Paul Edwin Foster was born on 8 September 1908 in Huntsville, Scott County, Tennessee. Paul Foster was the son of Sanders Foster and Elzina McDonald. Husband of Nellie M.E. Tyson and father of Marianna B. and William H. Foster.
He died on March 15, 1942, off the coast of North Carolina
Buried in Potter Cemetery, Hunstville, Scott Co, TN

The Dayton Herald, 29 September 1942
Paul Edwin Foster, 33, son of Mrs. Elzina Foster, 28 Johnson street, is one of five Ohioans today listed as dead in the Navy department’s first merchant marine casualty list of the war. Ten months of conflict, two months of it undeclared war, have cost America’s merchant marine a total of 2.355 seamen, with 434 known as dead, and 1,921 missing. The classification “missing”includes those who may be prisoner or who have landed at remote places where they cannot communicate with U.S. authorities. Foster, third engineer of the oil tanker “Olean” operating out of New York, was killed March 14, when his ship was sunk off the North Carolina coast. His family here was notified less than a week later, and his body was taken to Huntsville, Tenn., where he was buried beside his father who died 30 years ago.
Foster visisted his family in Dayton for the first time in six years on Feb. 22, less than three weeks before he died at the hands of enemy torpedoes. He was granted unexpected leave while the Olean was being gunned at Baltimore, and that, coupled with the holiday, was sufficient reason for the captain to grant him leave until sailing time. When he was here, his brother, T.S. Foster, also of the Johnson street address, tried to talk him into resigning from the merchant marines. “Why don’t you join the Army?” he asked. “You’d be on land, and you’d have a fighting chance then, come what may.” Paul responded that he was placed already where he would be doing the most good. “I’ve been in the merchant marines for 13 years,” he said, “and it would take too long to train someone to fill my place. Besides that, it’s my job.” His mother says he had no idea of the grim fate awaiting him when he left Dayton, but his brother relates that Paul left his clothes, his watch and specific directions for setting his affairs, before leaving. “He wasn’t afraid of dying, ”T.S. said. “He could even kid about the dangerous job he had. He knew it was dangerous – he knew it much more than we did. He told us too that we in the Midwest had no idea how serious the war was. Incidentally, he even predicted gasoline rationing when he was here.” Paul ran away from home when he was 15, to join the merchant marines. He didn’t stay long, and he was living with his family when they moved to Dayton. He worked at the National Cash Register company for two years before his love of the sea became too strong to resist any longer. He rejoined the merchant marine when he was 20, and has been in that service ever since. The Fosters are natives of Tennessee, and came to Dayton about 15 years ago. The father of Paul, Judge Sanders Foster, died in Tennessee 30 years ago, but Paul’s mother, two brothers, T.S. of Dayton and Clyde of Miami, Fla., and two sisters, Hael Foster Linker and Allene Foster Griffith, survive. Rear Admiral Emory S. Land, chairman of the maritime commission and war shipping administrator, said the list would show the public “just how heroic and vital a contribution the nation’s men of the sea are making to the war effort.”

  • Rank: Third Engineer
  • Date of birth:
  • 8 September 1908
  • Date of death: 15 March 1942
  • County: Scott
  • Service Branch: Merchant Marines
  • Division/Assignment: S.S. Olean
  • Conflict: World War II
  • Awards: Mariner's Medal
  • Burial/Memorial Location: Potter Cemetery, Hunstville, Scott County, TN
  • Location In Memorial: Pillar XVII, Middle Panel
  • Contact us to sponsor Paul E. Foster

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