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People of the Century 

The most important Inlander Northwesterners of the past 100 years

This portion of the original story was reprinted in the 20th Anniversary issue on Oct. 24, 2013. Tom Foley passed away the previous week at the age of 84.

LEADERS

Son of a prominent local attorney (who later became a judge), Tom Foley was more or less casting about for a direction in life when he settled on what must have seemed a flight of fancy. He decided to run for Congress in 1964 — against Republican Walt Horan, who had served the district since the 1940s. Foley barely got his registration fee to Olympia (he ran out of gas on the way), but he defeated Horan and started one of the great political careers in Northwest history.

As a junior congressman, Foley learned the ropes and became valued in the party as a good negotiator. As time when by, he continued to be returned to office by a largely Republican district, which he served by supporting agricultural issues, helping expand Fairchild Air force Base and by championing higher education.

Foley rose through the ranks in D.C., too, becoming chairman of the Agriculture Committee — a boon for his district — and finally, after the controversial departure of Jim Wright, he became the first Speaker of the House from the West — third in command of the nation behind the vice president. As Speaker, Foley was able to work effectively with Republican President George H.W. Bush, starting the ball rolling on reducing the federal deficit.

Foley has said that his years in Congress proved to him that compromise, not single-mindedness, is what makes the institution work — politics, he argues in his recent biography Honor in the House, should mean engaging the other party, not trying to embarrass it.

Foley and the Democratic majority he led were swept out of Washington in 1994, but Foley and his wife Heather, who served as his chief of staff for years, landed on their feet. After a few years with a D.C. law firm, he was appointed by President Bill Clinton as Ambassador to Japan.

The other LEADERS chosen: C.C. Dill, Clarence Martin, Lewis B. Schwellenbach, Joseph Garry, Eric and Ina Johnston, Eleanor and Jim Chase, Mary Lou and Scott Reed, Benjamin H. Kizer, Julia Davis Stuart, King Cole, Luke Williams Jr., Fr. Bernard Coughlin, John Osborn, Vivian Winston, Rod Clefton, Leonard Funk, Neal Fosseen, Margaret Leonard and John Roskelley.

EMPIRE BUILDERS

Remembered as the namesake of Albi Stadium, which helped build, Joe Albi was a sports supporter in Spokane from his earliest days. He helped found the Athletic Round Table (ART) in 1920 and served as its president until his death in 1962. Under his direction, the group gave about $1 million to local causes, along the way creating the first women’s golf championships in the U.S., building Esmerelda Golf Course and, of course, the stadium. Albi’s life of dedication and loyalty was perhaps reflected best at his funeral when more than 50 people served as honorary pallbearers.

The other EMPIRE BUILDERS chosen: Sister Peter Claver, W.H. Cowles, D.W. Twohy, Robert B. Paterson, D.C. Corbin, E.H. Stanton, George Washington Fuller, Henry J. Kaiser, Paul Sandifur Sr., Aubrey L. White, Fr. Wilfred P. Schoenberg, Louis Wasmer, Raymond A. Hanson, Merton Rosauer, W.H. Cowles 3rd, Ralph Berg, Duane Hagadone, Dennis and Ann Pence and Don Barbieri.

ARTISTS AND ENTERTAINERS

One of the great opera singing careers of the 1940s and ’50s was launched at the Spokane Conservatory of Music in 1935. That was when Patrice Munsel, then 12, started taking voice lessons from Charlotte Granis Lange. Five years later, she became the youngest member of the Metropolitan Opera Company in New York City. While Munsel’s career, which spanned three decades, kept her away from Spokane, she always voiced her pride over her hometown, and she returned to sing frequently.

The other ARTISTS AND ENTERTAINERS chosen: Bing Crosby, Patrick McManus, Vachel Lindsay, Stoddard King, Harold Balazs, Mourning Dove, Sherman Alexie, John Fahey, Ken Brooks, Kirtland Cutter, Harold C. Whitehouse, Charles Libby Sr., Jane Baldwin, Leno Prestini, Thomas Hampson, Bruce Ferden, Mike Kobluk, Firth Chew, Bob and Joan Welch.

NORTHWEST ORIGINALS

Although he got his start in the 19th century, famously running a waffle house out of a tent after the Great Fire of 1889, Louis Davenport really came into his own with the construction of his hotel. Although it came in phases, when completed in 1914, it was among the finest hotels in all the West, and visitors came from all over the globe to sample its hospitality. The sumptuous interiors, designed by Kirtland Cutter, transported visitors to China, Venice and Versailles; ice water was on tap 24 hours a day from the hotel’s own spring; and the change that was given out was always freshly polished. But Davenport was much more than just a hotelier; he was the city’s arbiter of style — a much-needed function as Spokane still had plenty of rough edges in those days.

The other NORTHWEST ORIGINALS chosen: May Arkwright Hutton, Willie Willey, Louis Vogel, Mary Gaiser, J Harlen Bretz, Henry Hart, David Guilbert, Sonora Smart Dodd, Carl Maxey, Ed Tsutakawa, Jay J. Kalez, Albert Commelini, Billy Tipton, Fred Murphy, Pauline Flett and Lawrence Nicodemus, Frances and Clarence Freeman, Don Kardong, Bobby Brett and John Stockton.

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