News as of 18 August 2006 (updated February 2009)


My father, Robert E. Foulger, 76, a quietly accomplished mission advocate and architect of airline cargo software, died Wednesday, Aug. 16, 2006, in Brunswick, Maine.

He was born in Revere, MA on August 30, 1929, the only son of Albert Ernest Foulger and Ada Blanche Paisley, and grew up in nearby Everett, where he met his wife. For most of his life he lived in Levittown and Massapequa Park, NY, where he raised a family and, in his own small way, helped to make the world a little bit better place. He has lived in Bath and Brunswick, Maine since his retirement in 1985.

An employee of Pan American World Airways from 1947 to 1984, he was associated with a number of aviation and computer industry firsts, including the first commercial non-stop flight across the Atlantic, for which he performed the then crucial balance calculations. He appears, along with the flight crew, in a photo that hangs in the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum.

His knowledge of air cargo eventually led to his design of some of the earliest and most widely adopted air cargo tracking computer software. His first software designs were implemented for IBM Stretch computers. His most widely used software was eventually used by almost every airline in the world. This work required him to travel broadly. He visited nearly 100 cities worldwide as early versions of these systems were implemented and deployed throughout Pan Am's extensive international infrastructure. As later versions were developed he helped to design and implement one of the first worldwide computer networks (implemented well before Arpanet). He later worked on the designs for cargo customs software for several countries, including the United States and Great Britain.

His passion was helping others, most often as a respected treasurer and successful fund raiser. In 24 years of service to New York's Presbyterian Camp and Conference Association he helped to acquire and develop the Presbyterian Center at Holmes, a year round camp and conference center which serves hundreds of churches and thousands of children and families every year. He has served as moderator of the Presbytery of Northern New England, vice-moderator of the Long Island Presbytery, chair of the board of trustees of the Long Island Presbytery, board member of the Maine Council of Churches and Brunswick Area Council of Churches, as the treasurer of the Sagadahoc Democrats, and as a member of the board of directors for the Bath Family YMCA. He was recognized as the Northeast YMCA Volunteer of the Year. From 1987-89 he raised millions of dollars to help Maine flood victims as the treasurer of the Maine Interfaith Recovery Flood Relief effort. He was a much sought lay speaker who participated in and led mission oriented services at many Long Island, New York area, and other churches.

He is survived by his wife of 55 years, Marcia (Clarke) Foulger of Brunswick, three children, Davis Foulger, Sarah Foulger, and Alice Pulliam, and eight grandchildren, Devin, Rebecca and Samuel Foulger, Noah and Christopher Hoffman, and Benjamin, Samantha, and Jack Pulliam. He had one great-granddaughter when he died, Charlotte Foulger, and now has a second, Sophie Foulger.

A celebration of Robert E. Foulger's life was held at 2:30 p.m. on Sunday, August 20, 2006 at the Mid-Coast Presbyterian Church, Main Street, Topsham.