- Written by Monica Foran
‘Hometown boy made good’
Born July 18, 1906, Joseph Anthony Foran’s early life can be most accurately described as “ordinary”. The Foran family moved back and forth in a quest for an apartment that was less expensive than the last.
As a result, Joe was never in one town long enough to learn much in school. Besides, he was too tired from the jobs that he had by the age of 9 to care much about learning. Joe finally quit school at age 15 and went to work in a meat market to pay off the family’s accumulated debt at the store for the family of eight.
Joe’s Aunt Gertrude was a teacher encouraged Joe, no matter what anyone thought of his abilities, to read and acquire knowledge. He was fortunate as well to have “Doc” Pearson, at The Milford Preparatory School, befriend him.
Joe was tutored and tested with the goal to enter West Point. Even though Joe did not have a high school diploma, he received the highest score. Joe was disappointed that the appointment had gone to someone whose family had more influence and stature. Yale became the next aim. Joe passed the entrance exam at the age of 26, and in the fall of 1933, in the midst of the Great Depression, he entered Yale eight years older than most of his comrades. The friendships he made were life-long, and sustained him as he grew old.
In September of 1937 he came to teach in his beloved Milford. He had eleven years of working with children, parents, teachers, and administrators, and loved his work.
In the summer of 1946, then Superintendent of Schools Lester Maddocks died very suddenly, and Foran was promoted to Superintendent.
Imagine going from a high school dropout to becoming the head of the school system! Joe’s blue eyes did sparkle when he talked about how he felt on the first day in the “boss’s seat.”
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