When Bryan Foster was in high school his nickname was “Undertaker.”
“I would wear suits to school to go to work after class,” he said.
His work was at a local funeral parlor as an assistant. After high school he joined the U.S. Army and served for 20 years, but he still continued his work in funeral homes wherever he was stationed over the two decades, including in Louisiana, Illinois, Missouri and now Wisconsin.
Last year, Foster was the first African American licensed mortician to open a funeral parlor in Madison. Next week he plans to open the second Foster Funeral & Cremation Service in Beloit.
Foster said his goal is to offer affordable service, and a family environment in his funeral parlors.
“Families have come into our funeral home and sat down to talk for hours,” he said. “We want to bring a feeling that when you’re at the funeral home, it’s just that: home.”
He doesn’t want people to just think that services are just good, but he wants the environment to be welcoming no matter how much a person can afford to pay.
The Beloit location will be at 1650 E. Huebbe Parkway, Foster said, and he hopes to open sometime next week. When he was looking to open up a new location many people who came to his Madison location insisted he look at Beloit as a possibility.
“The people told me, ‘You must consider Beloit for a location,’” he said. “We are just trying to offer a family friendly funeral home. Our slogan is ‘Care is in the Name.’”
Beloit native Kevin Young will serve as the apprentice in the funeral home, and eventually its manager. Young, 21, is currently in mortuary school and looking to finish soon.
“I’ve always been interested in the behind the scenes of funeral homes,” he said. “I just liked to see how they did everything.”
He said he did a lot of research and even went to a funeral home in Beloit to talk with the director about getting into the business.
“Certain people are just bred to do certain jobs,” he said. “Ever since I was young I know this was what I wanted to do.”
Foster said after the Beloit location opens next week he will begin looking for a location in Illinois. He hopes to open that location by December.