DELANEY, RALPH DAVID (22 April 1933-27 April 1990) was a social activist who dedicated his life to serving the poor and the homeless. Born in Cleveland to Ralph and Ann (Yaniko) Delaney, Ralph attended Cathedral Latin High School, leaving in 1949 to join the Marianist Order in Cincinnati where he became a teaching brother. Delaney graduated from the University of Dayton (B.A., 1955) and CASE WESTERN RESERVE UNIVERSITY (M.A., 1961).
Delaney left the Marianist order after eleven years to become a teacher, community organizer and worker with Cleveland's needy. Delaney collected food each night to feed the street people around PUBLIC SQUARE. He also took clothing to the poor, and would take them on outings such as the KARAMU HOUSE.
Delaney organized and directed the Collinwood Arts Center, teaching classes in drama, video production, writing, poetry, art therapy, art education, photography, mathematics, and philosophy. He organized and directed the Gandhi-King Peace Center, was assistant chaplain at the Cuyahoga County Jail, participated in the Catholic Worker Movement and worked at the Rainey Institute.
On April 19, 1990, as Delaney was videotaping evidence of dilapidated living conditions at CMHA apartments, he was robbed and savagely beaten. He died from massive head injuries several days later at SAINT VINCENT CHARITY HOSPITAL AND MEDICAL CENTER. More than 1,200 mourners, including Cleveland Mayor Michael White (see MAYORAL ADMINISTRATION OF MICHAEL WHITE), attended his funeral liturgy at ST. JOHN CATHEDRAL. Delaney, who never married, is buried in Holy Cross Cemetery.