Las Vegas Sun

October 23, 2017

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Former state Sen. John Foley, youngest of ‘Foley Boys,’ dies at 89

Because the hands of ailing former state Sen. John Foley, a passionate lifelong Democrat, were too shaky to allow him to sign his name to a voting ledger, presidential candidate Hillary Clinton on Tuesday will get one less tally registered on her slate.

“My father tried to vote early but could not get his signature to match what was on the (Clark County Registrar of Voters) record,” Foley’s daughter Ann Monahan said. “He was so disappointed that he could not cast a ballot for Hillary.”

With the death Oct. 31 of John Patrick Foley, at 89 — the youngest and last survivor of the five “Foley Boys” — a colorful chapter in Nevada’s legal profession and political history came to a wistful close.

“Dad was a kind and gentle man who enjoyed working with multiple generations of families (as a probate attorney), helping his clients through what were some very difficult times in their lives,” Monahan said.

Services will be at 11 a.m. Saturday at a Funeral Mass at Our Lady of Las Vegas Catholic Church, 3050 Alta Drive, where Foley was a longtime parishioner. Graveside services will follow at Woodlawn Cemetery, 1500 Las Vegas Blvd. N., where Foley’s wife, grandfather, parents and four brothers are buried.

Visitation will be from 4 to 5 p.m. Friday, followed by a Rosary at 5 and a traditional Irish wake at 6 — all at Bunkers Mortuary, 925 Las Vegas Blvd. N.

Foley, who died at Nathan Adelson Hospice after a lengthy illness, was a member of one of Las Vegas’s most prominent and influential families. (The Foley clan settled at Goldfield in 1907.)

He was the son of late federal judge Roger T. Foley and the brother of late federal judge Roger D. Foley, late state District Court Judge Tom Foley, late District Attorney George Foley and late lawyer and Nevada University Regent Joseph “Joe” Foley. Also, his nephew, George, is a federal magistrate judge, and his niece, Helen Foley, served in the state Senate.

John Foley served as a state senator from 1971 to 1974.

Born July 18, 1927, in Torrance, Calif., Foley was an infant when Roger T. and his wife, Helen D. Foley, settled with their family in Las Vegas in 1928. John attended the historic Fifth Street Grammar School and Las Vegas High School.

After high school, Foley joined the Merchant Marines. Upon his return to Nevada, he enrolled at UNR, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1950. Foley earned his law degree from Georgetown University in 1953.

After being admitted to the Washington, D.C., Bar in 1953, Foley and his new bride, Phyllis Daum Foley, lived in San Francisco, where he was an Army attorney from 1953 to 1955. They were married for more than 50 years. She preceded him in death in 2006.

Foley was admitted to the Nevada Bar in 1955 and practiced law in Las Vegas for more than 60 years. He remained a member of the Foley Law Center until his death. Foley was instrumental in the founding of Nevada’s first legal-aid society, in 1957.

Foley also was a member of the American Bar Association, Nevada Trial Lawyers Association and National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys.

Foley is survived by his close friend, Sandra Litton of Las Vegas; four daughters, Ann Monahan and her husband, Michael, Elizabeth Foley and her husband, John Maxey, Margaret Foley and her husband, Thomas Ryan, and Carol Foley, all of Las Vegas; two sons, Frank Foley of Las Vegas and John Foley Jr., of California; and eight grandchildren.

The family said donations can be made in John P. Foley’s memory to the Clark County Law Library.

Ed Koch is a former longtime Las Vegas Sun reporter.

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