Jeremiah “Jerry” Martin Daly was a retired Old Brookville cop who his daughter Erin Daly-Spano likened to John Wayne — strong, proud, but taciturn.
Later in life, the Mattituck restaurant he owned, the Old Mill Inn, became the inspiration for a 2006 song written by rock guitarist Ritchie Blackmore and his wife, Candice Night, regular customers who liked to, as the lyrics go, “laugh and dance and sing” there.
“We’ll have a beer ’cause Jerry’s here,” Night sang.
Daly died Feb. 23 at age 78.
Daly-Spano, 50, of Lindenhurst, said her father died of natural causes in his sleep in his Hamptons Bay home. It was the same type of “Irish exit” that he would make from parties and other gatherings, when he left without telling anyone, she said.
“My father didn’t like goodbyes,” Daly-Spano said.
Daly’s brother, John Daly, died in December, and Daly-Spano believes his death hastened her father’s passing.
“My father had been so heartbroken,” Daly-Spano said. “My uncle and father were inseparable. They drove each other nuts, but they always looked out for each other.”
Daly was born Dec. 21, 1937, in Yonkers and as a teenager moved with his family to Locust Valley. He later lived in Bridgehampton, Mattituck and Hampton Bays.
Daly served in the Old Brookville Police Department from 1959 to 1979, retiring at the rank of detective sergeant after earning numerous awards, Daly-Spano said.
Michael Maloney, 75, a retired Old Brookville police lieutenant who worked with Daly, said from his home in Florida that Daly was a mentor to detectives and was well-liked by everyone in the department.
“I don’t know anyone who had a bad word for him,” he said.
Son Sean Daly, 42, now a New York City police detective, said his father instilled in him a sense of self-confidence that he has carried with him throughout adulthood.
“I always felt I had his full support behind me, and that if there was ever a moment when I second-guessed myself or doubted myself, I’d do it for my father, to make him proud,” Daly said.
Daly liked cars and hunting, passions he shared with best friend Fred Filasky, said Holly Rule, 37, of Vermont, the daughter of Filasky, who died in 2014. The two had been friends for six decades.
“The two of them in a room together was a really fun thing to be a part of,” Rule recalled. “They were joke-tellers and would go back and forth to see who could out-joke the other.”
After retiring from the police department, Daly opened a plumbing business, co-owned Bobby Van’s Steakhouse in Bridgehampton and then bought the Old Mill, selling it about 10 years ago, Daly-Spano said.
In addition to Erin Daly-Spano and Sean Daly, he is survived by daughters, Jocelyn Daly of Wainscott and Jerelyn Daly of Key Largo, Florida; son, Jeremiah Daly of Deer Park; three sisters; a brother; five grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren.
A funeral Mass was held at St. Patrick Catholic Church in Glen Cove on Feb. 27, Daly-Spano said.