A Life Lived: Fay Daley Sr.

Ray Daley Sr., of Absecon, was a retired Ocean City High School science teacher who also had many other jobs. He was a fan of all things Irish, including wearing green for one of his favorite holidays, St. Patrick's Day.

With three kids and a full-time job, you’d figure the last thing Ray Daley Sr. needed was something else to keep him busy.

But Daley obviously didn’t see it that way, because in 1958, he became a full-time student, too, going back to the then-Glassboro State College to study education. He commuted an hour from his old home in Pleasantville and after a day of classes and that drive back — before the Atlantic City Expressway was built — he’d stop at home long enough to pick up dinner and head to work in Atlantic City.

His job then was at the Steel Pier’s old General Motors exhibit, where Ray’s bosses agreed to work around his classes, his wife, Lynne, said. So he didn’t have to go in until 4 p.m. on weekdays — because his weekend shifts ran 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Still, he graduated in four years, and that same year, 1962, he got a job teaching science at Ocean City High School. He taught there until he retired in 1987.

And after the longtime Absecon resident died recently, at 87, Ray’s family and friends said there was nothing unusual about him taking on a full college load while he was already working 40 hours a week. They say the man was always working, his whole life.

“After he retired, his last job was at a ... detective agency. He was way up in his 70s when he did that job,” said his daughter Pat Bruner, 61, of Absecon. “And back when he was teaching, he was an Ocean City Boardwalk cop in the summer.”

Lynne, Ray’s second wife, knows he also had a security job at Historic Smithville while he was teaching. She found that out when they went to the Smithville Inn on their first date in 1970 — both had been married before and met at Ocean City High, where Lynne was an English teacher — and they got to bypass a waiting line at the hostess station to be seated right away.

Ray had professional security experience. After he graduated from Pleasantville High School, he joined his hometown police department and made it to sergeant before he quit to take another job — that he then quit because teaching was what he really wanted.

“I remember him holding me and sitting on his (police) motorcycle,” said Barbara DeFeo, of Northfield, 63, the oldest of Ray’s children. (The youngest, Ray Jr., lives in Absecon.)

And there were more part-time jobs for Ray Sr. — including a time in the 1970s when he was an Absecon city councilman.

But he also liked to have a good time, and to look sharp no matter what he was doing. Plus he loved all things Irish, so naturally, one of his favorite occasions of the year was St. Patrick’s Day. He would dress all in green, from his socks to his top hat, which is also how his family made sure he was dressed to be buried.

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More than 30 years’ experience reporting and editing for newspapers and magazines in Illinois, Colorado, Texas and New Jersey and 1985 winner of the Texas Daily Newspaper Association’s John Murphy Award for copy editing.

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