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Posted on August 28, 2015 | 3:15 p.m.

Alice Wheeler Koster, 1927–2015

Source: Dudley-Hoffman Mortuary

Alice Koster

On Aug. 18, 2015, Alice Wheeler Koster went home to be with the Lord and is now resting in the loving arms of Jesus Christ our savior.

Alice was born Alice Wheeler Foster to Rena and Ralph Wheeler Foster June 24, 1927, in Leominster, Mass..

She had three siblings: Morton, John,and Eleanor. As a family, they often enjoyed summers at a cabin at Moosehead Lake, Maine, and she would often tell stories about her adventures there.

She grew up a happy child, often playing with her sister Eleanor or teasing with her older brother Mort. By her late teens, Alice had become a stunningly beautiful woman and participated in local beauty pageants and part-time modeling.

At a young age, Alice developed a keen ability in art, always drawing sketches in her spare time. Because of her obvious talent, after graduating from Leominster High School, her father enrolled her in the New England School of Art — a two year academy.

Upon graduation, she found work with Simonds Payson Advertising Agency in Portland, Maine. She later moved out to California with friends, and secured employment as an art director for the Raymond Keane Advertising Agency in Los Angeles.

Sometime in 1954, she met Edwin Ernest Koster, Jr. of Santa Monica, Ca., on a blind date; they were married April 9, 1955, in the Pilgrim Congregational Church in Leominster.  

Moving from Santa Monica to the city of Orange in Orange County, they raised their family among the scent of orange blossoms, a new house, schools and a growing community.

Their marriage produced three healthy boys: Keith, Brian and Craig, who all survive her. She is also survived by her brother John and former husband Edwin; grandchildren, Robby, Tanya, Jonathon and Jefferson; and great grandchildren Kole, Kai and Kloe, along with nieces and nephews also survive her.

Alice was devoutly religious from an early age, accepting Jesus Christ as her savior at the age of 16 and continuing to be active in the United Methodist Church as a worshipper, tither, volunteer worker and choir member for many years.

During the last three years of her life, she worshipped at the Orcutt Presbyterian Church, enjoying the old hymns as she lifted her voice to the Lord.

While she was still able, she lived out her faith by serving others and was an active member for many years of the Canyon Women’s Club, which was a service organization that helped the elderly and needy.

Alice also served as a volunteer with Meals on Wheels when she lived in Orange, developing many caring relationships with elderly shut-ins. Alice was always generous in giving her time and resources to the service of others, and if she said she was going to be there, you could count on it.

As a mother, Alice worked tirelessly to raise her three boys in the house on Greengrove Street in the city of Orange. She prepared as many as 15 meals per day — 7 days a week; scrubbing pots and pans every night; constantly washing, mending and ironing clothes; cleaning the house, packing lunches, taking kids to the dentist, doctor and library and nursing the boys when they were sick.

She was up late at night working and rose early, and no one could get the work out like she could.

Alice showed considerable strength as a mother and never stopped loving us to the day she passed away. She is still loving us, because we can feel it, but the commanding height of Heaven takes her momentarily from our view, until the time of glorious reunion is reached, and we are together again for all eternity.

While one of her greatest joys on Earth was her role as a mother, Alice took much pleasure in filling her spare time with painting fine art as well. In Orange, she was President of the Orange Art Association, forming many rewarding relationships in the local art community.

Later, retiring to a house in Santa Maria at 1010 Butterfly Court, she took art classes and learned how to work with oils. She had already mastered pen and ink and scratchboard drawings, which focus more on shape and shadow, and then it was time to broaden her abilities with color oil paints.

She painted many fine landscapes, seascapes and portraits during the period of her retirement. Moreover, she became an active member of the Los Padres Art Guild, and won many awards for her paintings, continuing with artwork until her eyesight began to fail.  

The halls and attic are filled with her artwork, and they will become treasured memories of her remarkable life.

Another of her joys was cooking. She collected hundreds of recipes over the years and could often be found perched on her kitchen stool with her feet up on the counter, holding a recipe card file in her lap while searching for something special to cook.

Alice could usually be found in the kitchen during the day, and something was always baking in the oven or simmering on the stove. She loved hosting dinner parties and had a huge china hutch for that very purpose.

If you ever came to one her dinner parties, you would get a delicious meal and be filled to the brim. Then there was dessert, and you’d better have room for it!

An especially important feature about Alice was that she had always been thrifty and had carefully budgeted working class family resources during the years she was raising her family.

She could stretch a dollar a long way, so that her children never went hungry or without suitable clothes. She didn’t even have a car until the 1980s, and often rode her bike to the grocery store, bringing home groceries in a basket on the handlebars.

She also made her own clothes, cutting out patterns and pinning them to uncut cloth, the sound of the sewing machine whirring late into the night.

But the outstanding characteristic about Alice was the way in which she loved others. Alice spoke life to everyone she met and was never hateful.

People were drawn to her charming and loving personality, and she not surprisingly acquired many friends throughout the years.

To keep in contact with her many friends, she would work late into the night every year writing newsy Christmas cards to friends around the country, and it took her two weeks to complete them by hand.

She continued this practice until she could no longer see well enough to write, and then her son Brian took over the correspondence.

Yes, she was a charming lady that drew people to her with her magnetic and loving personality. It would not be too much to say that she is now charming the angels in Heaven.


We hoped you could continue on, and love us as before,

But God said, “No, your time is done, come with me through the Door,

That leads you into Paradise, of fields of purple and blue,

Take your easel and your brush and paint a Heavenly view.

I’ve come to take you to my side, your Earthly work is done,

Come and paint forevermore by the Light of My Only Begotten Son.”


A special thanks to Lynne Conforti, who cared for Mom in her final years. Thanks also to Gloria Lopez, who cared for Mom when Lynne could not be there. We love you Mom!

An informal gathering of remembrance will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. Friday, Aug. 28, at the Dudley-Hoffman Chapel at 1003 East Stowell Rd., Santa Maria, CA 93456.

Graveside services will be held at the south lawn of Santa Maria Cemetery at 11 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 29, Pastor Bruce Lethbridge of Orcutt Presbyterian Church officiating.

To leave a condolence for the family visit www.dudleyhoffman mortuary.com.


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