Chuck Foley, whose Twister party game brought shoeless strangers achingly close to one another and made even the most spirited rounds of Scrabble seem comparatively tame, has died. He was 82.
The inventor, who held 97 patents, died July 1 in a care facility in St. Louis Park, Minn., family members said Wednesday. He had Alzheimer's disease.
Foley came up with a wide variety of gizmos and games, including a hand-launched toy helicopter, soft-tipped darts, plastic toy handcuffs and "un-du," a liquid adhesive remover used by librarians, people who keep scrapbooks, and anyone who wants to lift an uncanceled stamp off a used envelope.
Born Sept. 6, 1930, in Lafayette, Ind., Charles Frederick Foley displayed his inventiveness early. When he was 8, he came up with a latch that would automatically close a gate to keep livestock penned on the family farm.
After high school, he worked on a Ford assembly line and saw many possibilities for innovation. When he equipped his 1952 Plymouth Belvedere with homemade, tricolor taillights — green for speeding up, orange for slowing down and red for stopping — the police officer who cited him also congratulated him.
He is survived by six sons and three daughters; two sisters and two brothers; and 16 grandchildren.
He never stopped inventing, Mark Foley said. At a family Thanksgiving dinner in Dallas a few years ago, he stared into the backyard swimming pool, intently watching a motorized pool-cleaning device on the bottom.
"You know," he said, "if you put a crazy image of a shark with earphones on that thing, it would be fun and cool and people would love it!"