Foster H. Diehl, 84, died August 26. He was born in Elmira, New York, and demonstrated a natural gift for sound and music in primary school, taking music lessons until he left for college. He held his first organist position at the age of 14 for a small, country church in Utica, New York.
Diehl was a resident student at the Royal School of Church Music in Addington Palace from 1958–1961, and was a graduate of Trinity College of Music, London, UK. In 1958 he received his A.R.C.M. diploma in organ performance from the Royal College of Music and won the highest marks awarded that year. He also held an L.Mus. degree with a major in organ and a minor in church music. In 1961 he earned a fellowship (F.T.C.L.) in organ with a minor in Gregorian chant.
Upon completion of his studies in England, Diehl returned to the United States where he was appointed organist and choirmaster at St. Joseph Catholic Church, West New York, New Jersey. He was married shortly after to his British fiancée, Clare Harwood, an accomplished pianist. In 1964, at the age of 26, he was appointed organist for the Cathedral of the Holy Name, Chicago, Illinois, and subsequently, assumed the position of choirmaster, leading both the men’s and boy’s choirs, and further served as director of music for Cathedral High School. In 1975 he was appointed organist and choirmaster of St. Petronille Catholic Church, Glen Ellyn, Illinois. In his later years he relocated to Florida and held two more positions, at St. Patrick Catholic Church in Largo, and later at Highland Presbyterian in Clearwater, where he finally retired at the age of 75.
Foster H. Diehl is survived by his daughters Renee and Erika, grandsons Cody and Cameron, great-granddaughter Morgan, and sister Donna. He was buried at Our Lady Queen of Peace Catholic Cemetery, Royal Palm Beach, Florida.
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