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John M. Foehl Sr.

March 23, 2024

Private Family Arrangements

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Surrounded by loving family, John Melville Foehl Sr. passed away peacefully on March 23, 2024, aged ninety-two. John—better known as Jack to his friends and Gran’dad to his family—was born June 9, 1931, the eldest child to Harry and Irma Foehl of Rutherford, New Jersey. At Rutherford High School, Jack was remembered as a star in the classroom, voted “Best Student” by his peers, and as the co-captain of the color guard and editor of the school newspaper. Following graduation, he enrolled at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute to study architecture. In Troy, Jack became an active and enthusiastic member of the Theta Chi fraternity and the Rensselaer Glee Club, known on campus for his school spirit, his steadfast dedication to friends, his quick wit, and his unmistakable bass voice.

Upon graduation, Jack married his sweetheart Audrey (née Stone) on May 28, 1955, also of  Rutherford, after presenting her with his Theta Chi pin during their courtship. Jack and Audrey settled in Waterbury and later Cheshire, Connecticut and raised two children, John Jr. and Sandra, along with a coterie of well-loved and well-fed cats and dogs—a four-legged menagerie that always mysteriously expanded whenever Jack was away on a business trip. 

Embarking on his professional life, Jack worked for the Anaconda American Brass Company and later the Copper Development Association. There, he became an expert on copper piping and fitting as well as on the design and implementation of fire protection systems. 

Outside the office, Jack wore many hats, including his signature Austrian fedora. In Cheshire, he served on the Public Building Committee and as a Scoutmaster for the Boy Scouts of America Troop 92, whose camping trips inevitably seemed to coincide with a monsoon; as a coach to the Little League White Sox, whose team’s morale and camaraderie far exceeded their win-loss record; and as a welcoming hand at the Cheshire Congregational Church. There, Jack served as an usher, a deacon, and a member of the choir, where his famous singing voice would reach a resounding crescendo on the fourth verse of many a hymn, including his favorite, “Old Rugged Cross.” 

Beyond his musical affinities, Jack also honed his considerable talents in the fine arts—sketching, painting and photography—especially during family vacations to Cape Cod, where, as an inveterate early-bird, he would walk and sketch the beaches of the National Seashore each summer starting at sunrise.  

In 1981, Jack and Audrey moved to Massachusetts and settled in Medway. There, Jack continued his career in fire protection, first at FirePro and later at his own boutique firm, Foehl Associates. As a leading authority on sprinkler systems and a member of the National Fire Protection Association and fellow in the Society of Fire Protection Engineers, Jack traveled the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom aiding in both fire investigations and the design and implementation of fire prevention systems. Also while in Massachusetts, Jack again became an active parishioner, usher and deacon, this time at the Holliston Congregational Church, a familiar face during the passing of the peace, and once more, a cherished—and sonorous!—presence in the choir.  

Nothing, however, was more important to Jack than family, and his presence as “Gran’dad” was constant and abiding, his true calling, the role in life he treasured most, unwavering through decades of joys and concerns alike. Predeceased by his beloved wife Audrey and brother Bobby, Jack is survived by his siblings Sandra and Henry; his two children, John Jr. and Sandra; his four grandchildren, Morgan, Patrick, Cameron and Meghan; and his five great grandchildren, Vera, Luke, Noah, Sarah and Clara.  

Jack’s memory will forever be a blessing; to know him was to know goodness, a man who always did the right thing, no matter how popular, no matter how difficult; a man who would never be rushed at the dinner table; a man who read every biography of Abraham Lincoln ever written and could recite the Gettysburg Address by heart; a man who filled out Red Sox score cards by hand; a man whose laughter was deeply felt and deeply infectious.  

 He will be dearly missed.  

 Safe home, Jack. Safe home.