Muster Family Tree
Foster Homes - Including the Molitor Family

My father Bill Muster became an orphan at age nine and after a short stay in an abusive orphanage in Chicago, Ed Miller (my father's older half-brother) heard about the abuse and removed him and got him into a foster home agency. The agency took donations from wealthy families all over the country and sent children to live with them for one year. My father was always disappointed to be sent back, and didn't understand there was money involved. I estimate from age ten to eighteen, he lived in four to five different foster homes. As an adult, Dad claimed he didn't know what religion he was because he had grown up with Lutherans, Jews, and Catholics.

Bill's mother died when he was eight and he stayed with his older half-brother Ed Miller, but then went to an orphanage, and then into foster homes. The 1930 Census shows him living with a family at 376 Hill Ave, Glen Ellyn, IL 60137. It was a middle-aged couple (William R. Burgess - head of household), the wife's parents, the couple's three children, and Bill, listed in the census as thirteen years old and a "lodger."

1940census copy

The last foster family, the Molitors, kept him for several years, ages fifteen to eighteen. My father stayed in contact with Elsie and Charles Molitor, and Bill Tanzer, one of the other children who lived with the family. Because there was already a Bill, they called my father Bob. The Molitors were generous people who wanted to stay in contact with the children they raised side-by-side with their own children.

I recently discussed this history with Bill and Anita Tazer and have also been in contact with Carole Preacher, granddaughter of the Molitors. She remembers my father as Uncle Bob, and provided photographs that her Uncle Bob took of her and her family in the 1940s. She recently sent the photos, which she has kept all these years. The photos show Carole and her little sister Joyce, Carole with her mother and the Molitors in front of the Mozart Street apartment that was the foster home, a portrait of Carole, and Carole with her grandfather.

photos by Bill Muster

photos by Bill Muster

photos by Bill Muster

photos by Bill Muster

photos by Bill Muster

Notice in the last photo that the banner in the window shows two stars, meaning that two sons in the family were serving in World War II (Bill Tanzer and Bill Muster).

My father Bill Muster (1926-1989) also remembered staying with a foster family that took him to Lake of the Woods, Canada. Although my father stayed in contact with this family and took my brother to visit them in Canada, and our mother also remembers meeting them, I am not in contact with the family, but would appreciate hearing from them. My brother and mother remember them, but cannot remember their names. Since he was between the ages of eleven and fourteen, it would have been sometime between 1937-1940.

More Photos

The photos below turned up in a box of Bill Muster's photos.


Carole Preacher and a cousin. Photo by Bill Muster, c. 1940s.


The Molitor family of Chicago. Unknown year, c. 1940s.


The Molitor family in Racine, Wisconsin, c. 1940s.
All photos by Bill Muster.

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