CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — Ambrose Graham Delany, a past president of Coyne & Delany, Inc., the flush valve manufacturer, passed away peacefully in his adopted hometown of Charlottesville, Va. on March 24, 2013. Born in 1917, Delany lived 96 full years. He was responsible, along with his cousin Jack Delany, for moving Coyne & Delany to Charlottesville in 1969.
Coyne & Delany was founded in 1879 by John J. Delany, Ambrose Graham Delany’s grandfather, in Brooklyn, N.Y. The company originally produced copper tub linings and high tank toilets that made up the original indoor water closets of the late 19th century. “Doc” Delany, Ambrose Graham Delany’s uncle, pioneered the next wave of plumbing with inventions such as the Flushboy valve, Regulating Screw, Rubberflex handle and industry standard Vacuum Breaker, all key components of the current Delany line.
A pipe hanging form his mouth was Ambrose Graham Delany’s trademark as was his ability to remain calm in any crisis or difficult situation. A proud engineering graduate of Lehigh University in 1940, he ran the production and product development side of the business. During World War II, Delany served in the Army Corps of Engineers rising to the rank of Major. Having joined the company after the war, he took the reins around 1965. Sensing the need to grow and upgrade the company’s capabilities, his first bold action was to move out of Brooklyn, leaving behind the old neighborhood and moving to a new, larger state-of-the-art manufacturing facility.
After a thorough search, Charlottesville was chosen. By 1974, the brand new self-designed building with a high-quality foundry and superb plating capabilities was complete. Under Delany’s direction the company became a leader in the new electronic age of flushometers. He encouraged the development and patenting of one of the market’s first sensor operating battery powered flush valves in 1988, the Impulse.
Today, New York City’s commercial and public school lavatories still utilize the Delany Flush Valve. National landmarks, such as St. Louis Gateway Arch, and local Charlottesville businesses, such as John Paul Jones Sports Complex, Scott Stadium, and the Emily Couric Cancer Center, use the valve as well.
In 2005, Delany officially retired, but he never stopped coming into the office to do the business he loved and developed. His sons, Peter and Ambrose Graham Delany Jr., managed the day-to-day operations. In 2009, his youngest son, Scott, also joined the company. At that time, the name was officially changed to Delany Products.
Ambrose Graham Delany was shared a 62 year partnership with his wife, Melene Hart Delany, who pre-deceased him. In his spare time, Delany served as a member of the Charlottesville Rotary Club, and was also on the board of The United Way. He was honored by the United Jewish Appeal (UJA) in 1996 with the “Samuel Mindel Award,” a lifetime achievement honor.
In addition to his three sons, Delany is survived by a daughter, Brook of Parker, CO, as well as seven grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
The family requests that any donations on Delany’s behalf be made to the Alzheimer’s Association.