James Foley

August 19, 1945April 29, 2021

James P. Foley, also known as Jim or the Dude, passed away peacefully in his home surrounded by his wife and children on April 29, 2021. He was 75 years old and married almost 53 years to his beloved wife, Cindy Foley. He is survived by his son PJ Foley (m. Diane Foley), Matthew Foley (m. Amanda Foley and children Coraline and Georgia), and daughter Katie Allen (m. Joe Allen and children Ki, Haddie, and Phin).

Jim was born in August 1945 in Martinsville, IN, the youngest of four brothers. He grew up with a love of cars and that influenced his life path.

After completing high school in Martinsville, he went to college where he met his wife at Purdue University. Upon graduation, they married and moved to North Carolina and pursued and completed his Master’s degree at NC State.

While living in North Carolina, their first son was born. They also discovered their love for Sunset Beach, a place they would come back to and vacation with family throughout their life.

Jim’s career took the family to Missouri, where his other two children were born. Wanting to find more professional opportunities and a desire to bring the extended family closer together led to a move to his home state of Indiana. Jim found his footing again as a researcher at Purdue and began schooling. He followed this all the way to the top, achieving a PhD in Industrial Engineering.

With the newly minted PhD came new opportunities, but not one that kept the family in Indiana. Finding a new career with Ford, he moved to Michigan. He became a notable name in Human Factors Engineering, traveling the world for work, taking part in many conferences where he focused on human-car interaction and driver distraction.

After all the children moved from home, Jim ended up taking a job in Virginia, just outside of Washington DC. The birth of their first grandchild precipitated a move back to Michigan: this time with Toyota. Once again he could be closer to the growing family, and to their grandson, with whom he shared his love of cars.

The career at Toyota had many notable accomplishments. Among them were co-developing patents within the field of automotive safety, and helping to shape the Collaborative Safety Research Center at Toyota. They formed this organization with the goal of sharing safety research across the whole automotive industry.

He retired from Toyota at age 70, and fulfilled the lifelong dream of living at Sunset Beach. While there, his favorite pastime was walking his dog, Walter, on the beach. He continued to consult for Toyota until the very end.

Jim, or as his grandchildren call him, “Dude”, will be greatly missed for his intelligence, kindness, generosity and humor. All who encountered his presence felt welcomed. May he Abide in peace. John 15:4.

You may offer online condolences at

White Funeral and Cremation Service, 3660 Express Drive, Shallotte, North Carolina.


No public services are scheduled at this time. Receive a notification when services are updated.


James Foley

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Reates Curry

May 9, 2021

Our family has fond memories of Jim throughout his years at Ford, where I first met him, through when he retired. Jim was always kind hearted, thoughtful, funny, mild mannered and very much a family man. He became "Uncle Jim" to our family on a trip to 2004 HFES Conference in New Orleans, where I ended bringing a nursing 5-month old with me - alone. My son was adopted by many during that conference so that I could attend sessions and present a couple times. At a colleagues dinner in the French Quarters, Jim was happy to keep my son on his lap most of that evening and they became fast buddies. Hence, the name "Uncle Jim." Over the years, we always enjoyed catching up with Jim and hearing about his pride and joy - Cindy, PJ, Matt, Katie, spouses and grands. You were indeed the apple of his eye and the wind beneath his wings. He brought that same joy, knowledge and wisdom to everyone whose life he touched. Rest in peace, my friend - job well done! You will be missed!