Evan and Chad Foley on Vendovi Island, 2012

A Death in the Family

The San Juan Preservation Trust recently lost a dear friend and colleague. Chad Foley, who served as our Vendovi Island caretaker for two years (2011 and 2012), passed away suddenly on July 4th. Chad, who just turned 50 in April, leaves behind his 15-year-old son, Evan, and his former wife (and longtime SJPT staff member) Kathleen Foley.

Following career turns at Microsoft and San Juan County’s Public Works Department, Chad eagerly accepted the challenge of caretaking on a remote island. A licensed captain and skilled handyman, Chad quickly learned how to maintain and operate the island’s complicated off-the-grid facilities and systems while readying the island for its next phase as a publicly accessible nature preserve. He was instrumental to the success of the “Campaign to Save Vendovi Island”, our fundraising campaign to pay back a $3.4 million loan we needed to purchase the island. Known for greeting visitors at the dock with a smile and hearty welcome, he never missed an opportunity to plant a subtle reminder of the urgency of our fundraising effort.

In his final days, Chad reflected on the joy he felt while living on Vendovi, where he played a prominent role in an important chapter of this organization’s history. Chad touched many of us with his warmth, vibrancy and generous spirit, and we all extend our deepest condolences to Evan and Kathleen, to his family, and to the many friends he has left behind.