James Daly

January 7, 1944 - December 3, 2011


Our beloved Jim passed away after a two year struggle with esophageal cancer Saturday, December 3, 2011; he entered Hospice in October after treatment failed to slow his disease.

We are grateful that his suffering is finally over, that he was able to die at home, in his bed, surrounded by those who loved him. He is now at peace.

Jim Daly, 67, was born in Butte, Montana in 1944, his grandparents having emigrated from Ireland.

He graduated from Gonzaga with a degree in Mathematics and earned his Doctorate in Statistics from Oregon State University before coming to Cal Poly in 1972 to teach Statistics. Beginning in 1984, Jim served two terms as the first chair of the newly formed Statistics Department and returned to full time teaching in 1990, the part of the job that he loved best.

To his students he was “Dr. D” but he preferred “Jim”. He retired from full time teaching in 2005 but continued to teach in the Faculty Early Retirement Program until 2009.

Jim taught us much as he was dying just as he taught everyone who ever knew him while he lived; both his students and those who simply had the honor of being in his life learned the importance of respecting others, laughing at the humor in life, loving family and friends, and living simply.

Jim enjoyed travel, visiting Europe, China, New Zealand, and Australia as well as other destinations.

He delighted in following sports, both college and professional, and he read voraciously. He also enjoyed the performing arts, two of his children being involved in acting, music, and dance.

In recent years, he volunteered his time tutoring children in math. His wine collection was a source of great pride, and he generously shared his favorites with friends and dinner guests.

Jim faced the end stage of life with the wisdom, dignity, love, humor and grace with which he had always lived.

He gave generously, patiently of himself to those who needed his kindness, wisdom, and experience.

While he brought such love and happiness to our family, his students, colleagues and all who knew him, we are glad that his battle has ended.

Jim is survived by his loving wife, Wendy; his four children: Catherine Cuccaro, Beth Curry; Matthew Beckett (Barbara), and Allison Beckett; eight grandchildren:  Matteo Cuccaro, Luca Cuccaro, Elena Beckett, Paige Beckett, Ruby Beckett, Stella Beckett, Brian Sikes, and Dylan Beckett.

He was predeceased by his first wife Joyce Curry-Daly, for whom he established a scholarship that supports the academic pursuits of worthy statistics majors at Cal Poly.

We welcome memorial donations to any of the following local causes: The Joyce Curry Scholarship for Statistics students at Cal Poly (rsmidt@calpoly.edu); The Child Development Center (SLOCDC.org); Womenade of San Luis Obispo (sanfranslo@sbcglobal.net), and Hospice Partners of the Central Coast. 

He was a beautiful, good, wise and loving man who will be missed by everyone he ever touched. The world is poorer without Jim.