries facility first in Oakland, then in San Leandro. At the time, the focus was on producing toilet tissue for the military and other large organizations. It is said that if you laid the toilet tissue end to end, all the packets of tissue produced by Skip would stretch to the moon and almost all the way back to earth again.

Jonathon Vona, Director of Manufacturing at LightHouse Industries, Sirkin center, had this to say:

“Skip dedicated 29 years to LightHouse and help build camp and touched the lives of many in the blind community. He was a planner and good leader; he also was a wealth of knowledge of all things Coca-Cola. He was a great guy and I will miss him.”

Enchanted Hills Camp Director, Tony Fletcher, also has very fond memories of Skip:

“I first met Skip at the LightHouse in 1993. We hit it off rather quickly because he was a Raider’s football fan and at that time they were still my favorite team, too.

“My favorite memory of Skip was his generosity. I would be looking thru the Annual Report and notice how he may personal donations to Enchanted Hills Camp. He always had a soft spot for us at camp.

“Skip was generous, soft spoken, supportive with a sly sense of humor. He was always willing to help when asked. He loved music and had a side job as a DJ and he loved to dance, too.

Skip never desired or wanted the microphone or stage. He believed his actions and work ethic spoke loud enough. He chose a career with the LightHouse because he felt his work made a personal difference in the lives of our community and that he was very proud of.”

Our thoughts are with Skip’s family and friends at this time; we are so grateful to have been able to have Skip among us as a colleague, friend and supporter.

We are grateful for all the hard work and passion that Skip poured into LightHouse.

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