Music 32

Teressa Ruth (McClellan) Foster

1920 ~ 2020 (age 100)


Teressa Ruth (McClellan) Foster passed away November 11, 2020, at the home of her daughter, Elizabeth on the Thousand Springs family ranch in Summer Lake, OR.  She was born June 8, 1920, in West Stayton, Oregon to Thomas Richard and Teressa May McClellan. When Teressa was 5 years old the family moved to Neotsu, OR to operate a dairy and this is where Teressa grew up. Teressa was homeschooled for several years until her younger sister, Barbara, was ready for first grade, then the two girls walked a mile to the one-room Roosevelt School.

Teressa attended Taft High School, (Lincoln City) and Oregon College of Education (Western University) at Monmouth. After completing the three-year requirement, at what was then known as Oregon State Normal School, she accepted a job teaching third and fourth grades at Paisley School. A young rancher, a son, and grandson of pioneering families in Summer Lake, James Foster, captured her attention and they were married on September 12, 1943, at Nelscott (Lincoln City). While courting they had many horseback adventures including gathering wild horses north of Fort Rock with Reub Long.  They began their married life at his parent’s ranch in Summer Lake, OR.

In 1953 Teressa returned to the classroom and taught for 34 years, retiring in 1985. Teachers were required to continue their education, and Teressa took extension and summer school classes graduating from Oregon College of Education in 1960 with a bachelor’s degree. During her years of teaching, Teressa was also a music teacher for the entire school, planning many talent shows and music festivals for the entire Lake County, where elementary students from all schools participated each spring. A gifted pianist, Teressa also played at their church for 50 years. 

Teressa also enjoyed reading about history, novels, and anything to do with people. She wrote a weekly Summer Lake news column and featured articles for the Lake County Examiner for many years.  Teressa was also intrigued by the rich pioneer heritage of the James Foster family. Her interest in the Foster-Currier connection and their relationships in the community grew to include other residents in Summer Lake. Their histories are recorded in a book Teressa wrote, "Settlers in Summer Lake Valley", published in 1988.  Four limited editions have followed.

Teressa was a volunteer grader of Bible study tests for Gospel Echoes Prison Ministry, and she corresponded with inmates who requested a Christian pen pal. She enjoyed participating in local Bible Study ladies groups for many years. 

Teressa was on the North Lake County Health Clinic Board and helped implement and bring a much-needed Health Clinic to the north end of Lake County located in Christmas Valley.

Teressa was preceded in death by her parents, sisters, Barbara Hines and Emma McClellan, and her husband of 64 years, James H. Foster.

She is survived by daughters Terry Ann Carkner (Dick) of Ellensburg, Janice Alexander (Chuck) of Madras, Elaine Condon (Monte) of Silver Lake, and Elizabeth Relling (Kent) of Summer Lake. Teressa has 10 grandchildren, 23 great-grandchildren, and 3 great-great-grandchildren. 

A Memorial Service will be held for Teressa, on November 21, 2020, at 2:00 P.M. at the Summer Lake Community Church.  Interment will take place at the Summer Lake Cemetery at a later date. 

Memorial contribution’s in Teressa’s memory can be made to the Silver Lake Disaster Unit, PO Box 96, Silver Lake, OR 97638, or to the charity of the donor’s choice.

Desert Rose Funeral Chapel is overseeing the arrangements.  Condolences may be expresses or the guest book signed online at

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Teressa Ruth (McClellan) Foster, please visit our floral store.


Memorial Service
November 21, 2020

2:00 PM
Summer Lake Community Church
Hwy 31
Summer Lake, OR 97640


Silver Lake Disaster Unit
PO Box 96, Silver Lake OR 97638

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