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77-year-old victim in fatal University District stabbing remembered as 'vital'

Emily Foster speaks to Ann Fisher on WOSU's All Sides in December 2014.
The Ohio Channel
Emily Foster speaks to Ann Fisher on WOSU's All Sides in December 2014.

Emily Foster, 77, a local historian and magazine editor, was the victim of a fatal stabbing in the University District.

Columbus police responded to a reported stabbing just before 4 p.m. Saturday at Foster's home, located in the 2000 block of Iuka Avenue, just east of Indianola Avenue. Officers found Foster stabbed and she was pronounced dead at 4:01 p.m.

University Area Commission President Doreen Uhas Sauer told WOSU Foster was both her neighbor and friend. Uhas Sauer said she's getting a lot of calls and said people are in shock at Foster's death.

Uhas Sauer said the police liaison for the University Area Commission has spoken with her and informed her that although Foster was found on Saturday afternoon, the stabbing may have happened earlier. She said neighbors found Foster after they noticed the door to her home was open, and there did not appear to be any forced entry.

Police said they do not have a motive for the stabbing and are looking for more information about the homicide.

Uhas Sauer said Foster was a vital member of the community, in addition to being a noted historian, editor and leader.

"You always knew that she would be there if you called on her. She would be hardheaded, she would be smart mouthed at times, but she was always willing to put in the work to do things," Uhas Sauer said.

Foster spoke on All Sides with Ann Fisher in December 2014 about her new book The Ohio State University District: A Neighborhood History. She described memories and the process of writing the book through research and interviews with neighborhood residents.

Foster said she moved to her home on Iuka Avenue in 1972 with her late husband Lee Brown, in part because of her husband's job at Ohio State teaching philosophy.

"We did so partly because he taught at Ohio State and he felt a moral obligation to be in the neighborhood and be accessible to students," Foster said.

Foster called the University District "a neighborhood of neighborhoods" and recalled fond memories on the talk show like meeting her husband at the since-shuttered bar Larry's.

Foster's career as a writer spanned as an author, editor at Cincinnati Magazine and Columbus Monthly and eventually as an Assistant Vice President for Communications at Ohio State. Foster also edited and published an anthology of early writings from Ohio titled The Ohio Frontier.

Uhas Sauer said she got to know Foster, because the two served on multiple boards and committees together.

"There was one thing about the university district, is that you have a lot of meetings. It's like you're born into a committee, you know, and you will serve on it," she said.

Uhas Sauer described Foster as being devoted to her husband and having an acerbic wit. She said Foster and Brown were linguistically clever and wonderful people to talk to and that the couple loved to travel, especially to Spain.

George Shillcock is a reporter for 89.7 NPR News. He joined the WOSU newsroom in April 2023 following three years as a reporter in Iowa with the USA Today Network.