John William Foley, 92, of Alice, Texas, passed away on March 3, 2015. He was born on August 28, 1922 in Taft, Texas, where he spent his early years, before moving with his family back to the original Foley family home near Orangedale, Texas. This is where his grandfather eventually settled after the Civil War reconstruction period.
John attended Beeville High School.With the outbreak of WWII, John joined the United States Marine Corps and attended basic training in San Diego, California. Immediately thereafter, he boarded a troop ship and sailed across the Pacific to Auckland, New Zealand. He continued his combat training at Papakura, New Zealand for an additional six months with thousands of other US Marines, in preparation for the Pacific island invasion operations.
John’s first battle action was at Guadalcanal, in the fierce conflict to finish off the Japanese occupiers. He subsequently participated in three major beach landings, each under heavy enemy fire, in some of the fiercest combat of the Pacific War,including the battles of Bouganville, Guam and Iwo Jima, while serving in the2nd Battalion, 9th Marines of the 3rd Marine Division. For his bravery in battle at Iwo Jima, he was awarded a Silver Star, Purple Heart, and Letter of Commendation by the Secretary of the Navy. John’s Division was expected to participate in the invasion of mainland Japan, but fortunately the war ended.
At the end of the war he was sent to Seattle,Washington, where he recovered from his wounds, was discharged and returned to Texas. He and his wife, Jeanette,remained active in the Texas Chapter, 3rd Marine Division Association for many years. John was always proud of being a Marine. After the War, he began working in the drilling business as a “roughneck” in the oilfields of South Texas. Through hard work and long hours he worked his way up to become a driller and tool pusher for such early companies as Dillard and Walter meyer and Morris Cannon. In 1960 he moved his family to Alice, Texas, where he became Assistant Drilling Superintendent for Field Drilling Company. In time he became General Drilling Superintendent for Field, which by the 70’s had become the largest land drilling company owned and based in South Texas. He also was an owner-operator of inland marine service barges.
John was always very proud of the oilfield and being a part of it. After his retirement from Field Drilling Company in 1979, he achieved his lifelong dream of buying a ranch west of Tilden, Texas and running cattle. John was an avid deer hunter. John and Jeanette loved to travel to Mexico and did so many times. They toured the Caribbean, Canada, and many USA locations. On one trip in the early 1980’s,they visited the South Pacific island of Guam, where he was able to wade on to the same beach upon which he had landed during the war and had received bullet wounds from enemy fire.John will always be remembered by his friends and loved ones as part of the “greatest generation” and one of the “proud and few.”
John was preceded in death by his wife, Doris Jeanette Freasier Foley, parents Lee Daniel Foley and Augusta Hirst Foley, sisters Frankie Martin, Ida Schiro and Virginia Nelson, and brother Aubrey Lee Foley.
He is survived by his children, Cheryle Anne Gaines of League City, Texas and two sons, Garner Lee Foley of Waring, Texas, and William Keith Foley of El Paso, Texas. He is also survived by seven grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren. John was a proud Texan.
A celebration of life service will be held at the First Baptist Church of Alice, Texas, on Saturday, March 14, 2015 at 10 a.m. Graveside services will follow at 2 p.m. at the George West, Texas cemetery.
In lieu offlowers, donations may be made to the South Texas Children’s Home, PO BOX 759,Beeville, Texas 78104-0759. Services entrusted to RobersonFuneral Home.