GREENVILLE– Robert Foster met his soul mate, Madonna Barga Maloy, on April 28, 2019, after both of them were invited, separately but by the same people, to a bluegrass concert in Troy.
Two years later, in the middle of summer, Foster began thinking of proposing to her but didn’t know what to do.
Foster, a local veteran, said friends Gail and Jim Snyder and Don and Mary Jane Dietrich, were planning to go to the Rhonda Vincent concert in Troy with tickets that Don acquired and had some tickets left over that April in 2019. So Gail said she invited friend Madonna, another friend Donna as well as Foster with the extra tickets that were available.
First, they all went to the La Fiesta in Troy for lunch and eventually traveled to the concert. Robert recalls sitting there and being introduced to the others.
“Madonna was seated way at the end and leaned forward when she was introduced and I said ‘Hello’,” he recalled. “I didn’t know her name but it was like someone put a spotlight on her.”
It was after he got home that he realized he didn’t get her name.
“I called Gail who gave me her name and number and then I called Madonna and we talked for a couple of minutes. I made holiday bread extra and gave her a loaf of it and asked her out.”
Their first date, he said, was June 15 that same year.
“What I did was take her to Texas Roadhouse and, because I knew I was going to have these certain people who would call, I told Madonna to tell them I took her to McDonald’s…just to pull a fast one,” he said. “Gail called, and Madonna told her we went to McDonald’s for our first date and Gail told her I was frugal.”
He said the next day he walked into the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post in Greenville and saw Gail sitting with Linda Best and walked over to them. The bartender, Wendy, who must have heard about the McDonald’s date, threw his drink down for taking his date to McDonald’s.
“All of them were mad at me, but we still laugh about it,” he said. “Madonna and I have been together ever since. It was a great concert.”
Foster said he has had the engagement ring for some time, unbeknownst to Madonna….until the first day of this year which happened to be her 71st birthday, and the day after he celebrated his 76th.
‘What better day for a proposal’ were the thoughts of Foster and Gail, who was in on this event as well because he needed to tell someone about his plan.
On New Year’s Day, the Snyders and Dietrichs, and Robert and Madonna went to the Greenville VFW on the ruse it was going to be Madonna’s birthday celebration.
Robert, knowing there was champagne and strawberries in the cooler there, had the ring in his pocket.
After some celebrating, the proposal took place.
“I was clueless,” Madonna said. “Out of the corner of my eye, he got down on his knees and he got something out that looked like a ring box. My heart stopped.”
Of course, she said, ‘Yes.’
“It was the best day of my life,” he said.
“I was hoping it would happen one day,” she said.
“Our likes and dislikes are about the same,” Foster said, “except I don’t like peanut butter.”
Both are Catholic.
Foster was born and raised in Cleveland to Albert and Helene Foster and his grandparents’ surname was Frognowski.
The date for the wedding has yet to be set but they’re hoping it will be soon.
Robert’s annulment from his previous marriage has now taken place, so the union can come to fruition. However, they first have to finish pre-marital classes, complete with paper work, through the Catholic Church.
“I wanted to be married by next week but we have to wait,” Robert said. “Maybe we’ll have a summer wedding. It’s up to her.”
Foster is a three-year U.S. Air Force veteran, having worked at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base during his years of service.
He is Past Commander of the Greenville American Legion, is active with and President of the VFW Auxiliary Post 7262, Greenville and, for the last 12 years, has been Commander of the Disabled American Veterans for Darke County. He also volunteers at veterans’ facilities and is a member of the Darke County Honor Guard.
Foster worked at Corning Glass in Greenville for 30 years as a melting operator before retiring. He indicated this year would have been 50 years from when he started working at Corning.
“Madonna and I would have had to have crossed paths a lot of times in our lives and how we didn’t know that I don’t know,” he said. “I have been to the St Denis Church and didn’t remember her.”
Madonna, who is retired, worked at Weaver Brothers, at Neff Lettering in Greenville and then was an activity aide at Rest Haven Nursing Home, also in Greenville. She was widowed in 2016 when husband Jerry died of an inoperable brain tumor.
A 1969 graduate of Versailles High School, she sings in the choir at St. Denis Church in Versailles and had been in a bluegrass band with Roger Todd band when she was in her 20s.
“I played rhythmic guitar and sang a little,” she said.
“She sings like an angel,” Foster said of his future wife.
Both of them, he said, are good cooks.
“I’m in love for the first time in my life except for one other person…my grandmother,” he said.
“When Jerry died, I spent my life playing solitaire,” Madonna said. “Then, when I least expect it…this.”
“Yes, I was the last guy in line for that ticket (in 2019), but I came out way ahead,” Foster concluded.