Gift from Estate of Creighton Law Graduate to Fund Scholarships
John Daly, PhB’38, JD’40, was devoted to Catholic education, to daily Mass and to the welfare of everyone around him.
The Omaha native died on June 9, 2014, at the age of 98, but his legacy will live on through the John F. and Anne Hanighen Daly Scholarships benefiting School of Law and College of Arts and Sciences students. The $1.87 million gift was established through Daly’s estate plan at the request of his closest living relative, his cousin Joe Daly, BA’67, JD’70. Another $500,000 in unrestricted funds was received from John Daly’s estate.
Paul McGreal, dean of the School of Law, says he never met Daly, but the stories shared about him paint a picture of a lawyer who embodied the Creighton mission — a loyal, ethical practitioner who lived his life in service to God, his family and the law.
“Mr. Daly’s gift will have a tremendous impact on the students at the Creighton University School of Law,” McGreal says. “His generosity will change the lives of students by affording them the opportunity to experience the power of a Creighton legal education.”
The Rev. George Sullivan, SJ, JD’81, a former president of Daly’s high school alma mater, Creighton Prep, calls John a gracious and extraordinary friend who lived a frugal life and saved his resources to help young people.
“He and his wonderful wife, Anne, were not blessed with children and this was their way of extending their love into the next generations through faith-centered education,” says Fr. Sullivan.
Daly was born on Jan. 9, 1916, and attended grade school at Holy Cross Catholic School before graduating from Creighton High School (Creighton Prep) in 1933. He then earned Bachelor of Philosophy and Juris Doctor degrees from Creighton University.
Joe Daly says that John valued his Catholic education and was partial to Jesuit education. One of John’s most prized possessions was a group photo of his 1933 high school graduation class.
“He wrote the names of every one of his classmates, in order, on the back of that photo,” says Joe. “It is still in pristine condition.” After graduating from Creighton University, John served in the Army Air Corps in World War II and then returned to Omaha to work for the law firm Spielhagen & Spielhagen.
John worked at the firm for a few years before joining his father and uncles at the Yellow Cab Company in Omaha. John’s father, J.A. (Jack) Daly, had started as a bookkeeper at Yellow Cab and worked his way up to president. John joined the company as vice president, became president after his father retired, and continued in that role until the company was sold and he retired. Joe also worked at the cab company, beginning part-time at the age of 14 until graduating from Creighton University.
John and Anne Hanighen wed in 1955 and were happily married for 48 years until her death in 2003.
In addition to Creighton, the totality of John’s generosity benefited many other causes and institutions, including Creighton Prep, Duchesne Academy of the Sacred Heart, Marian High School, Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) and the Omaha Archdiocesan Educational Foundation (OAEF).
“Everyone enjoyed and respected his grace, gentlemanly manner, and his example of faith, reverence and prayer,” says Fr. Sullivan. “John was a model for all, and it was a tremendous privilege to know him.”