Thursday, January 29, 2015

RIP Sue Daly

Dave and I had breakfast with Joel last week and he told us that his wife Sue was in hospice care, and that she didn't have much time left. She passed away only a few hours later. Sad news. They were married for 57 years.

The Sun Times obituary about Sue was actually wonderfully written by Maureen O'Donnell. Here's a short excerpt...

When Joel Daley prepared to ship out to Panama, he proposed in a letter that said, “I’m going overseas and I don’t want to be without you.” To bolster his case, he added some math on Army benefits: “ ‘I make $76 a month, but you as a dependent would make $125.’ I laid it out like a businessman, and ‘Panama is supposed to be a pretty nice place to go.’ ” As for his pragmatic computations, “She kidded me about it a little bit,” he said. “Somewhere in this house is a box full of every letter I ever wrote” her.

She returned home to have their first child, Doug, in Rock Island. Then it was off to Cleveland, where her husband had landed a job at WGAR radio. Next he joined WLS in Chicago, paired with anchor Fahey Flynn. Mrs. Daly wasn’t sure about it. “A father-son Irish team, it’ll never work,” she told her husband. “That’s the only time she was ever wrong, and we let her know about it once in a while,” he said. The Flynn-Daly partnership lasted 18 years.

He got to be with the kids when they came home for lunch, but “it was tough, because I did the 10 o’clock news and I wouldn’t get home till 11:30 or a quarter to 12 and she’d be in bed,” he said. “Pretty much all of the weight was on her shoulders.”

In addition to caring for their three children, she took in 25 or so foster babies over the years, said their daughter, Kelly. Some were African-American, which raised eyebrows in the 1960s when Mrs. Daly went to the grocery store, she said. “It didn’t matter. If you ever saw ‘Steel Magnolias,’ she was Shirley MacLaine. She’d wear overalls with a mink, and never cared what people thought. That was part of her charm.

Working with Joel on his book "The Daly News" has been one of the great joys of my time running Eckhartz Press. He's such a kind and wonderful man. And he was deeply devoted to his wife. We never met her because she was already quite ill when Joel was promoting the book, but it sure sounds like she was every bit as kind and wonderful as Joel.

May she rest in peace.