On this day in 1899 Michael J. Heney lost an invaluable colleague. Hugh Foy literally worked himself to death on the construction of the railroad and died at the summit of pneumonia.
Foy was born on July 15, 1842 in Aroostok Maine. He was the construction foreman for White Pass. Seen above he is the only one smiling, on the far left. He died doing what he loved – read the obituary below.
“Skagway Alaskan Skagway, Alaska, Wednesday Morning, March 1, 1899
DEATH CLAIMS ANOTHER VICTIM
Hugh Foy Passed Away Early Yesterday Morning
COLD AND PNEUMONIA
A Busy Life Suddenly Ended-Would Not Quit Work Until He Reached the Summit of White Pass
Another home has been rendered desolate by the sudden visitation of death, and and those who have been so long associated with Hugh Foy will see him no more for he has passed away and hereafter there will be only his memory to remind the of a sturdy character full of noble attributes the like of which it will be hard to find.
Hugh Foy died at White Pass at 2:30 yesterday morning after an illness of only about three days and during none of which his condition was deemed critical. While suffering from pneumonia the direct cause of his death was valvular heart trouble which was aggravated by pneumonia. He was known as a man of wonderful endurance, notwithstanding his age, which was sixty-seven (crossed out, written fifty seven) years, and he would go out at any time of night and in all kinds of weather. It was in one of these when called out one night last week that he caught a severe cold which brought on pneumonia and ended fatally yesterday morning.
The dead man born in the state of Maine and leaves a wife and six (crossed out, written four) children the latter all grown up, three (crossed out, written two) boys and three (crossed out, written two) girls. Mr. Foy leaves considerable property, much of it in Seattle where he owned a beautiful home on Queene Ann Hill now occupied by his family.
Speaking of his dead friend Mr. Heney said that Mr. Foy has remarkable record as a builder of railroads. In fact that he had built more miles of railway than any man of his years on the continent. He certainly had no peer in his time, “I consider him the ablest man I ever met, and from a railroad standpoint the name of Foy is known all over the country. His work has been on many of the transcontinental lines, especially on the Great Northern, whose road he built in the Kootenai country.”
Mr. Foy was also closely identified with the San Francisco Bridge Company, and is said to own considerable stock in the company. He also has a son connected with the same company who lately returned from South Aemrica where he erected some machinery.
Mr. Foy is a man of great physical endurance and it is said of him that his body is full of scars from wounds received in wrecks, explosions and other casualties,. His valvular heart trouble is said to have its origion in these numerous shocks.
Some time ago Mr. Heney urged him to take a vacation of sixty days, telling him he had earned it, but Mr. Foy positively refused saying he would not leave until the road got to the Summit. A week ago last Monday he it was who welcomed the one hundred excursionists on the Summit of White Pass and did much to make it pleasant for all the guests on the occasion. Today he has passed away. The Summit for him has been reached and from the summit his record for integrity and worth will shine like a beacon light for the world of workers to emulate.
The remains were brought to Skagway yesterday morning on a special by Supintendent Whiting and Dr. Whiting, and taken to Peoples’ where they will be embalmed ready to be taken down to Seattle on the Rosalie, the same steamer that took down the remains of R. B. Jack.
The remains of Hugh Foy will be taken home by his son-in-law (crossed out, written brother) Frank Walters, who has been Mr. Foy’s assistant in the construction work of the road.”
from Skagway Alaskan quoted above; Graves addendum memorium in book; Minter