Raymond “Ray” P. Foley
July 11, 1943 – October 27, 2023
In 1967 when Ray Foley went to work as a bartender and manager at The Manor in West Orange, NJ, little did he know that cocktails would continue to shape and define the next 56 years of his life. “Uncle Ray,” a beloved legend in the hospitality industry, passed away peacefully in Basking Ridge, NJ, on October 27, 2023, from complications of Parkinson’s disease, which he sustained in the Marine Corps at Camp Lejeune in the 1960’s. He recently celebrated his 80th birthday.
The Manor didn’t only shape Ray’s career, it’s also the place where in 1977 he met the love of his life, Jaclyn Wilson, who he married in 1982 in Bernardsville, NJ. The following year, Ray left The Manor to devote his full efforts to BARTENDER Magazine, which he began publishing a few years prior. Today, BARTENDER Magazine, Bartender.com, and Mixologist.com are still the only trade publications/websites of their kind targeted to bartenders and bartending, read and enjoyed by more than 250,000 people across the country. Ray was also the author of over a dozen cocktail books, including the popular “Bartending for Dummies,” now in its 6th edition, and one of the all-time best sellers in the “For Dummies” series. Additionally, Ray has developed and named thousands of cocktail recipes, including the world-famous “Fuzzy Navel,” which he created in 1985. Ray’s collection of cocktail recipe books (some dating back to the 1800’s) is one of the largest collections in the world and is now on display at the Galleria Campari Museum in Milan, Italy.
A longtime champion for bartenders and hospitality professionals, Ray was the founder of the BARTENDER “Hall of Fame” which recognizes and honors the best bartenders throughout the U.S. for their skill and service to their communities. He was also the founder of “The Bartenders’ Foundation,” a non-profit organization that raises and awards much-needed scholarship funds to bartenders to further their own or their children’s education.
Ray was generous and kind, and larger than life. With his quick wit, big heart, and Irish humor, he loved to entertain people and tell stories (as any good bartender should!) But his greatest joy in life was his family. He is survived by his wife and partner of 42 years Jaclyn, their son Ryan, daughter-in-law Cait Fallon, and granddaughter Nora. He also leaves behind his children Ray, Billy and Amy.
A funeral mass was held on Thursday, November 2, 2023 at 1pm at St. Rose of Lima Church immediately followed by a burial on the church grounds. Donations in Ray’s loving memory can be made to The Bartenders’ Foundation