Sep 11, 2019 By University Communication
Cecilia “Sally” (Reiger) Daly, 93 of Lincoln, died Sept. 6.
In 1974, after earning a second master’s degree, Daly became the first woman hired as an instructor in the University of Nebraska–Lincoln’s Department of Computer Science.
Daly was born April 23, 1926 in Garden City, New York, and was the fifth of seven children of Ernest and Cecilia (Shaw) Rieger. From her girlhood on Long Island, Daly developed a lifelong love of the ocean and swimming. Her academic interests were focused on the sciences and led her to attain a master's degree from Vassar College in botany. While pursuing a doctorate at the University of Minnesota, she met and married J.M. “Mike” Daly.
The couple moved to South Bend, Indiana, before settling in Lincoln. They had nine children in 11 years and, after the youngest started school, Daly began taking classes at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln.
As faculty, Daly’s ability to inspire and mentor students was rewarded with an associate professorship and an appointment as chief freshman adviser.
“Sally was very smart, hard-working and a great person,” said Steve Reichenbach, professor of computer science and engineering.
Shared Seth, emeritus professor, said Daly was a pioneer for women in computing.
“But, you would never know it because of her self-effacing personality,” Seth said. “I was fortunate to have known her as a student, colleague and dear friend.”
Daly served on the City of Lincoln’s Human Rights Commission, parent school organizations, and Matt Talbot Kitchen. She also taught English as a second language to adults.
After the death of her husband, Daly continued to seek adventures, including snorkeling the Great Barrier Reef; white-water rafting in Alaska; walking the Great Wall of China; and visiting Maori sites in New Zealand.
In her 80s, Daly took up gliding and spent many hours soaring fixed-wing gliders. She also experienced para-gliding and took up paddle boarding in her 90s.
She is survived by children, Katherine Daly O’Rourke, Stephen Daly, Timothy Daly, Martha Daly, Cecilia Daly, Anne Daly Schmidt (Jeff), Constance Daly, Melissa Daly Hoy (Mark); grandchildren, Sean O’Rourke (Amanda), Tyson O’Rourke (Erin), Kealyn Lutt (Brett), Amanda Hoodjer (John), Alexa Hoy, Jerome Schmidt; great-granddaughters, Carlie, Elora and baby girl Hoodjer; brother, Richard Rieger; and sister, Carol Rieger.
Daly was preceded in death by her husband; parents; infant daughter, Julia; son-in-law, John O’Rourke; and siblings, Ruth, Ernest, Paul and Thomas.
Services will be at 1:30 p.m. Sept. 12 at St. Mary’s Catholic Church, 1420 K St. Burial will be in Lincoln Memorial Park. Rosary is at 6 p.m. Sept. 11 at St. Mary’s.
Memorials are suggested to hurricane relief for the Bahamas. Condolences can be left online.
Read Sally’s obituary on the Lincoln Journal Star website.