October 23, 2013 — Long-time supporter and Trustee Emeritus of The Asia Foundation Thomas Foley passed away on Friday, October 18 at the age of 84. Ambassador Foley served with distinction on The Asia Foundation’s Board of Trustees from 2001-2009 until he became a Trustee Emeritus in 2009.
“We are saddened by the loss of our Asia Foundation family member,” said Asia Foundation President David D. Arnold. “We recognize with gratitude Mr. Foley’s important role in strengthening U.S. relations with Japan, and his commitment to public service. We were deeply honored to have him on The Asia Foundation Board of Trustees for nearly a decade.”
Ambassador Foley was the 25th U.S. ambassador to Japan. Before taking up his diplomatic post in November 1997, he served as the 49th Speaker of the House of Representatives. Ambassador Foley was elected to represent the state of Washington’s Fifth Congressional District 15 times, serving his constituents for 30 years from January 1965 to December 1994.
Ambassador Foley held the position of majority leader from 1987 until his election as speaker on June 6, 1989. He also was a chairman of both the House Democratic Caucus and the Democratic Study Group. During his years in Congress, Ambassador Foley was a member of the Committee on Interior and Insular Affairs. He served as chairman of the Committee on Agriculture and the Committee on Standards of Official Conduct. As majority leader, Ambassador Foley served on the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, the Committee on the Budget, and the Select Committee to Investigate Covert Arms Transactions with Iran. He was chairman of the House Geneva Arms Talks Observer Team.
Memorial services will be held in Washington, D.C. and in Spokane, Washington.