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  Tom Foley, Space World USA retailer (1929-2014)

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Author Topic:   Tom Foley, Space World USA retailer (1929-2014)
Robert Pearlman

Posts: 29667
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 04-24-2014 12:05 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Word comes by way of Facebook that Tom Foley, proprietor of Space World USA, died on Wednesday (April 23). He was 85.

Foley, together with his wife Jo (who died in 2012), founded Space World USA, a space collectibles retailer based in Merrit Island, Florida, in 1968.

Foley may be best known among the collectSPACE community for creating replica and souvenir patches, including the STS-134 "wives" patch. Space World USA also produced key chains and souvenir jewelry emblazoned with space shuttle mission emblems.

I had my differences with Tom in recent years, but extend my sincere condolences to his friends and family.


Posts: 785
From: NJ
Registered: Jan 2004

posted 04-24-2014 12:54 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for 4allmankind   Click Here to Email 4allmankind     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
That's sad. I recall meeting him once. Here's a brief story on the shop.


Posts: 1034
From: Olympia, WA, USA
Registered: Sep 2011

posted 04-24-2014 01:47 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for p51   Click Here to Email p51     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The website is still up for Space World, is it still in business?

Rick Mulheirn

Posts: 2674
From: England
Registered: Feb 2001

posted 04-24-2014 05:24 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Rick Mulheirn   Click Here to Email Rick Mulheirn     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I met Tom and his wife Jo in 2009. Nice people. Sad news indeed.


Posts: 2604
From: Titusville, FL USA
Registered: Feb 2005

posted 04-25-2014 03:33 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for KSCartist   Click Here to Email KSCartist     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Tom was a friend to the space community and tried to give his customers what they wanted. At times though it meant doing business with those who didn't care about things like copyright.

I wished that he and his childhood sweetheart Jo had been able to enjoy a long retirement together but at least they are reunited at last.


Posts: 1420
From: West Jordan, Utah USA
Registered: Dec 1999

posted 04-25-2014 03:49 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for randy   Click Here to Email randy     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote


Posts: 1559
From: Guyton, GA
Registered: Jan 2006

posted 04-25-2014 04:36 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for GACspaceguy   Click Here to Email GACspaceguy     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote


Posts: 312
From: Northampton UK
Registered: Nov 2009

posted 04-25-2014 05:20 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Kite     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote


Posts: 599
From: washington, Illinois USA
Registered: Jan 2006

posted 04-26-2014 03:29 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for astro-nut   Click Here to Email astro-nut     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote


Posts: 872
From: Sandpoint, ID, USA
Registered: Mar 2003

posted 04-27-2014 08:34 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for dss65   Click Here to Email dss65     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote

Lunar rock nut

Posts: 707
From: Oklahoma city, Oklahoma U.S.A.
Registered: Feb 2007

posted 04-30-2014 09:12 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Lunar rock nut   Click Here to Email Lunar rock nut     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote

Jim Behling

Posts: 682
From: Cape Canaveral, FL
Registered: Mar 2010

posted 05-23-2014 01:30 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jim Behling   Click Here to Email Jim Behling     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
His daughter is trying to sell off his inventory. A friend told me he saw signs for a space memorabilia sale at a home in Merritt Island.

I went and was directed to a building/shack behind the home. It was air conditioned and stacked to the ceiling with patches, pins and what not. It was hard walking around the place. There was a woman try to do some organization of the place.

I started talking to her and she said all the stuff was her father's and I asked who he was and she said it was Tom. Then the light bulb came on. I am surprised that no one has stepped forward from this forum to take some of the merchandise off her hands.


Posts: 573
From: Sacramento, CA
Registered: Jun 2001

posted 05-23-2014 07:30 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for sts205cdr   Click Here to Email sts205cdr     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote


Posts: 4980
From: Brussels, Belgium
Registered: Jan 2001

posted 05-24-2014 06:26 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Philip   Click Here to Email Philip     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote


Posts: 463
From: New York, NY USA
Registered: Oct 2010

posted 05-24-2014 12:57 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for LM1   Click Here to Email LM1     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote

Ken Havekotte

Posts: 1987
From: Merritt Island, Florida, Brevard
Registered: Mar 2001

posted 05-24-2014 01:15 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ken Havekotte   Click Here to Email Ken Havekotte     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
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!


Posts: 324
From: Albany, Oregon USA
Registered: Jul 2006

posted 05-24-2014 01:32 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for mach3valkyrie   Click Here to Email mach3valkyrie     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote

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