Less than 24 hours before a gunman killed Laurence Foley outside his residence in suburban Amman, Jordan, he was honored for the work that characterized much of his life: bringing relief to others.

"Larry strove to make the world a better place than he found it," said Andrew Natsios, who heads the U.S. Agency for International Development, where Mr. Foley had worked for 14 years. "No one in USAID embodied the spirit of compassion and brotherhood that underpins our efforts more than Larry Foley."

An assassin shot Mr. Foley eight times as he walked to his car at 7:30 a.m. Oct. 28.

A day earlier, Mr. Foley, 60, received an achievement award from his Amman embassy bosses, Ambassador Edward W. Gnehm and Toni Christiansen-Wagner, the local USAID director. Mr. Foley was a senior official in the Jordan office of the clearinghouse for government foreign aid and humanitarian assistance.

His voice trembling, Gnehm reviewed the accomplishments that earned his late friend the honor, including bringing clean drinking water to more Jordanians, rehabilitating health care centers and running a small-business loan service.

"Larry represents the very best in America -- a man dedicated to his country and to helping other people," Gnehm said.

In a statement, Secretary of State Colin L. Powell said that Mr. Foley "devoted his own life work to U.S. government service and to improving the lives of others through his work with the Agency for International Development."

Mr. Foley began his public service career with a stint in the Peace Corps in India in 1965. By the mid-1970s, the Boston native had moved to Oakland, Calif., and was counseling juvenile offenders. He was back at the Peace Corps in the Philippines in the early 1980s, helping to run its operations there.

He joined USAID in 1988 and worked in Peru, Bolivia and Zimbabwe. He formed lasting relationships with local officials and often kept in touch -- even vacationing in his former postings.

Gnehm quoted Mr. Foley's widow, Virginia, as saying that he felt at home in Jordan. After winning the award, he confided in her, "I am where I want to be, doing what I want to do."

A Jordanian neighbor, Um-Saeed Sbeih, said Mr. Foley and his wife would walk their dog every day and always wave and greet them in Arabic.

In addition to his wife, Mr. Foley's survivors include two daughters, Megan and Jeremie; a son, Michael; and two grandsons.