With heavy hearts, we mourn the loss of Hyde Board member and HAPA Michael E. Delaney, husband of Board member and HAPA Jamie Delanely of Stamford, Connecticut.
Michael Edward Delaney, 61, of Stamford, CT died in his home on Saturday, December 27, 2014 after a brief and courageous battle with cancer. His family was at his bedside during the last hours of his life. Michael was the son of Luke and Margaret Delaney, both deceased, of Huntington, NY. The youngest of three brothers, he was born November 13, 1953 and grew up on Long Island, attending public schools in Centerport and Greenlawn, NY.
At age 18, without a college degree or any specific technical or business skills, Michael began the process of inventing himself. His brother John aided in the first step of that process by arranging an interview for him with the owner of a small sportswear company who was looking for an entry level stock clerk. This was Michael’s foot in the door moment, and he only needed one. Within a short time he showed a real talent for business and took responsibility for overseas production, requiring regular travel to Hong Kong. Michael became Director of Operations for the company within 4 years. As he accumulated skills and experience, his enthusiasm and energy supported his emerging entrepreneurial spirit. That spirit was coupled with a commitment to a simple but profoundly formative principle: do the right thing.
In 1985 Michael met and began dating Jamie Foos, a very talented clothing designer. Their immediate personal chemistry led them to explore creative collaboration. It was not long before they took the leap to become business partners. In 1987, they took a bigger leap and got married. They remained a team through the rest of their careers and lives, never losing that original chemistry and deep commitment to each other. In 1989, Michael and Jamie founded The Ralsey Group. Over the next 15 years, the company grew from a 3 person operation to a global enterprise of design and production facilities. Eventually, the company employed hundreds, becoming the largest supplier of private label sweaters and women’s apparel in the USA. In 2004, Michael and Jamie sold the small startup they had launched a decade and a half earlier to Li & Fung (LF USA). They stayed on to manage their company under the new ownership, he as Group President and Executive Director of the Apparel Group and she as Executive Vice President of Design, Ralsey/LFUSA. Michael and Jamie retired in 2011with their commitment to doing the right thing still very much intact. Their children are among the “right things” done by Michael and Jamie. Hallie Margaret Delaney, 27; Luke James Delaney, 25; and Ryan Michael Delaney, 23 live and work in New York City. In addition to his children and his wife Jamie, Michael is survived by his two brothers, Brian J. Delaney of Washington, DC and John T. Delaney of New York City. He enjoyed very special relationships with all of his family and is remembered, loved and already missed by nieces, nephews, aunts, uncles and in-laws who were welcomed regularly to his and Jamie’s home. Many friends, neighbors and employees who had the good fortune to have Michael as a boss, a mentor, and a friend have conveyed to his family their sorrow at his passing.
After retiring in the summer of 2011, Michael invested his time in a number of volunteer activities. He was a member of the Board of Governors of the Hyde School of Woodstock, CT and Bath, ME, and also served as a member of the St. Barthelemy International Property Owners Association. Travel was a passion in his life, especially in retirement. He and Jamie have been almost constantly in motion over the last three years. The more he experienced the pleasures of retirement, the more he urged colleagues, friends and family to start their own retirement sooner rather than later.
A memorial service will be held on Saturday, January 10, 2015 at 2 p.m. at St. Mary’s Catholic Church located at 566 Elm Street, Stamford, CT. The service will be followed by a reception at the Delaneys’ home at 389 Ocean Drive West. All guests are invited to attend. Please consider making a donation to benefit early detection lung cancer research at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. To make a gift, please visit http://mskcc.convio.net/goto/MichaelDelaney or send a check made payable to Memorial Sloan Kettering to: Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center; Attn: April Maas; 633 3rd Avenue, 28th Floor; New York, NY 10017. In the check’s memo section, please kindly include Michael Delaney.