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Biography of William M. Foster

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Among the excellent and well equipped printing establishments of Racine is that owned and conducted by William M. Foster under the name of the Lakeside Printing Company. He established the business in 1893 and during the intervening period of twenty-three years has built up a large and gratifying trade, while at all times he has kept his establishment as an exponent of the best in the printing business, his motto being “Printing as you want it, when you want it.”

Mr. Foster was born in Walworth County, Wisconsin, August 15, 1862, and is a son of Leonard M. and Martha M. (Spur) Foster. The father died in 1865, and the mother afterward became the wife of Charles Garfield, of Elkhorn, Wisconsin, and removed to Racine on the 14th of March, 1876. She was born in New York state and came to Wisconsin with her parents in 1843, the family home being established in Walworth County. She died in Racine in 1906. William M. Foster attended the third ward school in Racine, Racine College, and the Marsh Business College but in the interim had begun to earn his living when a youth of ten years. When but a boy he not only provided for his own support. but also aided in the support of his mother. In 1879 he began to learn the printing business, working on the Racine News until 1881 and during the succeeding year on the Advocate. On the 30th of October, 1883, he started and managed the Times, with offices in the Knight building, 510 Main street. It is still published under the name of the Racine Times-Call. Mr. Foster was employed on the Times and Journal from 1884 to 1893. In the latter year he organized the Lakeside Printing Company and established the business which he still conducts and of which he is now exclusive owner. He carries on a general commercial job printing business, and his establishment is liberally patronized, the volume of trade having now reached a large figure. On the 16th of September, 1902, Mr. Foster was married to Miss Jennie F. Dickson, who passed away in March, 1904. For his second wife he chose Gussie R. Shields, whom he wedded November 29, 1908. She is a daughter of Mrs. Mary Syrich Shields, one of the early settlers of this part of the state.

Mr. Foster is identified with the Knights of Pythias, the Uniform Rank, the Pythian Sisters and the Dramatic Order of the Knights of Khorassan. He belongs to Isaac Taylor Lodge of the Sons of St. George, and also to the Royal Arcanum, the Elks and Charles Filer Camp, No. 31, Sons of Veterans, while to its ladies’ auxiliary he has been judge advocate for several years. He was likewise dictator and deputy supreme dictator of the Moose. He became a charter member of the Racine Commercial Club and is much interested in its well defined plans and purposes for the material development and progress of the city. In trade relations he is identified with the Racine Retail Merchants Association. He is an associate member of St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, a member of the Young Men’s Christian Association and an honorary member of the State Woman’s Christian Temperance Union. All these indicate the breadth and nature of his interests, showing that his life is guided by high and honorable principles and that his purposes find expression in those projects which are for the benefit and uplift of mankind. His has been an active and useful life, reaching out along beneficial lines for the material, social and moral progress of the community.


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