1. 'Big Tom'

    Former House Speaker Tom Foley Dies

    Former House Speaker Tom Foley jokes about the size of the letters placed on the federal courthouse during a dedication ceremony renaming the building in his honor Friday, April 6, 2001, in Spokane, Wash. (AP Photo/Jeff T. Green)

    Jeff T. Green/AP

    Former speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Tom Foley has died at the age of 84, his wife confirmed Friday. The son of a judge from Spokane, Washington, Foley considered the 30 years he represented Eastern Washington in Congress as his greatest achievement. In 1994, the Democrat became the first Speaker of the House to lose a reelection vote in 134 years. But he made a comeback as U.S. ambassador to Japan. He was known for his stoicism and dedication to his work as well as his ability to laugh at himself.

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