WESTFIELD, NJ: Lawrence Foster, former corporate VP of public relations for Johnson & Johnson, died on Thursday. He was 88 years old.
Foster started his career at the Newark News, leading two news bureaus. In 1954, he became the newspaper's night editor at the age of 29.
Foster joined J&J three years later, helping to form the company's first PR department. During his 33 years at the company, he served as director of public relations and assistant to the chairman before becoming corporate VP of PR.
Foster helped to guide the company's response to the Tylenol crises of 1982 and 1986.
After retiring from J&J in 1990, Foster wrote and published several books, including: Robert Wood Johnson: The Gentleman Rebel (1999); A Company That Cares, the 100-year history of Johnson & Johnson (1986); and Robert Wood Johnson and His Credo: A Living Legacy (2008).
He won numerous awards, including the Institute for Public Relations' Alexander Hamilton Medal and the Arthur W. Page Society's Hall of Fame Award.
Foster also founded and served as past chairman of the advisory board of the Arthur W. Page Center for Integrity in Public Communication at Penn State University's College of Communications. He was also a 16-year trustee of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation in Princeton, NJ; former president of the Arthur W. Page Society; and chairman of The Wisemen.
“Larry Foster will always be remembered as a champion of integrity in our field, exemplifying the power of acting responsibly while helping our company to grow,” said Maggie FitzPatrick, chief communications officer at J&J. “At this time, we are reminded of the important role we as communicators play, in advancing values-based leadership as we do business in communities around the world."
Foster is survived by his wife of 64 years, Ellen, as well as a brother, three sons, two daughters, ten grandchildren, and one great-grandchild.
In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to the Central Pennsylvania Food Bank, 3908 Corey Rd., Harrisburg, PA, 17109, or another charity.