Written by Russ Ray
John Foti met his future wife Mirinda while both were working summer jobs at the Lake Placid, NY, Country Club. The game of golf would follow them for the rest of their married life. In many respects they lived their lives in unusual parallel, each having notable careers in the Foreign Service, hers after graduating from Kent State University and his following volunteer work abroad.
Leaving the University of Georgia with an undergraduate degree, John went on to earn his master's degree at Cornell University. His academic major in Agriculture Economics equipped him with a foundation that would later appeal to the State Department as it staffed to meet the emerging unrest in Southeast Asia. Economic assistance, along with agriculture planning, became central to our country's need to build diplomatic relations.
But something else came first. Like so many adventuresome young college graduates, John signed up with the Peace Corps and spent two years in Somalia, which piqued his interest in working overseas. One has to admire John's vision, knowing what we know today about the country of Somalia.
As a working couple with different assignments, John and Mirinda put emphasis on family stability and asked the State Department for postings that would last a minimum of five years. Foremost in their minds was a consideration for the schooling of young sons, John and Michael.
―No wives allowed. ‖ So went the rule for assignments in Vietnam. Leaving Mirinda behind in Bangkok, John would spend the next four-and-a-half years with USAID as it worked with the locals to plan community development. Following this, John and Mirinda served in the Philippines, Thailand, and Egypt, with interim stops in Washington.
John retired in 1994 and - guess what - took over ownership of the Las Vegas Golf and Tennis store in Potomac Mills, VA, which he subsequently sold. Hearing the call of the greens of Florida, they moved to Naples where, between rounds of golf, they found time to volunteer for Habitat for Humanity and Baby Basics.
Mirinda passed away five years ago. Sons John and Michael and their families live nearby in Northern Virginia. Encouraged by them and by the family of Lew Allen, we now have a new neighbor.
Welcome, John Foti!