BEDFORD, N.Y. — As chairperson of the Bedford Democratic Committee in the early 2000s, George Delaney, who died in February at age 84, was instrumental in electing Democrats to town government for the first time in decades. Next week, the Bedford Democratic Committee will dedicate a memorial tree in his honor.
“He contributed so much and with such passion to this town," said Bea Rhodes, secretary of the committee. "He cared about the people who lived in it.”
On Tuesday, June 12 at 7 p.m., the Bedford Democratic Committee will dedicate a memorial tree at Canine Commons in Katonah’s Beaver Dam Park, where Delaney used to walk his beloved dog Harry.
A resident of the Town of Bedford since 1972, Delaney was born in Pittsfield, Mass. and worked in the Merchant Marines before receiving his law degree at New York University and going on to practice as an attorney for 50 years.
Also a longtime member of the Bedford Hills Lions Club, Delaney was co-chair of the committee when current chair Bruce Yablon joined. Yablon describes him as “a strong, unwavering and outspoken fighter for Democratic principles and candidates.”
In 2003, Delaney helped Kevin Quaranta mount a winning campaign for town justice, in an administration that was, at the time, dominated by Republicans.
According to Quaranta, no Democrat had been elected in many years and in the following election, current board members Chris Burdick and David Gabrielson won their spots, and Peter Harckham was elected to the county legislature.
“Without his courage and leadership a decade ago, there would likely be no Democratic elected officials in Bedford today,” Yablon said.
Despite health challenges in later years, Delaney kept fighting for his political beliefs, according to Yablon.
“Even in the day before he died, he called me full of excitement like a child over some issue,” Yablon said.
Delaney, who was posthumously elected honorary chair of the committee, was a man who was “loved by many, but respected by everybody,” said Quaranta.