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Foley remembered for 'compassion'

By CNN State Department Producer Elise Labott

Laurence Foley, center, was presented an honor in October by Ambassador Edward Gnehm, right.

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The Jordanian information minister says that an American diplomat was shot and killed outside his residence in Amman, Jordan. (October 28)
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U.S. diplomat Laurence Foley was shot to death near his residence in Amman, Jordan, by a masked gunman. CNN's Jerrold Kessel reports (October 28)
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WASHINGTON (CNN) -- One day before he was murdered as he left for work, Laurence Foley received a "meritorious honour award" for his service as executive officer of the USAID mission in Amman, Jordan.

"Larry strove to make the world a better place than he found it," said Andrew Natsios, Foley's boss and administrator for the U.S. Agency for International Development.

"No one in USAID embodied the spirit of compassion and brotherhood that underpins our efforts more than Larry Foley," Natsios said.

Foley, who turned 60 this month, was shot to death outside his Amman home on Monday while his wife of 34 years looked on. (Full story)

His colleagues at the U.S. Embassy in Amman paid tribute to a respected colleague, whom they called a valued friend and an inspiration.

A public servant for close to 40 years, Foley started a career in foreign service as a Peace Corps volunteer in India in 1965. In 1980 he served as the Peace Corps' associate director in the Philippines.

Foley, a Boston native, also worked as a probation and rehabilitation officer in California.

For the past 17 years, Foley worked for USAID, first in Washington and then as executive officer in Bolivia, Peru and Zimbabwe before moving to Jordan in August 2000.

He held a bachelor's degree in education from the University of Massachusetts and a master's degree in rehabilitation counseling from San Francisco State University.

Secretary of State Colin Powell extended condolences on behalf of the State Department to Foley's family in a written statement.

"Laurence Foley had devoted his own life to U.S. government service and to improving the lives of others through his work with the Agency for International Development," Powell said. "He will be deeply missed."

Foley's colleagues at the American Foreign Service Association said they were "deeply saddened" by his "heinous murder."

"This brutal terrorist attack underlines the vulnerability of the men and women of the U.S. Foreign Service who advance our nation's vital interest around the globe," John Naland, president of the AFSA, said in a written statement.

Naland urged the Bush administration to commit additional resources to protecting the entire diplomatic community, including off-duty spots, and to protect USAID missions around the world.

In addition to his wife, Virginia, Foley left behind three children -- Megan, Jeremie and Michael -- and two grandsons.

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