How did Foster Friess die? GOP megadonor who ran for Wyoming governor dead at 81

The Wyoming businessman, who once made a bid to run for governor but failed, is best known for his support of former president Donald Trump


                            How did Foster Friess die? GOP megadonor who ran for Wyoming governor dead at 81
Philanthropist Foster Friess reportedly died in Scottsdale, Arizona surrounded by his family (Alberto E Rodriguez/Getty Images)

Foster Friess, the GOP megadonor has died at 81. Friess' death was announced by his family on May 27, Thursday, with a short statement. Apart from donating heavily to conservative candidates, Friess also donated over $500 million to various philanthropic causes. A visionary investor and pioneer of growth stock picking, Foster’s business story started with $800 of accumulated US Army leave pay

The Wyoming businessman, who once made a bid to run for governor but failed, is best known for his support of former president Donald Trump, and 2012 Presidential candidate Rick Santorum. When Santorum was making his run, Friess donated over $2 million to his super PAC. Friess is survived by his wife, their four children, their 15 grandchildren, and by his brother and sister-in-law. His death has also made waves on social media, with several high-profile conservative politicians mourning his death.

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Foster Friess speaks onstage during Celebrity Fight Night XXV on March 23, 2019 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Amy Sussman/Getty Images)

How did Foster Friess die?

The exact cause of Friess' death has not been revealed by his family, but it could be linked to his cancer diagnosis. In March this year, Friess tweeted that he was battling myelodysplastic syndrome, a rare type of cancer that affects the bone marrow. The family statement said, "We are grateful for the wonderful life Foster lived and thankful to the many people who have shared their prayers during his illness. We know many of you mourn with us, and we will have more details soon on Foster's funeral." 

One media report claims Friess was diagnosed with the disease in September 2020. According to US News, "Friess' staff said in an automated email reply in recent months that he struggled to keep his weight up but was sustaining himself on "a pizza, spaghetti and oatmeal cookie diet"." He reportedly died in Scottsdale, Arizona surrounded by his family. According to US News, services are being planned in 3 cities - Scottsdale, Jackson, and Rice Lake. 

Friess made his fortunes in investment after he opened his own investment firm called Friess Associates, in 1974. Over the years, he has donated to numerous charities, including multiple local ones, often making headlines for his shockingly large sums. In 2018, he mounted a bid for Governor of Wyoming, but was beaten by Mark Gordon. Apart from that, Friess has usually provided commentary on political affairs and donated to several Republicans' campaigns. 

Forbes magazine named him, along with Warren Buffet, Peter Lynch, and John Templeton, among the ten most successful money managers of this generation. Donating more the $500 million in his lifetime, Foster and his wife Lynn’s philanthropy include aiding towns ravaged by natural disasters, providing fresh water to remote villages, supporting the front lines of the battle against ISIS, and helping thousands recovering from addiction.

Foster Friess' early life 

Friess grew up in Rice Lake, Wisconsin, a first-generation college graduate. His mother used to pick cotton in order to save the family farm in Texas, while his father dealt cattle and horses. Friess was an early civil rights activist and was valedictorian, class president, student council president, and captain of his basketball, track, golf, and baseball teams, states Cowboy State Daily. 

Friess earned a degree in business administration from the University of Wisconsin, served as president of his fraternity, and was named one of the “ten most outstanding senior men.” As president of the Kappa Chapter of the Chi Phi Fraternity, he welcomed their first Jewish member. He also won the heart of “Badger Beauty” and Chi Omega President Lynnette Estes, whom he married in 1962. The couple have two sons, two daughters, and fifteen grandchildren.

He had trained as an Army Infantry Platoon Leader and served as an Intelligence Officer for the guided-missile brigade in El Paso, Texas.  In 1965, with just $800 of accumulated leave pay, Friess, wife Lynn, and their infant daughter moved to Wilmington, Delaware where he began his investment career with Brittingham, Inc., leaving in 1974 to launch Friess Associates. 

Foster Friess with Mike Pompeo in July 2022. (Foster Friess via Twitter)

'A true patriot' mourned by GOP

Friess's death has led to an outpouring of tributes from conservative politicians. Sen Paul Rand tweeted, "Sad to hear today of the passing of my friend, @FosterFriess. A true Patriot, a generous philanthropist, and a good person who always had a kind and encouraging word. His accomplishments are many, and he will be missed." Rick Santorum said, "@FosterFriess was behind me in good times and bad. This night was the night we won the Iowa Caucus in 2012 - definitely a good time thanks to his help."



 

 



 

 

Jeb Bush tweeted, "I'm sad to learn @FosterFriess has passed. He helped countless children access better educational options. And lived as we're taught, "Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms"."



 

 

Gov Gordon tweeted, "Foster Friess was a strong and steady voice for Republican and Christian values. I appreciate his remarkable career and all he has done for Wyoming. My deepest condolences go out to his wife Lynn and their family— he will be missed." Arizona Gov Doug Ducey said, "A sad loss. Named "Humanitarian of the Year," Foster F. Friess had an unwavering commitment to helping others and making our world a better place. From ensuring remote villages had fresh water to helping thousands recover from addiction, Friess truly left his mark."



 

 



 

 

Mike Pence also joined in and tweeted, "Today America lost a Giant with the passing of @FosterFriess. His love for America, Optimism & Faith inspired generations of conservatives & he will be deeply missed. Karen & I are praying for Lynn, their family and all who loved this truly Great American. God Bless Foster Friess."



 

 

So far, Trump hasn't commented on Friess's passing. Friess was endorsed by Trump for Governor after he donated the maximum allowed $5,400 in both the primary and general elections. The megadonor, who was worth over $500 million donated more than $75,000 to GOP candidates and groups in 2018 alone. 

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