Heath and Vaughn Funeral Home - Champaign Il

Today is

J. Lindsley Foote

Joel Lindsley Foote III, age 91, died at home, Aug 8, 2019.

footeLin was born Jan 11, 1928, in Cleveland, OH, to Joel Lindsley Foote Jr. and Beth Eliza (Brainard) Foote.

He was preceded in death by his wife Alice (Tanner) Foote and siblings Betty Foote, Mabel (Foote) Hansen, and Clayton Foote.

He is survived by his sister Faith (Foote) McAllister, children Robert Foote (Cheryl Hughes) and Karen Foote Retzer (Mike), grandson Jonathan Cohen (Marji Smith), and great-grandchildren Cora and Lachlan Cohen.

Lin grew up on a truck farm in Brooklyn Heights, OH. He loved sports and played softball and football in a nearby vacant lot. He attended Cuyahoga Heights High School where he lettered in football, basketball, and track, and played cornet in the band. In 1993 he was inducted into the school’s Hall of Fame.

After high school Lin enlisted in the navy where he spent ten months in electronics school, reaching the rank of second-class petty officer, then was assigned to the aircraft carrier Coral Sea. He was honorably discharged in May 1948.

With the GI Bill he attended Miami Univ of Ohio, graduating in 1952, Phi Beta Kappa.

He married his high school sweetheart, Alice Lydia Tanner, June 16, 1951.

After five years teaching high school in Wilmington and Springfield, OH, Lin earned a PhD in organic chemistry at Case Institute of Technology in 1960. After a National Science Foundation fellowship for post-doctoral work in biochemistry at Univ of Mich, he joined the faculty at Western Mich Univ in 1965. His research involved analysis of lipid components of the blood and aorta and their relationship to diet. He was active in Faculty Senate and the faculty union. He took special interest in the Physician Assistant program, a study group for minority students, and affirmative action issues. He retired in 1989.

Lin was active in politics. He ran for county commissioner and volunteered for many campaigns. He was a regional leader for the aid-in-dying initiative, which was on the MI ballot in 1998. He initiated and was first chair of the Kalamazoo Environmental Concerns Committee. He was a founding member of the Unitarian Universalist church in Portage, MI.

In 2008 Lin and Alice moved to Urbana, IL. Lin and Alice enjoyed travelling, mostly in the US, Canada, and Europe. One special trip was to Gabon to visit daughter Karen who was in the Peace Corps. Family vacations included tent camping and canoeing. Lin was a life-long game-player, especially chess and bridge. He loved classical music, particularly opera, and enjoyed cooking and writing about his life.

Two memorial services will be held: Oct. 5, 3:00 p.m., at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Urbana-Champaign, IL, and Oct. 20, 2:00 p.m., at the Unitarian Universalist Community Church of SW Mich., Portage.

Memorial gifts may be made to Unitarian Universalist Community Church of SW Mich in Portage, Southern Poverty Law Center, Compassion & Choices.

Arrangements by Heath & Vaughn, Champaign, IL.



I was one of many chemistry students that Dr. Foote taught. He was a kind and gentle man. So sorry for your loss.

—Pat Holton

Sorry to hear of Mr. Foote’s passing. My mother-in-law, Jeanne Lucille Kiser, spoke often of her grandmother, Jennie Belle Foote who was a cousin of Mr. Foote's grandfather.

—Tory Wagner


I’m so sorry to learn of Lin’s passing. I was an undergraduate and graduate student in WMU’s chemistry department in the 1970’s and did lipid research under his direction. He was a great teacher, mentor and advisor, but more importantly, an even better human being. We remained friends over the years and kept in touch even after his retirement and move to Illinois. I was blessed to have known him. I offer my deepest condolences to his family.

—Tom Stiger