In the late afternoon of last Thursday, Jan. 18, the Skyline Room filled with friends, family and others who were impacted by the life of Robert Foye.
Foye was a 19-year-old sophomore studying business administration and political science when he passed away on Jan. 13. He was widely known and respected throughout the Trinity community.
Foye died as a result of experimentation with a whippit, a small container of nitrous oxide that is intended for use in whipped cream charging bottles but is often used as an inhalant. Foye’s father, Robert Foye Sr., has advised students to exercise caution around substances.
“I would like to communicate to students that any drug or even legal substances which are not considered a drug can have severe effects on your health or cause death when misused,” Foye Sr. wrote in an email interview. “In Robert’s case, he was experimenting with whipped cream chargers, which are perfectly legal. They accidentally killed him. He would not have thought in his wildest dreams that could happen. But this grey area of legal substances used the wrong way can be just as harmful as illegal or prescription drugs. Please think twice before ever experimenting with something you should not.”
Attendees of Foye’s memorial service were able to mingle with Foye’s parents, brother and uncle. The service then began with a welcome from David Tuttle, dean of students, who thanked everyone for being there and expressed his sympathy to Foye’s family.
Several friends from the Trinity community spoke about Foye and his positive impact on their lives.
Isaac Bartolomei, sophomore mathematical finance major, had been close with Foye since they both arrived at Trinity as first-years. Bartolomei noted that Foye was a relentlessly supportive friend and an optimist, even in hard times.
“He was someone who, if you encountered him, you would be struck by how little ill will he had toward people. There would be situations where everyone else was upset and he was positive. He was always an encouraging person and he encouraged his friends,” Bartolomei said.
Junior theatre and human communication double major Nico Champion, who was Foye’s resident advisor last year, said that Foye possessed a myriad of positive adjectives he was always using to describe the world around him.
“I have pretty vivid memories of me asking about an event he was at or a piece of clothing he was wearing, and he would respond with the most gregarious adjective he could think of to describe everything,” Champion said.
Champion remembered that Foye was the only person in the hall who asked him how he was doing during required one-on-one chats.
“‘How’s your life?’ ‘How’s school?’ ‘How are you doing?’ [he would ask]. You know, a lot of people ask that and they don’t really mean it. It was always clearly a genuine question [with Robert]. He was clearly concerned with how I was doing,” Champion said.
Foye’s father, Robert Foye Sr., closed the service with a speech about his son. Foye Sr. expressed that Foye was an intelligent and gregarious person who traveled widely, made friends in countries across the world and frequently beat his father at basketball.
“He’d love to do any kind of ad hoc sport thing. He was interested in any sport that other people were playing, and he could could get involved in,” Foye Sr. said in an earlier interview with the Trinitonian. “I’ve never met anybody that didn’t like him.”
Overall, the memorial service was a respectful and well-attended celebration of Foye’s life. Foye’s family was comforted by the immense amount of love in the room.
“We really enjoyed the entire service and saw so much caring, love and support for Robert. He was loved dearly and will be missed dearly,” Foye Sr. wrote.
Now, it will surely be difficult to fill the hole that Foye left in the Trinity community, but it may be best done by viewing the world with optimism as Foye did. Those interested may also donate to the Robert Lawrence Foye Scholarship Foundation, which was created in Foye’s memory and will allow financially limited students to attend Trinity.
“Funds that people donate in this very long-term foundation will go towards scholarships at Trinity for hungry, proactive future students who maybe could not have gone to Trinity otherwise,” Foye Sr. wrote. “We thought it was a good cause and a great way to remember Robert.”
with additional reporting by Kathleen Creedon, news editor