“I listened to Father Jake’s sermons as an undergraduate and subsequently had the chance to observe his actions when he was a teacher in our medical school,” said Norman J. Beauchamp Jr., MSU executive vice president for health sciences. “Father Jake truly epitomized 1 John 2:6 ‘the one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked.’ Father Jake’s words and lived values were an inspiration to a generation of care givers; a calling to be values-driven and to lead with compassion.”
MSU Athletics spiritual adviser
For more than 40 years, Foglio had been a fixture in the MSU athletics community, serving as team chaplain for the football team and spiritual adviser to many leaders within MSU Athletics.
“Father Jake Foglio was an inspiration and guidepost to thousands of Spartans and many, many members of our community,” said Bill Beekman, MSU Athletics director. “His was a life of grace, compassion and selflessness. Whether he was teaching medical students, mentoring student-athletes or simply being a friend, the power of his commitment to others will live on in the thousands of lives he touched.”
MSU men’s basketball coach Tom Izzo had known Foglio for many years and shared his condolences.
“It was with great sadness that I learned of the passing of Father Jake Foglio, a man of great faith who cared so much not only for Michigan State University, but for our students and our student-athletes, especially our football team, during my years here,” Izzo said. “He was a person whom you could confide in, and who cared for you and your well being, regardless of who you were. He loved you before you even got a chance to know him. He was as real as they come. Although his stature was small, his impact was great and his support was unwavering.
“Father Jake was just such a passionate, intriguing and caring person. He was a great friend to Lupe and me, and our entire family will miss him dearly. One thing is for certain, however, he’s now up in Heaven wearing his Green and White with a warm, endearing smile on his face.”
Education and early career
Born in 1929, Foglio grew up in New Rochelle, New York, where he played football and baseball as a kid. He first came to MSU as a student in 1948. At the time, his calling was a career in radio.
“I didn’t want to be a priest. I always knew I had to be a Christopher to carry Christ, but I wanted to do it as a human being and have a family and stuff,” Foglio said during an interview in 2016. “My mother gave me a line that said, ‘Radio gives wings to words and music.’ And I was like, ‘Yeah!’ So, I was going to do it through radio.”
Foglio worked at the MSU radio station, WKAR, as a student and graduated from MSU with a bachelor’s degree in communication in 1951. His first job out of college was at WTVB in Coldwater, Michigan, but it didn’t last long. He was drafted into the United States Marine Corps during the Korean War and spent two years on active duty in the Atlantic Ocean. In 1957, he graduated from Sacred Heart Seminary in Detroit and was ordained a Roman Catholic priest in 1961.
In active ministry for more than 50 years, Foglio served St. John Student Parish near MSU’s campus since 1970. He obtained a master of divinity degree from St. John’s Provincial Seminary in 1981 and a doctor of ministry degree from St. Mary’s University in 1985.
Condolences and service
Family and friends are asked to share memories of Father Jake by submitting a form on the Foglio Chair of Spirituality website.
On Monday, Oct. 12, there will be a private Mass of Resurrection and Celebration of Christian Burial for immediate family and fellow priests only. The Mass will be recorded and available for viewing at 2 p.m. and onward, with a link provided at www.stjohnmsu.org.
There will be a public community event to honor the "Life, Legacy, Love and Laughter of Father Jake" to be announced at a later date.
This piece was originally featured on the College of Arts and Letters website.