In Memoriam: Thomas S. Foley, 1929-2013

The United States Capitol Historical Society joins the nation in mourning the passing of former Ambassador and Speaker of the House Thomas S. Foley on October 18, 2013. In addition to serving as the 57th Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives from 1989 to 1995 and as U.S. ambassador to Japan from 1997 to 2001, Tom Foley served for several years as member of the board of trustees of the U.S. Capitol Historical Society.

Foley represented the State of Washington’s 5th congressional district for 30 years as Democratic member of the House of Representatives from 1965 to 1995. He served as party whip (1981-87), majority leader (1987-89), and as Speaker (1989-95). President Bill Clinton appointed him as the nation’s 25th ambassador to Japan in 1997.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi presents the 2007 Freedom Award to Tom Foley

Speaker Nancy Pelosi presents the 2007 Freedom Award to Tom Foley (second from left) as Democratic leader Steny Hoyer, former Republican leader Bob Michel, Society President Ron Sarasin, and Congressman Norm Dicks look on.

Following his passing, President Barack Obama, Vice President Joseph Biden, Speaker John Boehner, and Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi all issued statements honoring Foley.

The U.S. Capitol Historical Society recognized Tom Foley’s lifetime achievement in public service by awarding him the organization’s 2007 Freedom Award. In 2006, Society President Ron Sarasin interviewed Foley and his longtime Republican colleague, Bob Michel, about their years serving together in the House of Representatives. An audio recording of that interview is posted here as well as a brief video of Speaker Foley reminiscing about his congressional career.