George W. Foley, 92, passed away at his home, surrounded by his loving family on Tuesday, November 10, 2020. Born on April 11, 1928, in Fairview, NJ, he was the son of the late George Robert Foley and Edna Francis Foley.
George was a proud veteran having served in World War II in the US Marine Corps. After returning home, George met his future bride Jean Nocente while she was still in high school. They dated for almost four years before marrying in 1954. A graduate of Fairleigh Dickenson University, George received his bachelor’s degree in Herpetology, the scientific study of reptiles and amphibians. He was a frequent visitor to the neighborhood schools where many students were able to interact with his Anaconda, Boa Constrictor, and Python. He enjoyed educating everyone about these amazing creatures. Following a lengthy career with the American Museum of Natural History in Manhattan, he retired in 1989. He and Jean then made Myrtle Beach their fulltime home. His love of herpetology remained after his retirement. He was always available to identify a snake, feed a hungry lizard, or save a turtle. He was truly a wealth of knowledge when it came to anything related to herpetology and loved to enlighten anyone who would listen about reptiles and amphibians.
Surviving in addition to his devoted and loving wife, Jean, is his daughter, Debra Foley-Gossett and her husband Ron Gossett.
A Letter Written to George from his daughter Debra:
Dad, this one’s for you…. I remember watching the night sky filled with twinkling stars and the Milky Way Hiking through the woods, and wading in Ringwood Manor’s lake on a Saturday. I remember driving all night long just to walk on Ocean City or Rehoboth’s beach It seemed there was always a magical adventure we couldn’t wait to reach. There was always a piece of tin to uncover or a mountain cave to explore; A tropical garden to meander through or a forest ranger’s hidden door. There were weekend adventures and hidden treasures, exploring closets and shelves We even trekked to a Witch’s Dungeon and the North Pole to meet Santa and his elves.
Helping a turtle to cross the road, healing a wounded alligator, or rearing a baby snake, Herpetology came natural to you; the compassion for these creatures was something you couldn’t fake. We never had the usual pets, puppy dogs were too mundane. Instead we shared our lives with iguanas, geckos, and a skunk – Snoopy was his name. There was a South American Crocodile, big snakes, one we called King Kong – a gigantic Anaconda He would wrap himself around my waist and I would walk along – onlookers in awe and wonder You came with me to purchase a parrot I named Skipper, who never learned to speak. When he grew old and his time drew near, you stayed with him, his body frail and weak. One night in December I brought home a kitten, you said she would dig up your plants After hours of negotiation, heart ache, and night time rants – You reluctantly let her stay - Penny grew to adulthood, and you loved her in your way.
In later years, we partied some and shared our wine and beer, Green hot dogs never tasted so good - just as long as you were near.
Father daughter time was video gaming and laughter; there was always something to do - During the games you were up a creek with half a paddle but you always seemed to come through. In Mexico you wrestled an Iguana; we ate fruit off the trees, and even rode the public bus Together we explored ancient ruins; it is safe to say, no one vacationed quite like us.
You carried a scar from gun powder lit too soon, from a childhood friend being a buffoon. You told tales of Happy Jack, and a rescue dog named Mickey – they lived with you and thrived Still in your teens you joined the Marines and trained at Parris Island - learning to survive.
You taught me how long the hospital emergency room wait time can be When being treated for your broken arm, snake bite, or an attack by a raccoon in a tree You were always my hero and taught me to excel, and to never believe everything I read You guided me throughout my entire life, teaching me that independence was the key My hero, my role model, my mentor, my friend; our bond created will never end You made my life complete and secure; our glory days forever etched upon my mind like a steel door.
Thank you for the life you gave me, the stable family bond filled with laughter and some tears Thank you for the guidance you gave me and the invaluable advice calming all of my fears Thank you for supporting and standing beside me throughout all my growing years, Thank you for the time you spent caring for me and all the time we shared You were always front and center in my life – with you I was always safe and never scared.
Now it’s time to rest your head, breathe easy, and gently close your eyes, allow me take the lead. Our lives have always been entwined, but now our roles must reverse, if we are to succeed. Now I will be your guiding light and you can lean on me. My heart is heavy and my tears flow strong. The time to say goodbye draws near, and soon it won’t be long. In your absence I will try to be wise and analyze everything through your eyes. Although I cannot quite picture you with angel wings, I know there is a place Where you can go to rest and reflect, away from the human race. The bond we share is very strong and never will it end Another time we may meet and know and remember to do it all over again. I love you Dad…Merry Meet and Merry Part and Merry Meet Again…
This one’s for you Dad… From Deb
Condolences may be made at www.burroughsfh.com
Burroughs Funeral Home and Cremation Services (843.651.1440) of Murrells Inlet is assisting the family with arrangements.
To send flowers to George's family, please visit our floral store.