Joe Foster '56 May 12, 2020 9:18 AM updated: May 13, 2020 11:57 AM
Joe Bill Foster
JULY 25, 1934 – MAY 9, 2020
Joe Bill Foster passed away suddenly from cardiac arrest on Saturday, the 9th of May 2020. He was 85 years of age.
He is survived by Harriet Dorman Ruez Foster, his wife of 29 years; his children, Warren and wife Mirta and their children Ben and wife Becca and William, Kenneth and wife Valerie and their son Alexander and Jennifer Foster. He is also survived by children Bryan and wife Nancy and their children William and wife Caroline and Christopher Ruez, Gretchen and her husband Cliff Carraway and Richard Ruez. In retirement, Joe especially loved spending time with his great-grandchildren Rose Foster and William, Jack, and Alice Ruez. Joe was preceded in death by his first wife Mary Alice.
Joe was born on July 25, 1934 in Arp, Texas the only son of Ruth Knox and William R. Foster. He was raised in Greenville, Texas and graduated with highest honors from Greenville High school in 1952. He attended Texas A&M University, Class of '56, and graduated with a B.S. in petroleum engineering and a B.B.A. in general business.
Joe went to work as a petroleum engineer for Tenneco Oil and had a successful 31-year career where he last served as Chairman of both Tenneco Oil Company and Tennessee Gas Transmission Company. In 1989, Joe, with former Tenneco employees and investors, founded Newfield Exploration Company. He retired as CEO in 2001 and Chairman in 2005. During Joe’s distinguished career, he held key positions in the energy industry including the National Petroleum Council, Independent Petroleum Association of America, and served on the corporate boards of Baker Hughes, McDermott International, Inc., New Jersey Resources Company and Targa Resources Company. In 2000, Joe served as interim CEO of Baker Hughes. Joe was Chairman and Senior Advisor of TPH Partners, LLC, a private equity fund affiliated with Tudor, Pickering, Holt & Co.
Joe served in various capacities including as Chairman for many not-for-profit organizations, including YMCA of Greater Houston, Houston Hospice, Houston Museum of Natural Science, Houston A+ Challenge, Memorial Hermann Healthcare System, Houston Methodist Research Institute, Texas A&M University Foundation, and the Association of Former Students.
In 1997, Joe was named a Distinguished Alumnus of Texas A&M University. The Joe B. Foster Chair in Business Leadership was established in the Mays College of Business in 2002 with funding from the Foster family and Newfield Exploration. In 2006, Joe was inducted into the Texas A&M University Corps of Cadets Hall of Honor.
In 1997, Joe was named a Distinguished Alumnus of Texas A&M University. The Joe B. Foster Chair in Business Leadership was established in the Mays College of Business in 2002 with funding from the Foster family and Newfield Exploration.
In 2009, the YMCA on 34th Street was named The Harriet and Joe Foster YMCA and in 2015 The Harriet and Joe Foster Field at The Miracle League, the adaptive sports complex at the Langham Creek YMCA, was dedicated to recognize their many contributions to the YMCA of Greater Houston.
Joe was named “Entrepreneur of the Year” in Houston’s Energy Sector in 1994 and “All American Wildcatter” in 1995. In 2004 , Joe was inducted into the Offshore Energy Center Hall of Fame and in 2006 into the Texas Business Hall of Fame.
Joe credited his success to his loving parents, teachers, supportive family, friends, and those he had the good fortune to work with during his career. Joe cared very deeply about his family, enjoyed many long-term friendships which were formed throughout all aspects of his life. Joe was truly respected and loved by everyone who knew him.
In lieu of customary remembrances, the family requests with gratitude that gifts be made to one of Joe's favorite charities:
YMCA of Greater Houston,
Alzheimer's Cell Therapy at Houston Methodist,
After opening the Methodist website select "Other" under gift designation then enter "Alzheimer research's - Joe B Foster". Or mail to Houston Methodist PO Box 4384, Houston, TX 77210 and specify that the donation is for Alzheimer's research in memory of
Joe B. Foster.
A celebration of Joe's life is being considered and will be announced at a later date.
Please visit Mr. Foster's online memorial tribute at GeoHLewis.com where memories and words of comfort and condolence may be shared electronically with his family.
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