Former House Speaker Tom Foley Dead at 84 Foley also served as US ambassador to Japan By Newser Editors and Wire Services Posted Oct 18, 2013 11:41 AM CDT 6 comments Comments Former Speaker of the US House of Representatives Tom Foley poses in his 5th Congressional District office in Spokane, Wash, in this June 1989 file photo. (AP Photo/Jeff T. Green, file) (Newser) – The former leader of the US House of Representatives, Tom Foley, has died at the age of 84 in his Washington home. Foley's wife, Heather, confirmed the death of the Washington state Democrat. Foley also served as US ambassador to Japan for four years during the Clinton administration. But he spent the most time in the House, serving 30 years, including more than five as speaker. He became the first speaker since the Civil War of the 1860s who failed to win re-election in his home district. Foley lost his seat in the "Republican Revolution" of 1994. The Democrat had never served a single day in the minority. John Boehner's reaction, via Twitter: "In Tom Foley's passing, the House loses one of its most devoted servants & the country loses a great statesman."