FRIENDS in Bantry raised a glass or two on Friday, May 29th in honour of Chuck Daly (pictured, right) on the occasion of his 93rd birthday.
His son, Charles, marked the day by describing how his dad is the last living member of JFK’s West Wing staff, and a Korean War vet.
In Bantry, Marie Mulholland, co-ordinator of West Cork Women Against Violence, recalled how Chuck oversaw the donation of €85,000 – the balance of the Mary Daly Fund – to their organisation. She said: ‘The man’s history, his life experience, his humanity and his humour make him one in a million.’ Chuck was born in Dublin in 1927, but moved to the US as a child. He was sent to Yale under the navy’s education programme, and famously skipped his graduation day so he could marry Mary Larmonth.
Chuck ran his own business shipping molasses; served in Korea, earned a Silver Star and a Purple Heart, and a year in hospital trying to save his left arm from amputation.
At 30, Chuck decided to give journalism a go and obtained a master’s degree from Columbia and went on to win a Congressional Fellowship.
His start out in Washington was working for the then-Senator John Kennedy and subsequent promotions gave him an office in the West Wing.
Chuck started the Children’s Foundation, working for children’s rights, and joined a think-tank that worked to enhance the role of black people in the political process and society.
In 1971, Harvard came calling. Chuck said yes and he also worked for peace in Ireland through the offices of the Ireland Fund. It was around that time that the couple bought a farm in Bantry and spent three months out of every year there. That wasn’t the end of his story, just the beginning of his long association with Bantry.
Chuck grieved when Mary died of cancer, but he found love again with Christine Sullivan.
In 2005, he told The Southern Star he had been privileged to know ‘two perfect wives and four extraordinary sons and to have lived a life full of adventure and duty.’