ROBERT L. FOREMAN, JR. 1926-2017

Robert Langdon Foreman, Jr. known to one and all as “Bob,” passed away on January 22, 2017.  He had turned 90 last June.  Born in Atlanta’s Piedmont Hospital, Bob was the first son of Trot and Mary Foreman.  He was descended from the Sheddens of New York City, the Foremans of Washington, Georgia, and the Howells and the Rawsons, both pioneer Atlanta families.  While his great-grandfather Evan P. Howell fought in the Battle of Peachtree Creek, another great-grandfather town Councilman E.E. Rawson petitioned Sherman not to occupy Atlanta.  After the war, E. P. Howell purchased the Atlanta Constitution and elevated the paper to a national institution.

Bob Foreman was an inspiration to all who knew him, precisely personifying the motto of The Taft School (where he prepped) “To Serve, and not to Be Served.”  He graduated Chapel Hill Phi Beta Kappa in 1946; Harvard Law in 1949; and as a Navy reservist, he attained the rank of Lt. Commander.

A founding member of the law firm Bird & Howell, later to become Alston & Bird, Bob served the better part of his forty years there as Commercial Real Estate head.  He was considered “the lawyer’s lawyer,” and he sheparded the careers of many young attorneys.  First and last, he was a Southern Gentleman, with enormous charm and a great sense of humor.

Bob’s higher works were outside of the office, all given pro bono:  over his lifetime, he headed the Atlanta and Georgia Bar Associations; the EOA; the Atlanta Legal Aid and United Way; the MARTA ethics committee; and the Highlands (NC) biological station, which his family had created.  He served in a number of lay positions at  the Cathedral of St. Philip.

But his highest achievement, working with his great friend Joe Patten, was the saving of the Fox Theatre from the wrecking ball in 1975.  In 2010, he was one of three on the Fox Board to vote against the eviction of Patten from his Fox apartment, and thus at age 84, Bob had to fight against his own law firm, which represented the Fox.  He suggested that Patten hire attorney Emmett Bondurant, and he won the case.

As a teen, Bob joined with other boys to form “The Junior Georgians,” a Society Dance Band where he played the clarinet and served as vocalist.  That group of boys comprised what few have, lifelong friends dating back to their days at E. Rivers. 

Bob was predeceased by his first wife Betty, his son Jim, and by his younger brother Rawson.

He leaves behind his wife Anne and his son Robert III.


To hear my father sing "Tavern in the Town" with his junior high school band The Junior Georgians, click here

To see a 1983 video featuring Joe Patten, Bob Van Camp, and R.L. Foreman, Jr., click here.

To see my father accepting the 1999 Bar Association Real Estate Award ("Pindar"), click here

Profile of Daddy in Fox Marquee, April, 1996.  Because his law firm represented the Lucas-Storey interests that owned a quarter of the Fox (Mosque, Inc.), this conflict of interest prevented him from joining the Fox Board until 1979 when the mortgage was paid and the Fox became the property of Atlanta Landmarks, Inc.

My Daddy's Life in Pictures

With Joe Patten (right) in 2003.

Minutes of the first "Save the Fox " meeting, 1973.

Daddy conceived the land swap deal that saved the Fox.  Because his law firm (Jones Bird & Howell) represented the Lucas/Storey interests who owned a quarter of the Fox, he could not become a Fox Board member until the theatre was officially sold to Atlanta Landmarks in 1978.  Daddy's position of esteem in the business community was pivotal in gaining the $1.8 million loan from a consortium of the Atlanta banks.

June 4, 1975 

Excerpt from the first Fox fundraising prospectus, August, 1976:

Joe Patten and Daddy in their favorite perch, Loge First Row Center.

Joe Patten and Daddy in Highlands, NC.

Daddy, his wife Anne, and Joe

Joe and Daddy in Joe's Fox apartment.

Joe, a fan, Daddy, and Joe's sister Patti during the Fox Theatre's thwarted attempt to evict Joe from his apartment in 2010.

En route to the Courthouse:

After the victory (an hour later), Joe, Daddy, and Anne's son, Barry Graham.

Joe, Anne Foreman, and her grandchildren at the Varsity victory luncheon.

Daddy's final Board meeting, December 2010, where he unsuccessfully fought for the ouster of Board president Woody White.

Daddy's cousin Beachamp Carr proved to be a traitor, supporting Woody against Joe Patten.  Daddy wrote this letter to Beachamp, which was ignored but not denied.  In his lifetime, Daddy never forgave Beachamp, saying what he did was "just too wrong."
Daddy and Joe holding awards from the ATOS at their National Convention held at the Fox in July, 2013.


1926, Four generations, left to right, Daddy's father R. L. "Trot" Foreman; Daddy; his great-grandmother Helen Quin Foreman; and his grandfather R.L. "Rob" Foreman, Senior.

Daddy with his mother, Mary Shedden "Rary" Foreman in 1930.


Spring Street School, Daddy front row, second from left.

Daddy's Foreman grandparents, three uncles, first cousin, and his parents.

Daddy and first cousin Henry Grady III.

Daddy (center).

Taken in DC in 1942, Tom Schneider (left) Daddy's best friend from E. Rivers to Westview.

Daddy at the Taft School, '44.

At Panama City FLA, Daddy center.

Daddy, top left.

1949, the year before he married my mom, in Fontainebleau, with more babes.

1949 Monte Carlo.

1950, the year of his first marriage and the beginning of his legal career.

Daddy with his first-born, me, at his parent's house at 216 West Paces Ferry.

Me and Daddy at our first house, 45 Lakeland Drive.

Sill wearing a hat at our second house, 2056 Dellwood Drive.

Our cabin in Highlands, NC.

Daddy, mother, Dean David Collins of the Cathedral of St. Philip, mid-1960's.

Mother and Daddy as hippies for the Nine o'clocks, 1967.

Bruce Woodruff, Mother and Daddy, winners of the grand prize at the 1969 Nine O'Clocks, wearing costumes and horses from "King Arthur," the spectacle that opened and closed the new Alliance Theatre.

In the backyard at Rary and Trot's, (l to r) my brother Jim (1956-1988); Daddy; Mother; and myself.

With his MGB in Grant Park, 1980.

At the office, photo of Fox to the right.

Daddy's brother Rawson (1939-2015), Daddy and me in Highlands. Rawson was born 13 years after Daddy, and I was born 13 years after Rawson.

With his reward for year to toil, his Mercedes, outside of Swan House, Atlanta.

At Angkor Wat.

Invitation to his retirement party, held at the Fox Egyptian Ballroom, 1992.

At that party, with his portrait.

MC at a Fox staff function.

Never a Shriner, but he had the Fez.

My Dad.