After nearly 93 full years of life, Charles Clyde Foust went to his heavenly home on Saturday, February 27, 2021. Charles was born on April 8, 1928, in Coal Creek, Tennessee as the second of seven children to Kelly and Chloe Foust.
Charles was a much loved man whom many felt connected to, this lead to many nicknames being given to him by his various friends and family members. Depending on how you knew Charles would be the deciding factor as to what his name was to you; if you worked with him you may have called him Charlie, if you grew up with him you would have called him Stumpy, his siblings called him Dank, Dink or Clyde. This eventually lead to Charles giving each of his grandchildren their own special nickname, and then lead to nicknames for his great grandchildren.
Family was always the center of his life. He took great pride in saying, “I met Jean (wife) at a church weenie roast when she was 15 years old, and from that came a family of more than 40 people.” Charles and Jean were married for 71 years. The legacy they left in their family was something they lovingly reflected on, particularly in their later years. Charles was known for putting his family first. He gave up multiple professional opportunities that would have moved him further from his parents and grandparents or uprooted his children and wife. He would surprise his children and grandchildren with fun pets like ponies, sheep, goats, pigs, and bunnies. He built putt-putt courses, badminton courts, ping pong tables, playhouses, and softball fields. He created fun evenings of weenie roasts and firefly catching, and made cane poles for everyone for fishing outings. He drove his children cross country to see America, took beach vacations with kids and grandkids always impressing with his high dives off the pool diving board, rafting trips out in big ocean waves, and diving down to collect sand dollars. Every trip was filled with singing and he loved having his family singing along with him on road trips. Charles enjoyed cooking for his family, always making fruit cobblers, chili, fresh biscuits and gravy, or his famous drinkable oatmeal. He loved having all of his family gather together at the home he built with his own two hands, celebrating Christmas, Thanksgiving, birthdays, anniversaries, or any reason to gather and celebrate the family.
Charles was a fearless, hardworking, dedicated, entrepreneurial, humorous, Vol loving, always learning, Charlie Pride listening, storytelling, and a giving human being. Following high school, he joined the Navy during WWII. He served as a Navy Aircraft Mechanic, and trained as a gunner. After his years of service in the Navy, he and Jean married and began living a life that formed a strong family legacy. Charles went on to attend the University of Tennessee studying chemistry, while there he joined the Volunteer football team. At just 5’6” “Stumpy” was known to be very athletic. He always loved the Vols, was proud to be a VFL, always watched UT football games and both the men’s and women’s basketball games right up until just a couple of days before he passed away. Utilizing his chemistry background led to a career working at Oak Ridge National Lab, where he spent 35 years before retiring. He also was the founder of Foust Chemical Co. where he invented a new chemical for the dairy industry. He and wife, Jean, also owned and operated Pants ‘n Things, a women’s clothing store where Charles created patterns and made his own line of women’s slacks. An avid gardener for most of his life, he considered himself a farmer and when asked, would often state that as his career. He kept a bountiful garden, fruit trees, bushes, and bees. He canned, made jellies, and was always sure to share his abundant crops with family and friends. You always left his home with a bag of tomatoes, a jar of jelly, a bottle of his homemade muscadine wine, or a can of his fresh green beans. Working his land was a hobby he took very seriously.
Stumpy’s time working with aircraft in the Navy, spurred a love of flying, and in later years he turned this into another hobby. He would go on to get his pilot’s license and co-own a plane with his younger brother Jim. Family and friends have memories of him flying them in the Grumman American Yankee. Being a member of the Coal Creek Masonic Lodge was important to him and he was heavily involved until more recent years when his wife became ill. Jean passed away in February of 2020. Charles was her dedicated caregiver for years as she lived with Alzheimer’s Disease. He was always by Jean’s side, and was her constant love and support. Charles lived a life that his family admired, respected, appreciated and will strive to proudly continue sharing his legacy for generations to come.
Preceding Charles in death is his wife Wilma Jean Miller Foust, parents Kelly and Chloe Foust, sister Faye Foust Adkins, brother Jim Foust, sister, Helen Foust Morton, daughter, Linda Gale Foust Dyer, and son, Charles Clyde Foust II. Charles is survived by sister, Louise Foust Hartnett of Aiken, South Carolina, sister, Janet Foust Adkins of Statesville, North Carolina, brother John Foust of Rocky Top, Tennessee, daughter Patricia Foust Osteen (Bill) of Beech Island, SC, daughter, Connie Foust Lackey (Mike) of Sylva, North Carolina, daughter, Kathy Foust Waldrop (Loy) of Farragut, Tennessee, and daughter in law, Karen Foust (widow of Charles “Chuck” Foust II). Charles and wife Jean shared 14 grandchildren; Amanda Sharp Hill (Len), Laura Waldrop Okada (Jun), Jessica Sharp Carnathan (Doug), Leigh Dyer Long (Bruce), Jill Marie Dyer, Allison Osteen Hendrix (Andy), Casey Osteen Williams (Josh), William Foust Osteen (Natalie), Jennifer Smith Thielker (Matthew), Jenna Lackey Bauer, Leslie Nicole Smith, and Morgan Smith Lewis (Spencer). His legacy will also continue through the lives of his 28 and counting great grandchildren. He was also blessed with many surviving nieces, nephews, cousins, as well as his uncle Jack Reed.
Services will be held Thursday, March 4, 2021 at Main Street Baptist Church in Rocky Top, where Charles was a member since birth. The family will receive friends 11:00am-12:00pm, followed by a memorial service officiated by Pastor Wayne Phillips at 12:00pm. Interment to follow in Leach Cemetery at Clear Branch Baptist with Hatmaker Funeral Home overseeing arrangements. Masks must be worn and social distancing observed.
In lieu of flowers a memorial fund has been established in Stumpy’s honor. Funds may be sent to Main Street Baptist Church noting the Charles “Stumpy” Foust Memorial Fund. Funds will be donated directly to the church’s food pantry to provide needed nourishment for members of the community. Stumpy often spoke of how grateful he was throughout the depression that his family never had to be without food because of the family livestock and gardens. He had a heart for those families who were not as fortunate.