Obituary: Robert Perkins Foley – Portland Press Herald
Robert Perkins Foley 1941 – 2022 BRUNSWICK – Photographer, foreign car enthusiast, architecture enthusiast, impeccable chest of drawers. Robert P. Foley 80, of Brunswick passed away peacefully, Sunday, May 15, 2022. He was born June 25, 1941 in Nashua, NH to Charles and Geneva (Perkins) Foley. Robert graduated from Glenbrook High School in Northbrook, Illinois and went on to Marlboro College in Vermont, where he earned a degree in 18th-century New England architecture. In 1963, he married his childhood sweetheart, Polly Sears. In 1963, on a trip to Newport, RI, they came across the Peter Simon house on Bridge Street. He vowed to buy the house and restore it if it ever came on the market. In 1964 he did, and he and Polly kept their promise. During this time, they welcomed two children, Bradford and Emily. Polly and Robert divorced in 1971. Robert remained in Newport for 48 years. He made his living as a marine and architectural photographer, focusing on yacht racing and the America’s Cup in particular, documenting the heyday of the 80s and 90s when Ted Turner was at the helm of Courageous. He worked primarily in black and white, developing and printing much of his work and selling it from his photography shop on Bowen’s Wharf. Returning to his roots, he documented the existing conditions and restoration plans for dozens of 18th century buildings acquired by the Newport Restoration Foundation (founded by Doris Duke). Later in life, Robert landed his dream job at the NRF as Director of Preservation. He spent much of his time at Rough Point, meticulously managing restoration projects throughout the estate. He revised the foundation’s color schemes based on analysis of the painting and led the effort to create a database for the Narragansett Bay Basin through dendrochronology, which is the science of dating events and environmental variations in earlier periods by comparative study of the growth rings of trees and old people. drink. After receiving the Frederick C. Williamson Award for Professional Leadership, it was noted, “With his modest demeanor, Robert’s preservation work often took place behind the scenes or behind the camera. But anyone who cares about Newport’s historic character benefits from his knowledge, skill and dedication. He retired in 2016 and has spent time with his Weimaraner, Jackie, numerous visits with Brad, Jen, Emily and Polly, and annual trips to Stonington, Maine. Stonington held a special place in Robert’s heart, almost every summer of his life since childhood had been spent there with his beloved sisters (now deceased) Eleanor and Barbara. He’s shared his passion for on-point Kate’s House with Brad, Jen and their two boys, Jameson and Benjamin for many years and recently Emily and Polly have been added to the mix. The tradition continues and a new generation of Foley’s will enjoy Kate’s House for many years to come. A consummate hobbyist, Robert enjoyed working and driving foreign sports cars, researching intricate model car projects and assembling them piece by piece, restoring old English carousel animals, and finding and repairing old tools. He was a keen gardener, whose gardens on the corner of Spring and Mill streets opposite Trinity Church in Newport have been photographed by thousands over the years in the spring, capturing his beautiful red tulips, daffodils and purple irises. He moved to Brunswick in 2020 as dementia took hold, residing in Avita of Brunswick. He is survived by his son Bradford and his wife Jennifer Foley of Bowdoinham, and his daughter Emily Foley of Sandwich, Mass.; grandsons, Jameson and his wife Ann Foley of Vineland, NJ, and Benjamin Foley of Bend, Ore.; a great-granddaughter, Charlotte Autumn Foley of Vineland, NJ; and a niece and numerous nephews from the side of the family of her two deceased sisters. He was predeceased by his sisters, Eleanor Foley Lesieur and Barbara Foley Lesieur; and his parents. At Robert’s request, there will be no service. To leave a note of condolence or share a memory, please visit http://www.brackettfh.com In lieu of flowers, those who wish may make a memorial contribution to: Seamen’s Church Institute in Newport, RI at seamensnewport.org.
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