By Bill Hudson

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — In Calvary Cemetery winds a short escort to a man laid to rest a century ago.

1919 was a time when traffic was but a whisper, but wearing a badge was still dangerous and deadly.

This graveside remembrance by family was to a grandfather and great-grandfather they never knew.

Sherburne County Sheriff’s Deputy Ed Foley was slain on Sept. 28, 1919 by a gang of suspected bank robbers.

“We knew all of this through the newspaper and what our parents told us, but it’s just a joy and thrill to know that it is revived again,” Sharon Pedercini, the deputy’s granddaughter said.

Foley was just 36, married and a father of two, when he was felled by a desperado’s bullet. The Studebaker sedan the suspects were driving pulled up to a roadblock that Foley was guaring on Elk River’s old “uppertown” bridge.

It is a tragic account that still brings grandson Pat Foley to tears.

“They shot him and hit him in the carotid artery and he went down right away,” Foley said.

Although the story was local legend, it eventually became forgotten in time. A piece of county history that was buried by the decades that passed.

In 1993, a new concrete bridge replaced the river crossing that was being erected at the time the killing happened. It contains a bronze plaque on the east end dedicating the bridge in Foley’s honor.

But in recent years, Sherburne County officials decided that a sacrifice so great deserved much more than just a name on brass. Those efforts came to fruition on Monday.

With Foley’s relatives seated on chairs and deputies lining the walls of the sheriff’s department lobby, a fitting and lasting tribute to Ed Foley was dedicated.

It features an enlarged mural of the original Elk River Star News story of the slaying that occurred in the darkness of that fateful September Sunday, so long ago. There are also photos of Foley along with his deputy’s badge and service weapon, a large and heavy shotgun.

Added Sherburne County Sheriff, Joel Brott, “It will stand the test of time. We welcome the public to come in and take a look, read the article and see what’s on display in remembrance of Ed Foley.”

Sadly, Foley’s slayers were never apprehended and slipped a series of manhunts and searches.

But what remains 100 years later is a tasteful and much-deserved memorial. A lasting tribute to a man’s sacrifice given protecting law and order — and a name no one should ever forget.

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