I first met Linda when a friend brought her to my studio in Philadelphia and she saw her articles pinned on my wall. We became friends. I never missed a Designers' Saturday after that and her books still remain in my library. The last time I saw Linda was when we had dinner together at 114 S 12th Street in Philadelphia. The day before we viewed the Comcast Center and the new Paint Brush Sculpture at the PA. University of the Arts.
Linda Foa was the long-time executive director of Designer’s Saturday, which was considered strategically important to the furniture design community. She facilitated and coordinated the assembly of over 100 participating showrooms and propelled Designer’s Saturday into an international event. Ms. Foa and Brooke Astor were also founders of Furnish a Future that still gives furniture and household items to families that are homeless and moving into unfurnished housing.
As the director of marketing for the Architects and Designers Building for the last 12+ years, Ms. Foa is given much credit for increasing occupancy from 70% to 100%+ for the building’s 35+ luxury brand furniture showrooms. She was cited and awarded for her contribution to marketing by Merchandise Mart Properties, and was beloved and sought after by the tenants in “her” A&D building. By her interest in others, her style, and her take no prisoners demeanor, you knew when she was “in the room.”
Ms. Foa was also an important editor at Fairchild’s Home Furnishings Daily and HFN. While rearing her children, she wrote several cover lead articles for New York Magazine, articles for the New York Times Style Section, and co-authored Kids’ Stuff, the definitive furnishings guide to children’s furniture and home environments (Pantheon/Random House), and wrote the book, Furniture for the Workplace (PBC).
In addition, Ms. Foa coordinated her spouse Conrad Foa’s two political campaigns for NY State Senate. She was a long-time Democratic District Leader for the Upper East Side and Chaired the Annual Gala for the Lexington Democratic Club for many years.
Her legacy includes much of the credit for creating, directing, and sustaining crucial family values for Conrad, their sons Barrett and Justin, and his sons Max and Luke. Linda kept bonds with her brother, Rudy Rimanich and his family, her mother-in-law, Marie Foa, and the Dickman and Pecorella families.
She and Conrad were both born in Wickersham Hospital (across the street from Bloomingdale’s); Linda was born there 51 weeks after Conrad. Linda’s family resided in Jamaica Estates, NY, where she graduated from The Mary Louis Academy. Linda often referred happily to her university days at Parsons/NYU where she pursued a dual degree in Fashion and Fine Arts. Even at Parsons, Linda’s beauty and astute sense of style were evident, and are still legendary. Her natural beauty, slim figure, blue eyes, and straight, long, naturally blonde hair gave pause to many.
For 50 years, Linda and Conrad did everything (charity work, politics, business support, travel) together. They really were inseparable. Her children, Justin (fifth generation and most successful, owner and CEO of the 155 year-old international insurance brokerage firm, Foa & Son) and Barrett (respected, multi-talented actor, singer, dancer and lead in two TONY Award-winning shows on Broadway, and currently an eight year series-regular on CBS’s NCIS Los Angeles) give testimony to her mothering skills.
For those who knew, loved, and admired her, Ms. Foa leaves a void that is impossible to fill. She died of breast cancer that metastasized into her brain and lungs. She died the way she wanted to die: peacefully, at home, in the loving arms of her family. Linda was an intelligent, confident, stylish and caring force of nature who will live in the hearts of her family all who knew her.