Sally Foster Wrapping Paper

Sally Foster, right, is shown here in this undated picture from a past Dancing with the Spartanburg Stars. [PROVIDED]

Known to many as “the gift wrap lady,” the founder and longtime owner of Sally Foster Gift Wrap of Spartanburg has died.

Sally Foster, widow of Philip Francis Foster, died Tuesday at her home. She was 80.

A Service of Witness to the Resurrection will be at 11 a.m. Saturday at First Presbyterian Church, 393 E. Main St., Spartanburg. The J.M. Dunbar Funeral Home & Crematory is in charge of arrangements.

Sally Foster turned what started out as a PTA project with her children into a business in 1973. Her line of gift wrap and other gift accessories have been sold in thousands of school fundraisers across the country.

In its heyday, the business had 30 full-time employees and as many as 100 temporary workers during its heavy season from September to December. The business was housed in a 25,000-square-foot building at 300 Daniel Morgan Ave., according to a 1989 Herald-Journal article.

Foster and her husband sold the company that year to former textile executive William S. Moore.

After the sale, Foster stayed on with the business, continuing to design patterns for gift wrap. The designs were shipped to outside printers and then returned to Spartanburg in large rolls.

Workers cut the paper into smaller rolls for shipment to fundraising groups. Most of the product was sold by school groups, churches and other fundraisers.

“Most people know her as ‘the gift wrap lady,’” daughter Hunter Mahon said. “While she was best known for that, she was a lady who never met a stranger. She was elegant, determined and strong.”

John P. Moore, whose father bought the business in 1989, said his family’s partnership with Sally Foster was “a very important part of my family history.”

“My family thought a lot of her,” Moore said. “Sally was also very involved in community projects through the Spartanburg County Foundation and SCETV.”

Foster was a longtime elder at First Presbyterian Church and co-chaired its $1.5 million building renovation campaign. She served as chairwoman of the Spartanburg County Foundation in 2007. In 2011, she helped established the foundation’s Women Giving, which to date has raised nearly $3 million.

Foster was also chairwoman of the board of trustees of the Mary Black Foundation, the Charles Lea Center Foundation, Lake Summitt Foundation and St. Luke’s Free Medical Clinic.

From 1983 to 1999, she was chief financial officer of the ETV Endowment of South Carolina, a founding board member of the South Carolina Aquarium and the South Carolina Museum Foundation.

The Washington Post wrote about Sally Foster’s famous wrapping paper in 2001.

“If you have school-age children, or you live next door to some, chances are you’ve got a few rolls of glossy Sally Foster wrapping paper or curly bows or gift bags stuck in a drawer or closet, waiting for the holiday wrapping binge,” the Post article states.

The Foster line was sold every fall in fundraising drives at 8,000 public, private and parochial schools nationwide, according to the Post. About 3 million catalogs “full of bright photos of paper, ribbons, chocolates and gifts went home in kids’ backpacks early this school year, in time to catch the wrapping-intensive holiday market.”

Foster reportedly returned 50 percent of every sale to the schools. In 2001, the company sold $100 million worth of wrapping paper and related products.

The Moore family sold Sally Foster Gift Wrap in 1992 to Entertainment Publications of Troy, Mich., a marketer of coupon books and merchant discount items, according to the Post.