Deacon Andrew Foray taught and modeled respect

Deacon Andrew J. “Andy” Foray of St. Mary Parish in Bellevue was a deacon for 45 years, a Knight of Columbus for 67 years and a husband for 64 years.

Through all that time, he preached and modeled respect for every person, those who knew him said.

Deacon Foray died Feb. 16. He was 96.

A funeral Mass was held Feb. 22 at St. Mary with interment at Bellevue Cemetery.

Deacon Foray was ordained in the Archdiocese of Chicago in 1976 and began serving in the Archdiocese of Omaha and St. Mary when he moved to the area in 1992.

At St. Mary, he served on the altar and helped bring holy Communion to the sick, elderly and homebound, said Father Dennis Hanneman, his  former pastor at St. Mary, who is now retired and residing at Boys Town.

“He was always a very affable and friendly, outgoing presence around the church and around the places that he visited with Communion,” Father Hanneman said.

Bringing the Eucharist to the sick and homebound was his favorite part of being a deacon, along with preaching the Word of God and giving homilies, said his daughter Nancy Madison of Our Lady of Peace Parish at Offutt Air Force Base.

Madison is one of seven children born to Deacon Foray and his late wife, Helen, who died in 2013.

The couple “were very devoted to each other,” strong Catholics who knew “the importance of educating their children to be respectful to everyone, no matter who they were,” Father Hanneman said.

Deacon Foray didn’t like calling children “kids,” a word better suited for baby goats, he would say, his daughter related.

“You have to show everyone respect, including children,” her father taught.

Deacon Foray insisted that his children and grandchildren take off their hats when entering a church or a home. “You’re in someone else’s home, and this is how you show respect,” he taught.

He was born and raised in the Manhattan borough of New York City, and became an avid baseball fan, playing a version of the game called stickball, his daughter said.

After  dropping out of high school to help support his family, he received a letter from the Boston Red Sox, asking him to join the team for spring training.

But at nearly the same time, he received another letter, drafting him into World War II.

He never had the opportunity to pursue professional baseball, but he was a proud military veteran, Father Hanneman said.

Deacon Foray served three years in the Army Air Corps as a field hospital surgical tech. He landed on Omaha Beach three days after D-Day.

After the war, Deacon Foray earned a high school equivalency degree and went to college in Chicago to study at an aeronautical college.

His future wife, whom he met through a part-time job, helped him as he studied, Madison said.

Deacon Foray then went on to become a field test engineer for International Harvester in Chicago, where he worked for 37 years.

He was preceded in death by his wife, grandson Timothy Madison, father Henry Forejtt, mother Lillian Foray and sister Frances Palillo.

Survivors include children Andrew Foray (Beverly), Madison (Ken), Thomas Foray, Geraldine Bergamini, Joseph Foray, Judy Foray and James Foray; 15 grandchildren; 25 great-grandchildren; four great-great-grandchildren; niece Carol Fazio (Ed); and cousin George Foray.

Memorials were suggested for Sacred Heart Southern Missions at and the Columban Fathers.

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