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William James Foran
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Birth: Oct. 28, 1919
Death: Oct. 10, 2009

William James "Bill" Foran, 89, died Saturday, Oct. 10, 2009.

Memorial services will be at 1 p.m. Tuesday in Westminster Presbyterian Church with the Rev. Jeff Conway officiating. Private family burial will be in Llano Cemetery by Schooler Funeral Home, 4100 S. Georgia St.

William James "Bill" Foran left this world to join his beloved wife of 61 years, Roberne, Oct. 10, 2009, just a few days short of his 90th birthday. His quick wit, keen mind, deep loyalty, work ethic, sense of duty and strong leadership will be missed by his family and many, many friends.

Bill was born Oct. 28, 1919, in Rock Valley, Iowa, to James and Inez Foran. At Bill's birth, Bill's father promised Bill's mother he would relocate his pipeline construction permanently to one town, allowing his family to quit a more nomadic life. As a man who was true to his word, the elder Foran soon settled in Amarillo. A few years later, a brother, Joseph Donald, was born in Amarillo, completing the family unit. Neither the business nor the family has moved since.

Upon graduating from Amarillo High School in 1937, Bill started at Texas A&M in the class of 1942, studying for a civil engineering degree. He was in the Corps of Cadets and the famous Texas A&M Band. When World War II broke out, Bill and several classmates, who became his lifelong friends, were activated and commissioned in the Army together on May 15, 1942. Bill was assigned to the 47th Field Artillery Battalion, 5th Armored Division and saw action in the European Theater, including the Battle of the Bulge and Huertgen Forest. His unit was the lead division in the breakout at St. Lo by Gen. George Patton's 3rd Army on the Normandy beachhead; Bill himself fired the first artillery rounds across the Rhine River on March 3, 1945, near Krefelt, Germany, and on V-E Day his division was at the Elbe River, the closest Allied division to Berlin. Bill's decorations included the Bronze Star, the Luxembourg Croix de Guerre, all five battle stars for the Northern European Campaign, Croix du Combattant Voluntaire and the Korean Service Medal.

With WWII over, Bill returned to Texas to marry his high school sweetheart, Roberne Wilson, of Amarillo, who proved to an able and supporting life partner for Bill's many activities and endeavors. After completing his degree at Texas A&M in 1947, Bill and Roberne returned to Amarillo and started growing a family and business. The Foran brothers refounded Foran Construction Co., but the growth of this business was soon interrupted by the Korean War. Bill was called up from the Army Reserve into active duty in the Corps of Engineers, 950th Engineer Aviation Group, for two years, during which time his brother Don kept the business going at home.

With his second war service over, Bill and Roberne were able to put down lasting roots in Amarillo and return to his duties at Foran Construction. The Foran brothers built the pipeline company into a thriving partnership, working in eight states and more than 116 communities, many multiple times. The business was successful because of the brothers' hard work, their dedication to running a company on the basis of Rotarian 4-Point Test, and the fact that they could count many of their employees, competitors and clients as enduring friends. In 1986, he and his brother sold Foran Construction, and yet, both stayed quite busy together in the retirement years carrying on their 60-year family partnership with their remaining business interests and various civic activities.

Bill and Roberne's family eventually grew to include five children who kept their parents very busy attending sporting events, plays and many extracurricular events. Later, they drew pleasure in the many accomplishments of their grandchildren. Bill was proud of his Irish roots and held an Irish passport and Irish citizenship. He and Roberne traveled widely and often were joined by other friends and family. He also was proud to administer the military oath of office to two grandchildren who are active duty commissioned officers today.

Bill had several coffee groups, and he was more than willing to share coffee, donuts and his thoughts with anyone. He was a faithful Rotarian and a 50-year member of the Westminster Presbyterian Church. At Westminster, he served as deacon, trustee and superintendent of the Sunday school.

Bill was a committed citizen, believing in sharing his time and talents with others. He served as chairman of the State Board of Health and chairman of the Regional Board of Health; state president of the Associated General Contractors of America; one of the founders of the Texas Health Foundation, the West Texas A&M Foundation and the Jim Foran Memorial Fund for Youth. He served as president of Amarillo Rotary Club, Amarillo YMCA, Llano Cemetery board, Amarillo Club, Goodwill Industries, the International Club, the Westerners and the Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum. Bill was named a Texas Admiral and a Kentucky Colonel. He served as the Amarillo chairman of the Dolph Briscoe for Governor Campaign and was a founding shareholder of both Matador Petroleum Corp. and Matador Resources Co.

Bill and Roberne established Presidential Scholarships at Texas A&M University and West Texas A&M University. Bill served on the boards of the Amarillo Chamber of Commerce, Amarillo Economic Development Commission, Matador Petroleum Corp. and the State Joint Senate-House Committee on Hazardous Waste as a public member. He also served three terms as foreman of the Potter County Grand Jury.

He was preceded in death by his wife, Roberne Wilson Foran; and a son, James Robert Foran.

Survivors include a brother and his wife, Joseph Donald and Mozelle Foran; and four children, Ronda Foran Kelly of Houston, Joseph William Foran and wife Nancy of Dallas, Donda Foran Thomasson and husband John of Beaumont and Wendy Foran Howard and husband Brian of Chicago. He is the grandfather of 11 and great-grandfather of three more.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorials be to on of the community organizations Bill was involved with.

Sign the online guest book at

Amarillo Globe-News, Oct. 11, 2009

Llano Cemetery
Randall County
Texas, USA
Plot: Section 1S Lot 201 Space 3
Created by: Kenneth D. Bogard
Record added: Oct 11, 2009
Find A Grave Memorial# 42966617
William James Foran
Added by: Walter Dunn
William James Foran
Added by: Walter Dunn
William James Foran
Added by: Walter Dunn
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