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In Memoriam - Mary Foley

April 22, 2019

In Memoriam - Mary Foley

Mary F. “Bunny” Foley, B.S., R.N., has passed away at the age of 90.

   Ms. Foley provided outstanding service to the Aerospace Medical Association (AsMA) for over 60 years. Her nickname was “Bunny,” which comes from her love of rabbits and she worked tirelessly for many years to rescue unwanted house rabbits and find them loving homes (often her own!). She was also passionate about the Ninety-nines, the International Organization of Women Pilots.
   Ms. Foley attended her first AsMA meeting in 1957 and joined AsMA in 1958, was elected a Fellow in 1977, and earned certification as an Aerospace Physiologist, also in 1977. She has been a member of the Aerospace Physiology Society since its inception and was its President from 1981-1982. She has served on AsMA’s History and Archives Committee, the International Activities Committee, the Membership Committee, and, for more than 25 years, the Scientific Program Committee, where, in the days before computers she would help to deconflict presentations, acting as our own personal computer.
   Ms. Foley earned a B.S. in Nursing in 1950 at St. Xavier College in Chicago, IL. From 1951-1952, she served as an Operating Room Nurse at the Mayo Clinic program at St. Mary’s Hospital in Rochester, MN. From 1952-1958, she taught Operating Room Techniques first at Madison General Hospital in Wisconsin, then at Mercy Hospital/St. Xavier College. From 1953-1958, she also taught Medical and Surgical Nursing at Mercy Hospital/St. Xavier College. In 1957, she attended the Transportation Geography course at the University of Chicago, attained a private pilot license, and joined the North Central Section of the Ninety-Nines. She went on to earn commercial and instrument ratings. She has flown Pipper Cub, Aeronca 7AC, Cessna 120, 150, 152, 170, 172, Beech Musketeer and Beech T-34, Navion and Stinson Voyager.
   From 1958-1960, Ms. Foley served in the USAF Nursing Corp, Active Duty, and was in the USAF Reserves from 1960-1985, retiring with the rank of colonel. She served at the Aviation Medicine Research Laboratory at Ohio State University in Columbus, and conducted research with Dr. Charles Billings on pulmonary function testing in an altitude chamber, effects of pressure changes on disease processes, and in-flight studies of professional pilot performance in response to oxygen/air mixtures. She was also a Mobilization Augmentee at Wright-Patterson AFB in Dayton, OH.
   In 1966, Ms. Foley joined the Cardiopulmonary Laboratory at Ohio State University, where she conducted research until 1969. Also during that time, from 1963-1968, she served in the USAF Space Program in her spare time, volunteering as a subject in Navy motion sickness studies on zero gravity flights, Báràny chair rotation at 0 G, and stomach awareness. From 1969-1971, she pursued Ph.D. studies in physiology at Pennsylvania State University. From 1973-1984, she worked on the Medical Monitoring Team at Springs Textiles in Fort Mill, SC, where she conducted pulmonary function testing of mill workers, smoking cessation efforts, a hypertension survey, and studies of genetic factors in hypertension. In 1984, she began serving as an Agency Nurse at Manpower and Assured Health in Gurnee, IL. More recently, she was researching women in aviation for a book and presented papers at numerous national and international meeting, and has 14 journal publications.
   Ms. Foley was a member of Silver Wings, AsMA, AsPs, SMA, International Women’s Air and Space Museum, AOPA, and  National Space Society. She was the recipient of the AsMA Marie Marvingt Award in 2009, for her contributions in aerospace physiology research, and the 2016 Mary T. Klinker Award for her dedication to advancing aerospace nursing, aerospace medicine and physiology, clinical health care, and industrial safety with her research and service.

   Services will be held April 30 with visitation from 9 to 11 followed by a short service at Marsh Funeral Home, 205 Cemetary Rd., Gurnee, IL.