Robert James “Bob/RJD” Daly, Veteran of the United States Navy, entered into rest on Sunday, January 27, 2019 after suffering a second heart attack in his Hinsdale, NY home. He was 76.
Highly skilled in machine repair, Bob was the supervising millwright responsible for the operation and maintenance of a multi-million dollar Linde De-Surfacer during his almost 19 year tenure with the Bethlehem Steel Corporation in Lackawanna, N.Y.
His extensive knowledge and exemplary talents in the electro-mechanical field included a proficiency in arc and TIG welding, brazing, fabrication and design; single and three phase motor repair; repair and maintenance of hydraulic and pneumatic equipment as well as the trouble-shooting, repairing and rebuilding of gas engines, which he enjoyed immensely.
Born in Buffalo on January 28, 1942, and a former resident of both Angola and Orchard Park, N.Y., the inimitable RJD, was known for his Irish charm, twinkling blue eyes, and his ready and indomitable sense of humor. Family members, friends and colleagues were well acquainted with his high level of integrity, exceptional work ethic, his well-developed sense of altruism, justice and responsibility and above all, his empathic nature, sparkling intelligence, depth of compassion and strength and cheerfulness of spirit.
Before spiraling into a many years struggle with depression due to unresolved PTSD and then, complications from COPD, Bob will be remembered as a fun-loving, passionate and devoted father, generous neighbor, and a loyal and loving friend.
Proudly present at as many school concerts, chorus performances and spelling bees as his swing shift schedule would allow, Bob relished his role as a father and created indelible family memories over the many years with myriad adventure-filled outings and events such as excursions to African Lion Safari and the Buffalo Zoo (with Cracker Jacks!), Summer picnics and Autumn hikes at magnificent Letchworth State Park, movies in (and on top of) the family station wagon at the old drive-in theater on Harlem Road, day-trips to Ontario’s Crystal Beach Amusement Park (where he would insist on accompanying his daughters on the Comet, though terrified of roller coasters), winter tobogganing at Chestnut Ridge, back yard skating on the homemade ice rinks he created, walks to Garden of Sweets for old-fashioned ice cream sundaes presented in silver dishes, fourth of July fireworks (with sparklers!) at Cheektowaga town park - often followed by a Pico’s pizza (a rare treat, then) with neighbors on the front stoop.
He had the tender habit of rousing a daughter in the still of night to share a breathtaking starry sky, or to snuggle with her on the worn porch glider to watch a thrilling summer downpour, or to wake her before dawn for a drive out to the country, where they would amble along together in the Fall morning quiet, through the dew and mist covered fields, to ready their dog Sheba for the coming hunting season.
Robert Daly cherished his late mother, Sylvia, adored the color blue, loved children, animals, classical children’s animation and film (such as: Walt Disney’s Snow White, Rankin & Bass’ Rudolph the Red-nosedReindeer and MGM’s The Wizard of Oz), the magic of Christmas, fairytales, heavenly hash ice cream, peanut clusters, chocolate pudding pie, old-school Corvettes, the game of chess and had once dreamed of becoming a veterinarian. He made a mean Swiss Steak, revered the 1972 movie, Jerimiah Johnson with RobertRedford, could draw and sing, and once owned a crazy red Volkswagen “Punch Bug” embellished with large white polka dots!
With an insatiable appetite for learning, Bob spent many hours watching television shows and documentaries on ocean life and animals of the wild, especially enjoying the explorations of Jacques Cousteau and Mutual of Omaha’s WildKingdom, as well as presentations on the anthropological, environmental, astronomical and biological sciences. He gently and consistently encouraged educational excellence for and with his children, Colleen, Michelle and Kelly and as he highly valued and appreciated the arts, was an unfailing support for each of his daughters’ artistic talents and dreams.
A voracious reader (and early Stephen King fan), sports enthusiast – heavyweight boxing a particular favorite, and an avid outdoorsman, Bob’s greatest passion and source of solace was nature and the wildlife that inhabited the woods, fields, streams and skies. Canada Geese were especially meaningful to him.
In his later years, Bob delved enthusiastically into electronics and found endless joy in his outdoor game camera, photographing and recording the daily as well as nocturnal comings and goings of the bear and deer that lived in the forested hills around his home.
In closing, Bob Daly was deeply affected by music throughout his life and took great pleasure in a wide range of artists from Dolly Parton to George Thorogood with the likes of Buddy Holly, Fleetwood Mac, Fats Domino, Peggy Lee, Little Richard, Elvis Presley, CCR, and Zamfir in between. One song that most moved him was the haunting 1971 release, “Vincent” (Starry, Starry, Night), by Don McLean. The following lines from this ethereal work are offered here, as an epitaph for a man who will be eternally loved and missed by more than he could ever know:
Now I understand / what you tried to say to me
How you suffered for your sanity / how you tried to set them free
They would not listen, they did not know how
Perhaps they’ll listen now
For they could not love you / but still your love was true
This world was never meant / for one, as beautiful as you. ***