Roberta Hanser Foss (2/4/1938 – 4/18/2023) grew up in Edwardsville, IL, the only child of Robert and Gertrude Hanser. She graduated from the University of Michigan, met and married Fritz Levenbach, and moved to Japan with him. While there, she learned to speak Japanese and fell in love with the language and culture. She returned to the US after several years, where she and Fritz were divorced. She then got a Masters in East Asian Studies at the University of Michigan and returned to Japan to work at Expo 1970 as a bi-lingual guide. Her first job with the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) in the early 1970s was as International Affairs Associate in Tokyo, moving into the role of Quaker International Affairs Representative.
In 1975, Roberta returned to Philadelphia, where she soon became the Director of East Asia Programs at AFSC. There she met Terry Foss, who became the love of her life. They lived together for several years and then married in 1984. They always had beloved dogs, sometimes two at a time. And they shared a love of the outdoors, particularly canoeing, and spent part of each summer in Maine for more than 40 years. For many years they lived in Mt. Airy, taking advantage of the nearby Carpenter’s Woods and being part of that close community.
Roberta left AFSC in 1992, when she retired early to pursue her painting. She produced glorious artwork for the remainder of her life. Much of it can be viewed at RobertaFoss.com.
In 2014, Roberta and Terry moved to Medford Leas Retirement Community in Medford, NJ. They both loved canoeing and took their canoe to Medford for rides on the Rancocas Creek that runs through Medford Leas’ campus. Predictably, Roberta jumped into various activities at Medford Leas, and was also devoted to and active in Medford Friends Meeting.
A memorial service for Roberta is planned to be held on June 11, 2023, at 2pm at Medford Friends Meeting, 14 Union St., Medford, NJ 08055. Donations in her name may be made to Medford Friends Meeting, 14 Union St., Medford, NJ 08055. Roberta made the world brighter and will be missed greatly.