JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – It would have been his 36th birthday Monday. Instead, friends of Robbie Foster gathered to remember his life.
The former leader of the Florida Federation of Young Republicans passed away last week and he made a mark on a national scale.
“Robbie is a big personality,” said Rick Loughery, Chairman of the Young Republican National Federation. “He served with me on the National Committee of the Young Republicans so he was a dear friend.”
That’s just one of the many memories and opinions shared Monday night about Robert Mallory Foster, Jr.
He died last week from what sources called a bad flu, and the sudden loss has been emotional.
“It’s tough because we miss Robbie, that’s why,” Loughery said.
“Knowing him from outside the political space and knowing how just fun he could be it’s truly sad. It’s a sad day for the city,” said friend Carlo Fassi.
Jacksonville Young Republicans held the event in San Marco on Monday to honor Foster and collect donations for the Baptist Health Foundation.
They shared memories of a sometimes controversial and nearly always outspoken man, the son of a former circuit court judge, and a fan of bow ties, seersucker suits and grassroots politics.
“Robbie was a one-of-a-kind guy,” said Sharon Light, President of Republican Women for Duval County. “And he loved everybody and everybody loved him. He was exciting to be around. He always had something going on and something exciting to say and he could get everyone in the mood for whatever the event was or whatever was going on. Robbie just had the gift. He had the wonderful gift.”
In the days following his death, Foster was recognized by Mayor Lenny Curry, local civil rights lawyer Jimmy Midyette, former state CFO Jeff Atwater and Senator Rick Scott.
“Robbie was a passionate and motivated young man with a bright future ahead of him, and his sudden passing is truly heartbreaking," Scott wrote in a statement to News4Jax. "My wife, Ann and I are keeping his family and loved ones in our prayers.”
A funeral service we held for Foster on Tuesday.