Thomas Foley, 79; Former Staff Writer for the L.A. Times

From a Times Staff Writer

Thomas J. Foley, a former staff writer with the Los Angeles Times who covered Congress, the White House and national politics, has died. He was 79.

Foley died Oct. 24 from an embolism at a hospital in Fairfax, Va., said his son, Chris.

Foley joined The Times’ Washington Bureau in 1964, where he remained for 10 years. He later worked for U.S. News and World Report before retiring in 1985.

A North Dakota native, Foley was raised in Devils Lake, N.D., and worked for the Daily Journal there after graduating from high school. He served in the Navy as an ensign during World War II, specializing in tactical radar. After the war, he returned to the University of Minnesota, graduating in 1948.


His first job was with the Hearst-owned International News Service in Atlanta. He later worked in that service’s Montgomery and Birmingham bureaus before moving to Washington, D.C.

After working briefly for the Joint Congressional Committee on Atomic Energy, Foley returned to the news business with United Press International and later a Look magazine publication called The Insiders Newsletter before joining The Times.

In addition to his son, Chris, of Warrenton, Va., Foley is survived by another son, Michael of Charlotte, N.C.; a daughter, Terri of Alexandria, Va.; and five grandchildren.

A memorial service will be held at 12:30 p.m. Dec. 2 at St. Agnes Catholic Church in Arlington, Va., with a funeral at Arlington National Cemetery

Instead of flowers, the family suggests that donations be made to Arlington Street Peoples Assistance Network, P.O. Box 1554, Arlington, Va. 22210. (703-820-HELP).