DOBBS FERRY, N.Y, -- Michael J. Foley of Dobbs Ferry died Sunday, April 20, at age 68 with his family gathered around him from complications from Parkinson’s disease, which he fought for 10 years.
He was born in Dobbs Ferry 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 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. He attended his junior year at St. Mary’s High School in Katonah.
Foley demonstrated an early flair for sales and finance. At age 12 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 17 he filled an old Studebaker car with shoes he purchased wholesale, and then sold throughout the town.
Foley worked as an ambulance driver during his years at Pace College in Briarcliff Manor, and in later years served as a volunteer fireman.
At 21, he realized his ambition to become a stockbroker, and was accepted into the training program at Hayden Stone, then a noted brokerage house.
In 1971 he moved 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 be employed as a member of the Coffee, Sugar and Cocoa, New York Cotton, COMEX, NYFE and Mercantile Exchanges in New York City.
In his many years in the trading business Foley was noted for encouraging a generation of traders.
Foley continued a family tradition, dating back to 1912, of investing in real estate in Hastings-On-Hudson. His father, John A. Foley, was often his partner.
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”.
Foley 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 Foley remained close, and he spent his last days in her home in Madison, Conn., being cared for by her and his children and brother Kevin, and friends, Patsy Letford and Elaine Comrie.
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. He is survived by his children, Rebecca, Katherine, John Andrew III and Benjamin, and Samuel, five grandchildren and his brothers Peter, Kevin and Lorenzo. His daughter Molly predeceased him.
Visiting hours will be held on Friday, May 9, from 6-9 pm at Edwards Funeral Home, 64 Ashford Ave., Dobbs Ferry. A funeral service will be held on Saturday, May 10, at 10:30 am at Irvington Town Hall Theater, 85 Main St, Irvingtin.
In lieu of flowers, the family welcomes donations to the National Parkinson’s Foundation in memory of Michael J. Foley at the foundation's website.