Juanita “Nitz” Foster of Sister Lakes, MI passed away at home with her family by her side on August 1, 2019. She has left the building but her laugh lingers on. Juanita was born August 30, 1926 on the family farm in Raab Corners, Ohio. She was the second child of Isadore and Marcella (Morse) Langenderfer. In 1929 the family lost everything in the Stock Market Crash and moved to Toledo, Ohio. They moved again to Chicago, IL about 1934.
Nitz attended Thornton Township High School in Harvey, Illinois where she was kicked out for smoking in the girl’s bathroom. She continued her education at St Anne’s High School in Chicago, Illinois where she spent her money on movies and lunch instead of attending school. She married Vincent “Bud” Foster on May 8, 1948 in Homewood, Illinois. They bought their first home in Riverdale, IL in 1954 where they raised their family. After Bud retired in the 70’s, they moved to Sister Lakes, Michigan. They loved to travel by car, RV, motorcycle, snowmobile, and boat. After too many winters in Michigan they moved to Naples, Florida full time.
Nitz’s hobbies included interior decorating, needle work, sewing, upholstering, crocheting and many other craft projects. She used to sit up nights when her girls were young sewing doll clothes for Christmas. Bud said when she recovered the couch and chairs “good thing you’re not here or she would upholster you, too”! She was always very independent and did a lot of her own major home improvement projects. It wasn’t a surprise to come home and find a wall taken out. She loved cooking, arranging parties and shopping and preparing for them. At age 90, she was sanding and painting floor vent covers. At 92, she helped spackle the holes in the walls. There wasn’t anything she wouldn’t tackle. Nitz set a perfect example of clean and organized.
Nitz had a fear of water and couldn’t swim but was on a boat all her adult life. She would clean a boat from stem to stern. As First Mate standing on the bow of the boat she would guide the Captain through shallow waters and toss the lines to tie off at the dock. Nitz loved adventure, making many trips to the Bahamas and exotic places by boat. For fear of sinking of falling overboard on rough seas she would say “I have permanent lip prints on my behind from kissing it good bye”.
When hurricane Irma hit Naples FL in Sept 2017, it was the last straw – Nitz insisted on moving back to Michigan. We packed up 3 households full of essentials and memories and off caravan style we went to our new home in Sister Lakes, MI. We were in the new house by Thanksgiving. It was a real climate change for mom from Florida. No winter clothes, coats or boots. She had to start from scratch. Of course she wanted a very specific type of white winter coat but Walmart didn’t have one. She settled for a normal black nylon parka.
Everyone will remember Nitz always laughed. Her very young grandson said it best when he told his friend “she laughs at everything – even things that aren’t funny”. So, in her honor we continue the tradition in her obituary. Nitz left her daughters a lot of stuff they have no idea what to do with. If you’re in need of a large wooden clothes pin or a yellow stuffed duck with a raincoat or a huge peacock necklace just let us know!
Survivors include her daughters, Valerie (Keith) Hand, and Charlotte Harrison; grandsons, Scott Bradford and Timothy (Michelle) Bradford; great- granddaughter who called her GiGi, Madison Bradford all of Sister Lakes, MI; sister-in-law, Marilyn Langenderfer of Flossmoor, Illinois; many nieces, nephews and extended family members and friends. She was preceded in death by her husband of 61 years, Bud and three brothers Rudy Langenderfer 1928-1947, Bernard Langenderfer 1925-1990 and Russell Langenderfer 1932-2011.
If you can’t laugh, what’s left?
Arrangements entrusted to Purely Cremations – Starks Family Funeral Homes and Cremation Services in Benton Harbor, MI 926-9440.
In lieu of flowers, memorials can be made to the American Diabetes Association.
A Celebration of Life will be held Sunday, August 25, 2019 from 3-5 pm at Zeke’s Restaurant, Dowagiac, Michigan.
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