MSgt Donald Foley
Donald Eugene Foley, retired MSGT USMC, age 87, passed away on February 18, 2023.
Don was born June 8, 1935, to Eugene and Edithe Foley in Anselmo, Nebraska. At age five his family moved to Lusk, Wyoming where he attended elementary and high school. He loved football and basketball and played on the Lusk Tigers team throughout his school years. He graduated from Niobrara County High School in 1952 and started college at the University of Wyoming the following Fall. At the young age of 18 years, he decided to postpone college and join the U.S. Marine Corps. That was a decision that altered the course of his life. He spent the next 19 years in the Marine Corps and retired in 1973 as an E-8 Master Sergeant. He was then obligated to ten years in the US Marine Corps Reserves.
While home on leave in August of 1955 he met LaDonna Pullen of Harrison, NE at the Niobrara County Fair and Rodeo. After a brief courtship through letters and a telephone call or two, he proposed marriage. They married in Harrison, NE December 23, 1955, and in December 2022 quietly honored their 67th year of marriage. Five children were born into this union. Michael, Roderick, Eric Kevin, Jay Dean, and Deanna.
Shortly before Don’s retirement from the Marine Corps, the family visited relatives in Dayton, Wyoming. After the brief visit, he proclaimed, “This is where I want to retire”. Official retirement from the Marine Corps was yet a few months away, but he set his plans in motion and in August the family moved to Ranchester, then to Dayton in 1977.
Don and his wife, LaDonna joined the Veterans of Foreign Wars post 10105 and Auxiliary in Dayton-Ranchester and spent the next 25 years as active members and volunteering for the organization. Don was elected Commander of the State of Wyoming VFW for the 1984-1985 term. He remained an active member of VFW Post 10105 until the post was disbanded and he continued as a Member at Large of the organization until his death. He was adamant that Veterans of all the Military Service Branches have access to the benefits they deserved and he worked to that end.
During his Marine Corps career, he was selected for the Marine Corps Commandant’s Parade Staff at the Washington D.C. Eighth and I St. parades on Friday evenings and for the Tuesday Sunset Parade at the Iwo Jima Memorial. He was extremely proud of his involvement with the Parade Staff.
Don was involved in many other factions of volunteerism including coaching little league baseball, tutoring school students, and was also a volunteer on the Dayton Fire and Rescue unit for several years. He was among those who were instrumental in organizing the first medical emergency unit in Dayton and assisted with training for volunteers.
Don was a veteran of the Korean War mop-up team and spent a tour in VietNam as a CH53 Helicopter Crew Chief. After his tour in Viet Nam, he was transferred to the Naval Yard in Washington D.C. as a course writer on helicopters.
Until his eyesight failed him, he was an avid reader of military history and war stories, fiction, and non-fiction. He didn’t read a book just once. His favorites were read over and over until the books had to be replaced.
The term “Once a Marine, Always a Marine” fit him to a tee and anytime he heard a patriotic march, no matter where he was, his feet began a tap and a slide. He was delighted when addressed as “Sarge” and a grin on his face and a gleam in his eye told you so.
Don’s passing will be mourned by his wife, LaDonna, children-Michael(Cynthia), Roderick, Eric Kevin(Diane), Deanna Pittman (Scott), seven grandchildren, seven great-grandchildren, numerous nieces and nephews, cousins, and his canine buddy Chinook. Pre-deceasing Don were his infant son, Jay Dean, his parents, his sister Mary, and daughter-in-law Ellen Foley.
Cremation has taken place. No services will be held at present. At a later date, a memorial will be conducted with full military honors.
In lieu of cards and floral arrangements, please donate in memory of Don to the Dayton Community Church, P.O. Box 69, Dayton, WY 82836, or to a charity of your choice.
Kane Funeral Home has been entrusted with arrangements.