Richard H. Foley, 87, of Champaign died on Saturday, July 6, 2013, at Carle Foundation Hospital in Urbana after a brief illness.
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A memorial service was held on Monday, July 8, at First Presbyterian Church in Champaign. Private burial services were held at Roselawn Cemetery in Champaign on Tuesday, July 9. Morgan Funeral Home of Savoy was in charge of arrangements.
Mr. Foley was born on Oct. 18, 1925, in Paris, Ill., the son of Mildred (Hamilton) and Philip Foley. He attended Paris schools, graduating as valedictorian of Paris High School in 1943. He was a starting guard on the PHS basketball team, which finished as state runner-up in 1942 and state champion in 1943. He was later named to the Illinois High School Basketball Hall of Fame.
He attended the University of Illinois, where he was a civil engineering major and a member of the varsity basketball team. After semester of college, he joined the U.S. Army, eventually serving as a staff sergeant in the signal corps where he processed V-mail. He was stationed near Paris, France.
While in the Army, he played on the Ft. Sheridan basketball team and competed in an AAU basketball tournament in Denver.
Upon returning to the University of Illinois in 1946, he continued his engineering studies and rejoined the Illini basketball team. He played on the 1949 Big Ten championship team, which went on to place third in the NCAA basketball tournament. He also was a member of Phi Delta Theta fraternity – an affiliation he continued well after his college years. The fraternity named him National Alumnus of the Year in 2008.
Mr. Foley graduated from the University of Illinois in 1949, earning a degree in civil engineering. On Oct. 22, 1949, he married Joanne Bresee, daughter of Paul and Josephine (Mantz) Bresee of Champaign. They have five children: Ann Hanson (Brad) of Deerfield; Richard (Sue) of Anchorage, Alaska; Jane Bell (Dave) of Vandalia; Jill Kaltenthaler (Al) of Dewitt, Mich.; and Meg Wiersema (Mike) of Elizabethtown, Ky.; 18 grandchildren: J.B. Hanson, Jeff Hanson (deceased) and Curt Hanson; Matthew Foley and Chad Foley; Michael Bell, Rachel Bell, Drew Bell and Daniel Bell; Kristen Kaltenthaler, Heidi Kaltenthaler, Joseph Kaltenthaler and Erik Kaltenthaler; and Anna Wiersema, Rica Wiersema, Noah Wiersema, Mia Wiersema and Jana Wiersema, and two great-grandchildren: Jacey Hanson and Colby Hanson.
Mr. Foley was preceded in death by a brother, T.A. Foley. He is survived by a sister, Ann (Foley) Hamman and her husband, Fred, of Clarendon Hills, Ill.
He spent his entire working career at Felmley-Dickerson Co. of Champaign, a commercial and industrial construction company. He began as a project engineer and finished his career as company president, retiring in 1990.
He constructed buildings for the University of Illinois, Carle Foundation Hospital, Bank of Illinois, Chanute Field and Quaker Oats. His major projects on the U of I campus include the Assembly Hall (1963), several classroom buildings and a number of dormitories.
He was an active member of the Associated General Contractors, serving on the organization's national board of directors for six years and on its collective bargaining committee for three years. He also was president of Central Illinois Builders, the state chapter of AGC.
His civic involvements include: Champaign Rotary Club, a 50-year member and former president; Champaign School Board from 1966-75, serving as president from 1969-72, a time when the city's schools were being integrated; First Presbyterian Church of Champaign, a member since 1949, serving as a deacon, ruling elder and participant in the church's amateur preachers organization; Bank of Illinois, serving as a member of the board of directors; and Service Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE), serving as an advisor for individuals starting new businesses.
He was a lifetime member of the University of Illinois Alumni Association and received the Civil Engineering Loyalty Award.
For 17 years after his retirement, he and his wife served as volunteers for several months each winter at the University of the Nations campus in Kona, Hawaii, a training facility for Christian missionaries affiliated with Youth With A Mission. He also was active in Bible Study Fellowship and Fellowship of Christian Athletes.
His lifelong hobbies included golf, bridge, gardening, fishing and attending University of Illinois athletic events.
Memorials may be made to the Richard H. Foley Scholarship Fund at the University of Illinois, which benefits incoming students from Edgar County, Ill.; Youth With A Mission, 75-5851 Kuakini Highway, Kona, Hawaii 96740; or Bible Study Fellowship, 19001 Huebner Road, San Antonio, Texas 78258.
Published in The Leader-Union from July 10 to July 17, 2013
Published in The Leader-Union from July 9 to July 17, 2013