MONTICELLO, Ill. (WCIA) — Kathleen Foster has spent her entire life at a piano. It’s what she says she was supposed to do. She started with lessons at the age of eight. Then she was the one giving them after getting married. It was a love story that lasted 45 years.
“After my husband died, the nursing home was looking for a piano player for church,” Foster remembered. She suddenly had a new partnership and has been playing there for 26 years. When this 90-year old commits, she commits. The Piatt County nursing home isn’t her only stop. Foster also brings her talents to several other assisted living centers in town and gets others on board.
“I have two talents: playing the piano and talking people into things.”
Stacy Cribbs is the director at Maple Point Supportive Living in Monticello. She’s watched Foster work her magic.
“She has this unique way of making it almost seem as if it was your idea.”
She has rounded up volunteers for her singing group Kathleen and Friends and organizes a talent show for residents.
“She’s really hard to say no to and she hardly says no,” said Cribbs. “So you can’t hardly say no to her when you know she’ll be right there.”
Buster Chumbly knows it first hand. She volunteered him to preach while she plays.
“Her ability to give and give and give never seems to wear out.”
Foster treasures the time she plays for others but it’s when she’s in front of Alzheimer’s patients that touches her the most.
She said, “Some of them that are sitting there and they’ve haven’t talked a lot but when I play an old song their lips start moving. I call doing that my blessing much more than theirs.”
It’s a ministry of music brought to a population that is sometimes forgotten.
“She’s definitely an angel,” Chumbly said. “She meets the needs of people. And I know it’s difficult for her at her age to get around at times but she stays with it.”
Foster isn’t stopping.
“I tell my kids I’ll stay home when I can’t go anymore and so far I’m still here.”
And Cribbs couldn’t be happier about it.
“That generosity and that love of serving she’s spread to so many people. That will always carry on.”