Leon Lewis Foster

October 25, 1930 - November 2, 2023


Last updated 11/21/2023 at 11:11am

Leon Lewis Foster

On November 2, Leon Lewis Foster left earth when he was called home to enter his rest with his Heavenly Father. Family members were at his side when he peacefully passed away from natural causes. Leon was 93 years old. He will be missed by his family and the Camp Sherman community which he called home since 1968.

Leon was born on October 25, 1930, in Lower Naches near Yakima, Washington. Leon was the second-oldest of his siblings: Larry (oldest), Lem, Howard, and Althea. Leon's parents, Gail Clayton Foster and Eunice Nelson

Foster, were Pacific Northwest farm and orchard pickers who followed the seasonal crops from Washington to California. His family lived in a tent and cooked over a campfire. Leon was born in an orchard at 8 a.m. on a Saturday morning.

Leon attended Bend High School where he met and married his high school sweetheart, Sylvia McLean, on November 29, 1950. After graduation, he attended Central Oregon Community College for two years, studied electronics and received a Class 2 radio license. Five children were born to Leon and Sylvia: Leon Jr., Mark, Susan, David, and Jeff.

Leon's great love that led him down many desert trails and into remote mountain valleys was prospecting for gold. He had a great zest for adventure and he was never without his handy tool box, gold pan, and gold metal detector. His other interests were exploring the Christmas Valley, Oregon sand dunes in a homemade dune buggy, camping, and spending time with his family. 

In the early 1950s, Leon searched the Nevada desert high and low for uranium deposits. During that era, the U.S. Government offered a $10,000 reward for finding pockets of uranium. When he finally found the elusive desert deposit, the reward offer had ended!

Ponderosa Properties - Sisters, Oregon Realtor

Leon's first job in the 1950s was with the U.S Forest Service as a fire lookout on Cache Mountain and Trout Creek Butte near Sisters. During the late 1950s, Leon and his wife, Sylvia, were employed at Mt. Bachelor Ski Resort from the time that it began its operations. In 1965, Leon and Sylvia left Mt. Bachelor and began managing Hoodoo Ski Bowl on Santiam Pass until 1975. During his 10 years of managing Hoodoo he built two Riblet ski lifts. Building a ski lift was a difficult challenge due to the steep terrain and due to a shortage of ski lift contractors, so he built the lifts himself!

Shortly after Hoodoo Lodge burned down in 1968,which resulted in the loss of all their belongings and their dog King, Leon and Sylvia purchased the Camp Sherman Cold Springs Resort, where the family resided and continued to manage Hoodoo. Leon & Sylvia sold the Cold Springs Resort in 1981 and went gold prospecting on their claims in townsite Greenhorn, Oregon and Susanville, California. In the 1990s they returned to Camp Sherman to assist their son Mark Foster operate the Camp Sherman House on Metolius Resort.

Sisters Furry Friends Foundation

Leon was preceded in death by his wife of 72 years, Sylvia Foster, son David Foster, grandson Tyler, his parents, Gail & Eunice, and brothers Larry, Lem, and Howard Foster. Leon is survived by his sister, Althea Pike of Lebanon Oregon, children Leon Jr. Foster, Mark Foster, Susan Foster Stills and Jeff Foster, 10 grandchildren, 22 great-grandchildren and one great-great grandson, as well as numerous step-grandchildren and step-great-grandchildren. He will live on in our hearts and cherished memories.

ARTifacts 2024 at Sisters High School

A memorial service to celebrate his life will be held at the Chapel in the Pines Church in Camp Sherman on Saturday, December 9, at 2 pm., with Mark Foster officiating.

In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to the Chapel in the Pines, 25767 SW Forest Service Rd. #1419 in Camp Sherman.


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