With Tom Foley's passing about a month ago
(and his wife Jo last year), I regret not posting here sooner. My wife and I have already, though, extended our condolences to their family while visiting with them and attending the funeral services.
I first met the Foley's in 1968 when I was a junior high schooler right after my Dad had retired from the air force and found a job working in the defense industry at a company here in Titusville, FL.
As a youngster, the Foley's seemed impressed by my avid interest and strong enthusiasm for "anything space exploration related." It would be a passion of mine, he would often tell me, that put me on another "space path" similar to his, but much different in many ways.
It wasn't until recently, as Tom informed me, that we had almost became next-door neighbors! During the mid-1960s, the house next door on Montego Bay Drive to where my family would be residing in from 1968, had become available for purchase. Him and Jo were just about to sign the closing papers when another home caught their eye in a different area. So it was not to be.
There was a small shop, known as Cape Kennedy Medals (later to be Cape Kennedy Mint and Space World USA), located in a shopping plaza near the high school that I attended all throughout the early 1970s on Merritt Island.
Besides Tom, the original CKM shop owners were his wife Jo and Tom's father. In years to come, though, throughout the 1990s there were two other "co-shop owners" involved; Tom Morley and Bill Britz. But their tenures with CKM and Beach One Souvenirs in Cocoa Beach had been short-lived.
During those high school years, I would often visit the nearby store that seemed to have lots of space souvenirs, including the first space postal covers that I saw, but knew nothing about beforehand.
Some of my first space purchases would come from Cape Kennedy Medals during those early "pioneering space collecting" days of mine.
Thanks to Tom/CKM, I was able to acquire my first space covers, patches, medallions, and pins from him. It wasn't though until the l980s, when the shuttles were flying more frequently, that Tom started to mainly purchase from my firm bulk quantities of space cachet envelopes and vinyl decal stickers.
As the years and decades went by, we became good friends and close associates. Often we would work together on many space merchandise projects, both wholesale and retail operations, even until the end of the shuttle program.
Tom was a pioneer-of-sorts as he recognized early-on the wide-spread interest in providing commercial aerospace souvenirs during a golden age when Americans were going to the moon and beyond. Not only did he do so within the country, but also on an worldwide level as well.
During the recent home estate and space clearance sale that Jim is referring to (see post above), there were indeed a few cS members there, myself included, but in asking to help the Foley family organize, consult with, and price some of the numerous space items and various lots.
While Tom and I certainly had our disputes and differences throughout so many years, never the less, we respected each other.
You could even say, perhaps during the early years of our friendship and working relationship, he had been like a "space father" to me in some ways.
Both Tom and Jo are now in a much better place, a "space heaven," with a heavenly view of all the space shots.
Rest in Peace dear friends!