"Would you classify him as a "historian"?"
Although a stately and gentle soul, his fidelity to historical accuracy makes him an "historian" in my book. He had not sold out his integrity for an academic appointment. And yes, unlike most professional (academic) historians, he wrote in a way that most of us enjoyed reading his works. He did bring history alive, and that strikes me as the finest quality of a good historian. He also connected and explained, the rest of the historian's task. We have lost a fine writer and first rate historian.
Probably why he was not an academic. He and David McCullough brought history to the masses.
Foote was a great author and a great historian.