BARRE- John E. “Jack The Shot” Foley,81, passed away peacefully on Sunday November 29,2020 from complications of Parkinson's Disease with his devoted wife by his side. Always the optimist, Jack believed that he had lived a fairy tale, a life full of unbelievable adventures.
To plant a memorial tree in honor of John "Jack The Shot" Foley, please visit our Heartfelt Sympathies Store.
Jack excelled in basketball first at Assumption Prep in Worcester where he earned his nickname by sinking an unlikely shot that clipped the side of the backboard. In his final year of high school he was averaging 41.8 points per game and was a first team All-American. Jack was heavily recruited by dozens of respected colleges and universities, but he chose to remain in Worcester and attend his father and brother, Frank's, alma mater, Holy Cross. Among the records he set at Holy Cross are: total career points, (2,185 in three years, the first Crusader to top the 2,000 point mark) two highest scoring games (56 and 55 points; no other Crusader has topped 50 points in the almost 60 years since), and highest point per game average. (33.3) He earned numerous accolades and All-America honors in each of his three years playing. (Freshmen were not permitted to play at the time.) Drafted by the Celtics in 1962, he joined the team after completing his reserve service for the U.S. Coast Guard. He was traded to the Knicks later in the season.
Jack then began his legendary career in education, teaching history for 37 years at Burncoat Junior and then South High. While teaching, Jack coached high school boys' basketball at Boys Trade, Quabbin Regional and South High. He coached the girls' team at South that included Nancy (Mayer) Bates as an All-American and Jack would remark how rare it was to have one high school All-American coach another. Jack led this undefeated girls' team to the Central Mass. Semifinals and the following year to the state semifinals.
Jack took on a third job as a part-time police officer in Barre with his buddy who would later become chief, Jim Thompson. Jack decided that if he took a night job, police work would be safer than working at a gas station or liquor store since he'd be on the right end of the gun. For many years Jack would finish his teaching day, have tea and pie with Andy and Doris Power while waiting to start his boys' basketball practice, would finally return home in the evening for a quick bite and nap, then work the midnight shift in the “cruiser car.” If all was quiet, Jack would drive to swampy areas to use the cruiser's spotlight in search of frogs, deer or other wildlife. Like so many things he did, Jack saw his police work as another adventure that came with great accessories. He retired from the force in 2009 after serving the community where was known for answering, “How are you?” with, “Always Good!.”
Jack loved snakes, nature and photography. He enjoyed hiking to snake dens with his children and friends in the spring and fall and was frustrated when his health would no longer allow him to do this safely. Dreaming of one day opening his own gallery, he photographed beautiful local landscapes and wildlife. He would later discover the grandeur of Alaska and numerous national parks when he and his wife took their summer-long, annual cross country trips. Photos of chipmunks and dripping icicles were replaced with splashing grizzly bears and turquoise glacial ice caves.
Jack is survived by his loving wife of 28 years, Gail Raney; his brother and sister-in-law Frank and Rosemary of Worcester; and the children of his first marriage, Roy & wife Jen of Virginia, Herb, wife Lynne and grandchildren Scott and Brandon of Ware, Ralph of Worcester and granddaughter Serah and great-granddaughter of NJ; daughter Jennifer and grandson Arnvid of Tenn., grandson James Hill of Idaho; son Luis, partner Nicole and granddaughter Mackenzie of PA; nieces and nephews. He was predeceased by his parents Francis J. Foley. Sr. and Nora A. (Fleming) Foley, sister Maureen and granddaughter Ashley.
A memorial service will be held in the spring and a “Jack Foley Storytelling Celebration” will be scheduled for early summer. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made in Jack's memory to the Parkinson's Foundation (https://www.parkinson.org) or The Bronx Zoo (Help Save Animals | Ways to Give) honoring Jack's deep respect for Dr. Raymond L. Ditmars, herpetologist and curator of the reptile collection at the Bronx Zoo. Arrangements are under the care of Pillsbury Funeral Home 96 S.Barre Rd. Barre.