Cover photo for Charles William Foley's Obituary
Charles William Foley Profile Photo
1930 Charles 2024

Charles William Foley

April 30, 1930 — March 19, 2024

Colbert, Georgia

Charles William Foley (“Bill”) of Colbert, GA, passed away at age 93 on Tuesday, March 19, 2024. A visitation will be held from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Friday, March 22 at Lord & Stephens Funeral Home, 4355 Lexington Rd, Athens, GA. A graveside service with military honors will be held 2 p.m. on Saturday, March 23, at Tuckston United Methodist Church, 4175 Lexington Rd, Athens, GA, followed by a Celebration of Life in the Tuckston sanctuary.

The son of Elvis Guy and Sarah Margaret (Yale) Foley, Bill was born April 30, 1930, in Sabetha, Kansas. His grandmother Nellie Yale was instrumental in his upbringing.

Bill grew up in Goodman, MO, and lived next door to Mary Richardson. They knew each other their entire lives and starting dating in college. Bill and Mary married on January 1, 1955, in O’Fallen, IL. During their 69-year marriage, they raised four children; Barbara (“Ann”), Charles II (“Chuck”), Elizabeth (“Beth”) and David.

Driven by a love for animals, Bill enrolled in the University of Missouri-Columbia, earning his B.S. in Animal Science in 1952, his M.S. in Animal Science in 1956, and his Ph.D. in Animal Science in 1959.

Bill’s patriotic duty began when he enlisted in the Missouri Army National Guard from 1948 to 1951. In 1952, he was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the Air Force serving in an active-duty capacity specializing in Military Police. In 1954, while still pursuing his post-graduate degrees at the University of Missouri, Bill joined the Air Force Reserves, and continued to serve for the next 36 years, rising to the rank of Colonel. At his last military assignment, he served at the Air Force Academy in Colorado, specializing in recruitment, counseling of prospective cadets, and as a visiting lecturer. He officially retired from military service in 1990 after 42 years of continuous service to his country.

Following completion of his PhD in 1959, Bill accepted a position at Purdue as an Assistant Professor in their Animal Sciences department, rising to the position of Associate Professor with a focus on teaching and research. After nine years at Purdue, Bill taught Veterinary Physiology at the University of Georgia until 1974. He then returned to his alma-mater, the University of Missouri, as a professor for 10 years and interim Chairman of the Department of Veterinary Anatomy for one year. In 1984, he accepted the Chairman/Director position of the Animal and Veterinary Science department at West Virginia University, serving in that capacity for three years.

In 1988, Bill was named as the head of the Animal and Dairy Science department at Clemson University, where he was able to continue to focus on students while also developing Clemson’s academic programs. He grew their Pre-Veterinary program from five students to over 40. He retired in 1995.

Throughout his extensive academic career, Bill demonstrated a caring and sincere interest in his students and their careers. He had the privilege of teaching thousands of students, leading numerous research projects, publishing two books on veterinary science, and authoring over 100 journal articles and abstracts.

After his retirement, Bill devoted more time to one of his life-long passions of genealogy. He was able to directly trace his lineage back to four Mayflower passengers, including John Howland and Elizabeth Tilley, who were his 13th great grandparents. Bill was proud that his American heritage allowed him to be a member of numerous historical societies, including The Mayflower Society, Sons of the American Revolution, and Society of Descendants of Washington’s Army at Valley Forge. He was also a member of the American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars.

Bill always encouraged his children to pursue their dreams and each of them has completed post-graduate education. Bill loved to tell stories and share the knowledge he had gained through his many academic endeavors.  He was widely recognized for raising genetically perfect Rosecomb black chickens. He always said he was “average” even though everyone who knew him knew his average was much higher than most. His grandchildren and great-grandchildren could always count on him having candy in his front shirt pocket. He left an exemplary legacy and will be greatly missed.

Bill was proceeded in death by his parents, Elvis Guy and Sarah Margaret (Yale) Foley; sister Dr. Melva Foley. Survivors include his wife of 69 years, Mary Ellen (Richardson) Foley; children Barbara Ann Foley Droy (Baton Rouge, LA); Charles William Foley II (wife, Emma, Hull, GA); Elizabeth Diane Kunz (Fort Mill, SC); David Yale Foley (Lynn Haven, FL); sister Rev. Avis Richardson; grandchildren (Shauna Claxton, Lyndsay Thompson, Jordan Droy, Joshua Droy, Brandon Yale Droy, Mary Katherine Kunz, Cari Kemble, Jonathan David Foley, Charles William Foley III, Rebekah True Foley, and Caden Yale Foley); great-grandchildren (Jack Thompson, Grace Thompson, Lilly Thompson, Dahlia Droy, Scarlett Droy, Roman Yale Claxton, and Tauren Droy);  and numerous nieces, nephews, and great nieces and nephews.

In lieu of flowers, the family would welcome donations to St. Jude’s Children’s Cancer Research fund.

Lord & Stephens Funeral Home, EAST, Athens is entrusted with arrangements.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Charles William Foley, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services


Friday, March 22, 2024

4:00 - 6:00 pm (Eastern time)

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Graveside Service

Saturday, March 23, 2024

Starts at 2:00 pm (Eastern time)

Tuckston United Methodist Cemetery

4175 Lexington Road, Athens, GA 30605

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