To the editor:
With the passing of my longtime friend Charley Foley, I must tell more about him. He was a Springfield College graduate and a confident physical education teacher. He was a stickler for detail, setting high standards for his physical education classes.
In the mid-1950s I was hired by Walter Sheridan to be his line coach and also to teach physical education in the elementary schools. Charley was the high school teacher and freshman football coach. He was so helpful to me in organizing the programs for the grade schools. We didn’t have gymnasiums then. When we did indoor classes, they had to be done in the classrooms. Charley helped me teach a lot with rhythmic exercises, which was ideal for small spaces. We did a lot with music and dancing.
Charley was a jogger then and got me doing the same. He had read how helpful it was for the body. He was also connected to the YMCA working summers at their camp in Trickling Falls. He had to take two summers off in order to complete his master’s program, so he asked me to fill in for him. I had to attend classes at Springfield College to get certified as an instructor, which was a direction I hadn’t previously envisioned going. I was always grateful to Charley for giving me that opportunity.
My first year with Walter Sheridan we had a tremendous football player on our team. Luther Reed was a large, strong player. Opposing teams feared him because he hit so hard. That was Luther’s junior year. At the end of that year his family moved to Lynn. His father was to minister in a larger church. Of course, Walter wanted Luther to stay and finish out at NHS. There wasn’t any place for him to stay, so Charley came through and had him live at his house. Charley had a wife and two children. The house wasn’t that large, so it must have been a burden, plus Luther was a large person with a good appetite. He lived there for the entire senior year and then moved on to Lynn.
Walter always said how grateful he was to Charley and so was I for all the help he had given us.
When Walter moved on to coach Salem High School, he took me with him. The Newburyport School Committee decided to move Charley into my position as the elementary school physical education instructor. At the time Charley decided to take a job in White Plains, N.Y. After a few years he came back to teach around here.
It was so sad visiting Charley at the nursing home. He couldn’t hear very well, so all I could do was give him some exercises to do with me. Charlie was a great physical education teacher as well as a good man. I’ll always be grateful to him.
Robert “Boots” Chouinard