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September 21. 2014 8:32PM

Diane Foley is a lady of extraordinary elegance

THE LADY of the Little House, who in her own right knows a thing or three about all things elegant, used the term to describe Diane Foley the other night.

We were watching Fox News’ Greta Van Susteren interviewing Diane and her husband, Dr. John Foley, about their son, James.

As most everyone in the United States now knows, but particularly here in New Hampshire, James Foley was held captive for two years, tortured, and then brutally murdered by an evil bunch known as ISIS.

What had happened to their son was unthinkable and unspeakable, but the Foleys, of Rochester, have thought and spoken about it and answered questions about it, repeatedly, with a quiet dignity and composure that astounds many of us.

“Elegant,’’ repeated the Lady of the House, listening and watching Diane Foley.

“Characterized by dignified richness and grace,’’ reads the dictionary definition, and by “a sense of propriety and refinement.’’

Check and double-check, I thought as I sat with Union Leader Executive Editor Trent Spiner in Diane Foley’s living room last Wednesday. It was late in the afternoon, almost dinnertime, but she had agreed to see us to speak about her son and particularly about the foundation that she and John Foley are trying to establish in his memory.

She was gracious and gave us a lot of her time, apologizing once or twice only for “Missy,’’ her 21-year-old house cat who bawled for attention from somewhere else in their home.

I knew the Foleys were Catholics. We know some of the same priests and I had seen and read of the vigils held at Our Lady of the Holy Rosary Church in Rochester and elsewhere. And I knew of the telephone call of condolence they had received from the Pope.

But I wondered whether their faith had been strengthened or changed — or lessened — by what they had just gone through.

Diane answered that it was her faith that was sustaining her every day.

“I don’t know what I would do without it,’’ she told me.

But more than that, she turned the focus back to her oldest son, explaining that his was the greater faith.

James, she said, was given an extraordinary strength from God in order to endure what he had to endure, not only at the end but during repeated torture while held captive. She has no doubt, she said, that Jim is now with God.

And I have no doubt that God is helping the elegant mother from Rochester.

Write to Joe McQuaid at or on Twitter @deucecrew.

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