Celebrating the Life of Long & Foster’s Founder, P. Wesley “Wes” Foster, Jr.

The Long & Foster Companies celebrated the life and contributions of P. Wesley (Wes) Foster, our founder and chairman emeritus. Wes, who started the company in 1968 with then-partner Henry A. Long, was 89 years old when he passed away on March 17, 2023.

“Wes was an extraordinary leader, businessman and person, and my heart goes out to his family and all those he touched through his caring and generosity,” said Patrick Bain, president and CEO of The Long & Foster Companies. “Working with Wes for several years, what stood out the most was his appreciation and attention for everyone he met. Wes always treated you as the most important person and knew it was the agents and employees who chose to work here, who were the heart and soul of the company. His people-first approach defined us, and his legacy lives on at Long & Foster.”

Born in McDonough, Ga., Wes earned a bachelor’s degree in English from the Virginia Military Institute (VMI) in 1956. After graduation, he served in the U.S. Army as an artillery officer, stationed in Darmstadt, Germany, and he was assigned as the Fire Direction Officer of the D. Battery 28th Artillery 8th Division. He also served as a special weapons liaison officer to the German III Corps. In recognition of his military service, he received the U.S. Army Commendation Medal.

After his military service, Wes moved to Washington, D.C., and went to work for Kaiser Aluminum, selling siding to area homebuilders. In 1963, he launched his real estate career by working as a new home sales manager for Minchew Corporation, an Annandale, Va.-based builder, and in 1966, he joined Nelson Realty, where he served as vice-president of sales until he and Long opened Long & Foster.

Wes had a reputation for keeping close to his agents and for investing in tools and resources to ensure they remained the best-trained and most knowledgeable sales force in the industry. The company opened its own real estate school, which today garners ratings as one of the best in the Mid-Atlantic region and attracts many non-Long & Foster sales agents. In addition, Wes invested heavily in the latest technology designed to make doing business with the company and its agents easy. 

As a philanthropist, Wes established several scholarships and promoted fundraisers for many humanitarian non-profit organizations. In the mid-2000s, he presented his alma mater with a significant donation to help upgrade its athletic facilities. The improvements included a facelift to the school’s football field where Wes had played the position of guard on the varsity team years before. In 2006, VMI’s football stadium complex was dedicated as the P. Wesley Foster, Jr., Stadium.

Considered by many in the industry as a pioneer of the “one-stop-shopping” business model, Wes grew the company by launching services such as mortgage, title, insurance, property management and vacation rentals to offer consumers everything they needed to buy, sell, rent and own a home.

Wes and his wife, Betty, enjoyed international travel and spending time with family at their summer home in Connecticut. He is survived by his wife, two sons, one daughter, six grandchildren, and many extended family members and friends.

A celebration of Wes’s life was held at Long & Foster’s home office in Chantilly on May 1.

If you’d like to share your memories of Wes, you can do so at LongandFoster.com/RememberingWes.