On April 20, 2014, Michael J. Foley died with his family gathered around him, from complications from Parkinson's disease, which he fought courageously for ten years.
Mike was born in Dobbs Ferry, NY, on July 6, 1945, the son of John A Foley, Jr. and Jacqueline Turner Foley.
He learned to play chess at the Yorktown Chess Club at the age of nine, and made many wonderful friendships over a chessboard. A highlight of his childhood was being chosen to play with Bobby Fisher in 1955 at the famous Manhattan Chess Club, an event covered by the Sunday New York Times. In junior high school he became interested in the Franciscan Order and attended a minor seminary at St. Johns in Watkins Falls, NY. He attended his junior year at St. Mary's High School in Katonah, NY.
Mike demonstrated an early flair for sales and finance. At age twelve he bought seeds from an advertisement in the back of a comic book and took his pony around the neighborhood selling the seeds to neighbors. At age seventeen he outfitted an old Studebaker car with shoes he purchased wholesale, and then sold throughout the town.
Mike worked as an ambulance driver during his years at Pace College in Briarcliff, and in later years served as a volunteer fireman. At age twenty-one Mike realized his ambition to become a stockbroker, and was accepted into the training program at Hayden Stone, then a noted brokerage house. His quick mind, uncanny ability to run numbers in his head, enthusiasm and sincere charm brought him early success. But he set for himself higher sights. In 1971 he decamped with his wife, Anne, to Winnipeg, Canada, to help open Merrill Lynch's commodities trading platform. There he learned the intricacies of trading, and developed the habits and discipline he would later employ as a member of the Coffee, Sugar and Cocoa, New York Cotton, COMEX and Mercantile Exchanges in NYC. In his many years in the trading business he was noted for encouraging a generation of traders. He engaged in a lifetime of helping people.
Mike continued a family tradition, dating back to 1912, of investing in real estate in Hastings, NY. His father, John A. Foley, was often his partner. He had a brilliant eye for spotting value before others, and in 1987 began buying farmland in Southern Illinois. He developed lifelong friendships with many of the people of Carrollton, Illinois, and considered the town to be his second home. In 2005, he organized Beechdale Capital Management, a firm specializing in trading commodity options. He was very proud that his sons, Andy and Ben, and son-in-law Ryan McGetrick, joined the business. His mantra, familiar to all his friends and family, was "Good country, America".
He was a generous supporter of Hebrew University, bestowing the funding for several students to complete a medical school program. He contributed to AMIT, which recognized his contributions, giving him their Humanitarian Award in 2004. He traveled to Israel many times. Anne and Mike remained close to one another, and he spent his last days in her home in Madison, CT, being cared for by her and his children and brother Kevin, and dear friends Patsy Letford and Elaine Comrie.
The success of which he was proudest was his children. He had five children from his marriage to Anne Ulman Foley – Rebecca, Molly, Katherine, John Andrew III and Benjamin - and one son, Samuel, from his marriage to Teresa Foley. His daughter Molly predeceased him. He leaves five adored grandchildren. He is also survived by his beloved brothers Peter, Kevin and Lorenzo.
The family would like to thank the many caregivers who gave Mike much love and affection over the years.
Visiting hours will be held on Friday, May 9th, from 6 - 9 pm at Edwards Funeral Home (64 Ashford Avenue, Dobbs Ferry, NY 10522.) A funeral service will be held on Saturday, May 10th, at 10:30 am at Irvington Town Hall Theater (85 Main Street, Irvington, NY 10533.)
In lieu of flowers, the family welcomes donations to the National Parkinson's Foundation in memory of Michael J. Foley. http://www3.parkinson.org/goto/michaeljfoley