Community activist Foley dies at 85

Community activist Rose Foley, a mainstay of the school board, community board, and civic organizations for over 50 years, has passed away at the age of 85.

Foley became a Throggs Neck resident when she purchased a home with her husband in 1955, and will be especially missed for her vast knowledge and contributions to local public schools in School District 8, friends said.

Upon joining the Throggs Neck Home Owners Association in 1956, Rose became active in education matters pertaining to her two children, John and Rick.

She was active in the school community council at Junior High School 101 in 1969, when Councilman Jimmy Vacca, then an eight grader advocating for better bus service, asked for the school’s support in his fight with the MTA, Vacca said.

Foley was a school board member from 1974 until the start of the Community Education Councils in 2003, and then continued to serve on the CEC, Vacca stated.

“Rose was a very opinionated person and sometimes when she had an opinion, it was very difficult to get her to change her mind,” Vacca said, “but her heart was always in the right place.”

After the MTA fight, she became such a trusted ally. Vacca advocated to Borough President Adolfo Carrion Jr. to appoint Foley as one of two community members who were not parents on Community Education Council 8, when it was created under Mayoral control in 2003.

She was a founding member of the Throggs Neck Volunteer Ambulance Corps., and a longtime member of the 45th Precinct Community Council, Vacca said.

“People like this are hard to replace, and our neighborhood always counted on people from her generation. These people were the mainstay of this neighborhood,” Vacca said.

Foley treated everyone with dignity and respect, and was always there to help when it came to bilingual education or any other issue that was important to her constituents, said fellow District 8 School Board member Julia Rodriguez. She was also a great mentor to new teachers, Rodriguez stated.

“Many times new teachers would come to the school board meetings and she would help them,” Rodriguez said.

During her time on the District 8 School Board, she served as secretary, treasurer and president. She was instrumental in the creation of Lehman High School, and at the forefront of opening I.S. 192.

She joined Community Board 10 in 1973, and was chairwoman of the Youth Services Committee in 1978. She also served as CB 10 secretary, and was on the board’s executive committee. Foley was a great source of knowledge when it came to local schools in CB 10, said longtime board member Virginia Gallagher.

Patrick Rocchio can be reach via e-mail at or by phone at (718) 742-3393

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