Industry PR veteran Jerry Daly dies at 78

Officials of DG Public Relations LLC have revealed the death of company cofounder, David (Jerry) Daly on Jan. 11, due to complications arising from aspiration pneumonia.

While in graduate school at Boston University, Daly helped create the first Great American Smokeout, originally designed as a scholarship fundraiser for a local high school before he came up with the idea to get people to donate the price of a pack of cigarettes as the first step toward a commitment to quit smoking.

His first job out of undergraduate school was as public relations director for the Tulsa Area Chapter of the American Red Cross. While there, he worked on a promotion that resulted in one of the largest and most successful blood drives up until that point. He later worked for multiple public relations agencies, including Burson-Marstellar and Harshe‐Rotman & Druck, before entering the hospitality sector with Holiday Inn and Harrah’s.

Daly founded Daly Gray Public Relations LLC, the predecessor of DG Public Relations LLC, in 1987. During his career at that company, he was directly responsible for and/or oversaw multiple industry milestones: the first hotel crisis communications plan; the first hotel property-level Twitter campaign; the launch of more than a dozen hotel brands; the industry white paper on paper-clip REITs; empowering women and minorities through hiring, mentorship and educational programs; winning more than 50 international, national and regional awards, including the Silver Anvil and four Golden Quills; and hosting the first worldwide employee meeting via satellite. He also took great pride in being named Honorary Duck Master at the Peabody Hotel and winning a lifetime achievement award at the 20th annual Lodging Conference in Phoenix.

Born Feb. 3, 1944, Daly is survived by his wife of 53 years, Katheryn; his children, Chris, Jason, Shannon, Patrick and Andrew; and his grandchildren, Finn and Lilah.