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James Foley, 66, traveler, supportive brother

JAMES FOLEY JR. was a happy man. He had a great marriage and a job he enjoyed. He was bursting with health and optimism.

James Foley
James FoleyRead more

JAMES FOLEY JR. was a happy man. He had a great marriage and a job he enjoyed. He was bursting with health and optimism.

He retired last year, and he and his wife bought a house in Sandy, Utah. They were looking forward to a trip to Brazil.

But Jim died suddenly of a pulmonary embolism while celebrating his 66th birthday with his family at the home of his oldest son, James Foley III, in Austin, Texas on Nov. 10.

He complained of not feeling well and laid down to rest. He stopped breathing and was resuscitated, but he died early the next day.

Jim, an Army veteran of the Vietnam War, was born in Philadelphia and lived here for many years before moving to California in 1978. He lived in Thousand Oaks.

"The family is heartbroken," said his sister, Maureen Faulkner. "He was in excellent shape, never smoked and drank very little. He was a most wonderful brother."

When Maureen's husband, Philadelphia police Officer Daniel Faulkner, was shot to death on Dec. 9, 1981, Jim was the rock on which she leaned.

"He took me under his wing when Danny was killed," she said. "I talked to him every day. He gave me excellent advice."

During the ordeal of the trial of the killer - Mumia Abu-Jamal, who was found guilty of first-degree murder and is serving a life sentence in prison - and the seemingly endless appeals, Jim was always there for his younger sister.

Jim Foley was born in Philadelphia to Annamae Foley and James Foley Sr. He attended Holy Innocents Area Catholic Elementary School and North Catholic High School. He entered the Army in 1967 and was sent to Vietnam in Army Intelligence.

"He never talked much about the war," his sister said. "But after he got home, he was sleeping one morning, and I woke him up. He leaped out of bed, and I could tell by his demeanor that he was having a flashback to Vietnam."

Jim met Cathy deBree when he was stationed in California, and they were married on July 5, 1968.

They came to Philadelphia, and Jim went to work as a salesman for the J.E. Fricke Rope and Twine Corp.

His wife wanted to return to California. After they moved back, he got a position as a stockbroker for the Sutro & Co. Investment Corp.

Maureen said that Jim and Cathy had one of the "happiest marriages" she ever knew. They traveled together on cruises and to Hawaii. Cathy worked for a travel agency in California.

Maureen lost another brother in June, when Lawrence Foley, of Chester Springs, died of a heart attack at age 59.

Besides his wife, sister and son, Jim is survived by another son, Sean, and two other brothers, Michael and Francis Foley.

Services: Memorial services in California and Philadelphia are being planned.