John Lawrence Daly, born September 24, 1936, died April 11, 2023, after a long illness. John (Larry), a lifelong educator, had an irrepressibly active and fertile mind that thrived on his love for and curiosity about people. He took delight in surprising friends and family with visits, music, in writing and sharing his poetry, in conversing with strangers, and going on adventures; and he especially enjoyed getting to know each of his countless students who will remember him as a singular teacher who celebrated Einstein’s axiom “Imagination is more important than knowledge.”
Son of the late Robert J. and Margaret (Ward) Daly, Larry was born and raised in Watertown, NY, graduating from Watertown High School in 1954. While in high school, Larry played hockey (as a goalie without a facemask) and attended the Watertown Conservatory of Music studying composition and conducting. He attended Le Moyne College in Syracuse where he majored in English and played baseball and soccer. Following a year in both Jesuit seminary and medical school, he married Rita Pellizzari of Solvay, NY in 1962. From 1961 to 1966, he served in the Air Force National Guard where he taught officers and enlisted men the biological and chemical effects of nuclear war. In 1966, he earned a master’s degree in science education from Syracuse University.
From 1968-1973, Larry studied the philosophy of science and religion at the University of Chicago Divinity School. Fellow of the Royal Society of Anthropology and Archaeology of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, he participated in the Club of Rome World Futures Conference in 1973 presenting his paper “The person in world community” and founding the International Society for the Correspondence of Children. Awarded his doctorate in 2001, he stayed abreast of and versant in the most recent trends of human and natural sciences throughout his life.
Influenced by Catholic activist Dorothy Day and writer Thomas Merton, Larry led a committed life of reflection on and witness to the meaning and pathways of peace and justice in the modern world. While at Le Moyne, he worked with Fr. Daniel Berrigan and, in 1979, he co-founded the non-profit Alliance for Communities in Action whose mission of providing technical and social assistance to the developing world took him twice to Nicaragua in the early 1980’s. After his retirement, Larry continued to work on issues such as access to fresh water and nuclear disarmament for UN associated NGOs.
His myriad experiences and full personality were brought to bear in his role as a science educator, beginning at the Aquinas School in Rochester and continuing for 19 years at Bishop Grimes High School in East Syracuse before his retirement from Mexico BOCES in 2006. A committed educator of both mind and spirit, Larry encouraged his students to believe in and be themselves. Whether teaching physics at Grimes or sitting in on an auto-mechanics class at BOCES, Larry’s classes were full of students soaking in the welcoming, electric atmosphere he created.
Larry was predeceased by his daughter Rachel and his brother Dr. Robert W. Daly and wife Elizabeth (McCarthy) of Dewitt, NY. He leaves behind Rita - his wife of nearly 61 years: his daughter Rebecca (Patrick) Martin of Baldwinsville; his sons, Gregory of Chicago, Bartholomew of Baldwinsville and Dante (Veronika) of Syracuse; his grandsons, Connor (Gretchen) Martin, John Martin and Mark Daly; his sister in-law Rose Pellizzari of Solvay; and many nieces and nephews.
The family would like to thank the staff at Seneca Dialysis in Liverpool for their heartfelt care for Larry during his long illness. In lieu of flowers, donations in his memory can be made to Doctors Without Borders (www.doctorswithoutborders.org) and/or UNICEF (www.unicef.org)
Those who wish to come celebrate Larry’s life are welcome to Calling Hours at 10am followed by a Catholic Mass at 11am both at All Saints Church in Syracuse, NY on Saturday April 22, 2023. Burial will follow at St Mary’s Cemetery Syracuse, NY.