Water district chairman John Foley dies at 83

Retired Army Col. John V. Foley, chairman of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, has died, according to a statement from the district.

Foley died Friday after a long battle with cancer. He was 83.

Foley was one of four Municipal Water District of Orange County appointees on the regional water board and was serving his second four-year term as the chairman of the MWD, according to the district.

"Col. Foley was one of the great leaders of our era and in the history of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California," district President Larry Dick said in a prepared statement. "His knowledge, leadership and kindness will be truly missed. On a personal level, I will also miss his fabulous sense of humor, his great storytelling abilities, and most of all, I will miss him."

During Foley's time as chairman, the MWD achieved various accomplishments, including the construction of Diamond Valley Lake reservoir near Hemet and establishing a method to benchmark and measure water savings in the region, according the statement.

Foley retired from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in 1976 after 25 years. Foley earned his bachelor's in engineering from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point in 1952, according to his online biography, a master's in civil engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1958 and a master's in mathematics from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 1963.

He is survived by his wife, Mary Jane Foley; son John V. Foley III; daughter Ann Ziegler; three stepchildren and five step-grandchildren.

A celebration of life is planned for late April. A full military burial at West Point is planned for June.

—Anthony Clark Carpio

Twitter: @acocarpio

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