MILLBURY - John J. Foley, 92, beloved Father, Grandfather and Great-Grandfather, died Thursday, April 4th, peacefully surrounded by his children and family.
He was born in Worcester, son of Irish immigrants Hanorah and John Daniel Foley of County Kerry, Ireland. He graduated from Commerce High School in Worcester in 1944 and enlisted in the United States Navy. He graduated from flight school in Tallahassee, Florida as an Aviation Ordinanceman, Third Class Aircrewman operating the gun turret and arming torpedoes on an Avenger aircraft. John’s squadron was assigned to the USS Tarawa aircraft carrier preparing to invade Japan when the war ended. After WWII, John was honorably discharged and enrolled in Wentworth Institute in Boston, where he graduated first in his class with a degree in Mechanical Engineering. John was employed at Riley Stoker, and then Wyman- Gordon, and retired after a long career with Wyman- Gordon in both the Grafton and Worcester facilities as Head Manager of forging industrial planning.
In 1954 he married the love of his life, Betty Ann Coe, and together they raised eight children. For many years he was actively involved in Our Lady of Lourdes Parish, serving as a Eucharistic minister, lector, member of the choir, and served on the parish council. He was also active in the Millbury community serving as Chairman on the School Building Needs Committee and was instrumental in designing and securing funding for the new Shaw Middle School. John was active in the Boy Scouts for many years.
In his retirement, John was a member of the Greendale Retired Men’s Club, and enjoyed many travel excursions with his wife and friends, both home and abroad. His travels included a tour of Normandy that gave him memories of friends in armed services of the time.
John’s wife of 61 years, Elizabeth A. (Coe) Foley, passed away in 2015. Together they leave behind their eight children, Jack Foley and his wife Deb of Sturbridge, Brian Foley and his wife Tammy of Texas, Maureen Schneider and her husband Joe of Shrewsbury, Dan Foley and his wife Cindy of Oxford, Mary Tower and her husband Wayne of Dudley, Paul Foley and his wife Lynda of Florida, Tim Foley and his wife Robin of Charlton, Peg Bishop and her husband Tom of Charlton; seventeen grandchildren, Chelsea and her husband Matt and their children Charlotte, Claire, and Oliver, Cara, Sage, Caitlin and her husband Dan, Mary, Erin, Rebecca, Meaghan, Katie, Keenan, Colin, Madison, Ryan and his wife Sarah, Brandon, Brenna, Riley, and Aiden; and many nieces and nephews.
John also leaves behind his youngest sibling, Kathleen Loftus and her husband William. He is predeceased by his parents, Hanorah and John Daniel Foley, two sisters, Mary Foley and Mildred Gallery and her husband, John, and a brother Paul Foley.
John was very humble and can be most remembered for his kind and gentle mannerisms, his Irish sense of humor, his natural musical abilities for which he loved to entertain family and friends with his harmonica. Born to Irish immigrants in the 1920’s, and with the passing of his father at the age of nine, John took on many responsibilities of his mother’s home, helped in caring for his siblings, while working many jobs as a youngster to contribute to household finances. His many hardships bestowed upon him the appreciation for his family, value of kindness and a hard work ethic, of which by example he passed along to his children.
He will be missed dearly by his children and family.
We would like to extend our sincere thanks to all John’s wonderful caregivers, who helped care for John both at his home on Shirley Ave, as well as at the Life Care Center of Auburn. Their kindness will never be forgotten.
Family and friends will honor and remember John’s life by gathering for a time of visitation on Sunday, April 7th from 5 to 7 p.m. at Mulhane Home for Funerals, 45 N. Main Street in Millbury.
His Funeral Mass will be celebrated on Monday, April 8th at 11 a.m. in Our Lady of Lourdes Church, 1290 Grafton Street in Worcester. Burial will follow at St. Philip Cemetery in Grafton.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Life Care Center of Auburn c/o Activities Fund, 14 Masonic Circle, Auburn, MA 01501.