Bob Foy: A great advocate for the community

2009 Stocktonian of the Year was always looking to help people.

STOCKTON — It would be a rare day if anyone caught former Stocktonian of the Year Bob Foy outside his home without one of his signature bow ties. Considered a true gentleman among gentlemen, his family announced that Robert Willard Foy passed away June 9. He was 80 years old.

Foy, who didn’t arrive in Stockton until 1962 after college and a stint in the U.S. Army, became a leader in the community through his many good deeds and volunteer work with countless organizations.

In business, Foy was chairman of the California Water Service Co. Board of Directors, retiring in 2012 after 16 years in that post. He first joined the board in 1977 when Stockton was Cal Water’s largest service area. He also was president and CEO of Pacific Storage, a business founded in Stockton in 1856.

Foy served in that latter position from 1977 until his retirement in 1995. Greg Tudor, Pacific Storage’s current boss who succeeded Foy about a year later, considered him a close friend but, more importantly, a mentor.

“There will never be another Bob Foy. He is irreplaceable,” Tudor said. “No one can do what he did in his life. To me, he was a father figure, a mentor and just a great friend. He was always looking to help people. I think he viewed his involvement in the community as a way of paying back.”

Foy held leadership positions in several organizations including president or chairman of United Way of San Joaquin County, the Greater Stockton Chamber of Commerce, board of commissioners of the Stockton Port District and St. Joseph’s Medical Center board of directors.

Locally, he was active with St. John’s Anglican Church, United Crusade, Stockton Parole Advisory Committee, Boys Club, Yosemite Club, Stockton Unified School District Citizens Committee to Study Year-Round School, California Attorney General’s Volunteer Advisory Committee, University of the Pacific Community Forward Together Committee, the Make Brighter Tomorrows campaign to raise funds for a safe place for battered women, San Joaquin County Republican Central Committee, San Joaquin County Economic Review Panel and as a founding trustee of the University of California, Merced.

Professionally, he served as president of the California Moving and Storage Association and chairman of the National Moving and Storage Association.

When he was recognized as Stocktonian of the Year in 2009, he was quoted as saying, “There’s a common thread that runs through all those organizations: the people who are involved, their fondness and the common bond of people wanting to help out their home community of Stockton, California.”

Asked how she remembers her husband of 50 years, Barbara Foy started with a list of traits: “Loyalty. Honesty. Integrity. He was the most positive man you will ever meet. There was no challenge too great, including during his final year of not-so-great health.”

Even when he was suffering, Barbara Foy said, he would tell her, “We’ll get through this.”

A fourth-generation Californian, Foy was born in San Francisco in 1936 and grew up in Palo Alto, graduating from Palo Alto High School in 1955. He then attended San Jose State University, graduating in 1959 with the accolade of being named Outstanding Male Graduate.

Barbara Foy said her husband’s connection to his alma mater never wavered over the years.

“He loved everything he did but, aside from family, his favorite joy was San Jose State and his fraternity,” she said, referring to Epsilon Chi Chapter of the ATO Fraternity.

Together, the Foys raised two sons, Matthew and Peter. In addition to his sons and their wives Siobhan and Christine, Foy is survived by four grandchildren: Cate, Jack, Declan, and Ashley.

His funeral service will be held at Morris Chapel on the University of the Pacific campus, 3601 Pacific Ave., Stockton, beginning at 11 a.m. Thursday, followed by a private committal.

Tudor, who will be wearing a bow tie Thursday in honor of his mentor, said of Foy: “Once you met him, you were his friend. … He just believed in Stockton and was such a great advocate for the community.”

— Contact reporter Joe Goldeen at (209) 546-8278 or Follow him at and on Twitter @JoeGoldeen.