Larry Daley’s license plate may have read BOPREY, standing for ‘birds of prey,’ but he was nothing like the fierce hunters he so admired. The life-long Cazenovia resident is remembered for being friendly, caring and nurturing to both animals and his fellow man. Now, Larry’s generosity will be living on beyond his lifetime to benefit students from his alma mater, Cazenovia High School, through the newly established Anne L. and Lawrence D. Daley Scholarship Fund.
Larry was an engineer, gardener and caregiver. He dedicated a four-decade-long career to designing and monitoring bridges and drainage systems as a civil engineer. And when he was working, he was all business, according to his colleagues. But it was when he left the office for the day, and upon his retirement, that his warmth and spirit truly shined.
He and his wife of 50 years, Anne, most enjoyed gardening. Larry’s colleagues fondly remember him bringing fruit in from their trees to share with employees. The couple was even honored by the National Wildlife Foundation for creating a backyard bird sanctuary in an old horse pasture.
A life-long bird lover, Larry often participated in various bird monitoring activities for the New York State Bluebird Society and Lab of Ornithology at Cornell University. He once installed 20 bluebird houses along Route 20, as well as outside of his old offices at Stearns & Wheler Engineers, to help support the fragile species. Every so often, he would go back and check the houses for intruders and clean them out. He rarely missed an opportunity to serve as a volunteer driver for the Madison County Office for the Aging and the American Cancer Society, except for when it was a ‘bird house day.’
Connie Brown, transportation coordinator at the Office for the Aging, remembers Larry as dedicated and kind. He never hesitated to drive a senior citizen to Utica or Syracuse for a doctor’s appointment or procedure, even if it meant waiting for hours. “I’ll just have to bring a good book,” he’d joke. He continued to volunteer until his mid-80s.
“It takes a lot of dedication to drive people to and from medical appointments, and Larry did it without complaint for 10 years,” said Brown. “Regardless of a client’s unique needs, I knew I didn’t have to worry when I assigned Larry to the job. He took everything in stride and treated everyone with care.”
While Larry and Anne never had children, a $442,000 gift upon Larry’s death in 2018 established a scholarship fund that will encourage generations of young people to follow in their footsteps. It will award an annual college scholarship to graduating seniors wishing to study engineering, ornithology, surveying geology, physics, biology or chemistry – fields that reflected their own personal interests.
We will focus on the investment and administration of the fund so that the school’s scholarship selection committee can focus on selecting the scholarship recipients. Enhanced by our investment and spending policy, the fund is expected to increase its award amounts over time.
“The power of endowment takes the generosity of amazing people like Larry and ensures that their charitable wishes persevere through generations,” said Thomas Griffith, vice president, development of the Community Foundation. “Larry had an interest in giving back to the interests he loved, and he put a plan in place to make it happen. We’re honored to be the stewards of his community legacy.”