Owen Daly II

Owen Daly II (Baltimore Sun / March 23, 2012)

Owen Daly II, who served in the Navy during two wars and was a top executive at two Baltimore-based banks, died Thursday of heart failure at his Lutherville home. He was 87.

Mr. Daly was born in Denver, Colo., and attended the Gilman School in Baltimore, where he graduated in 1943. His father had graduated from Gilman.

After graduation, Mr. Daly attended a Navy program at the University of Pennsylvania, after which he served as an assistant gunnery officer in the Pacific theater for three years during World War II. He would later serve in the Korean War for two years and left the Navy as a lieutenant.

Mr. Daly graduated from Princeton University, where he majored in political science and played varsity football. He took his first banking job at the Mercantile-Safe Deposit and Trust bank in Baltimore in 1948, where he rose to become a senior vice president of commercial banking operations.

After spending 16 years at Mercantile, Daly joined another Baltimore bank, Equitable Trust Co., to fill a newly created position of executive vice president.

"We are both proud and happy to have a man of Mr. Daly's caliber joining us," John A. Luetkemeyer, president of Equitable, told The Baltimore Sun at the time. "His 16 years of banking experience are marked with conspicuous achievement, which eminently qualifies as one of this area's outstanding banking executives."

Less than two years later, Mr. Daly was promoted to president of the bank. He served as president and chairman from 1967 until 1982, when he retired at 58 years old.

Mr. Daly ran a bank during a time when financial institutions were expanding commercial banking products to customers. He was a founding member of Visa International, the credit card company.

Mr. Daly met his wife, Marian Riggs Balliere, at her debutante ball. They married in 1950 and had four sons. Mr. Daly served as the best man at the weddings for sons Owen and Gordon.

Gordon Daly said one key memory of his father is when he was a young child in boarding school in Connecticut. He was ice skating alone one day when, to his surprise, he saw his father trudging across frozen terrain toward him. His father had driven for two hours after a business meeting in New York, to spend just a few moments with him.

"He was always a supporter in everything we did," said Daly. "He was the biggest fan for all of us."

Son Owen Daly III said he remembers his father as someone who was busy but always made time to play catch with his boys. "I can't remember him over all the years ever saying no," he said.

In his retirement, Mr. Daly pursued philanthropic endeavors. He was a trustee of the Gilman School and a board president. He was a member of the Elkridge, Maryland and Center Clubs. He was a founding director of the National Aquarium and a board member of Goucher College and St. Mary's Seminary.

Mr. Daly's family described him as a devoted Catholic who was a Knight in the Order of Malta Federal Association and a parishioner at the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen in Baltimore.

Mr. Daly is survived by his wife; son Owen Daly III of Small Point, Maine; son Gordon of San Francisco; sons Clinton and Thomas of Baltimore; 11 grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

A funeral liturgy will be held at 4 p.m. Monday at St. Mary's Seminary.

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