Library History

The History of Professor Lewis Edwin DeLaney

Professor Lewis Edwin DeLaney

Lewis Edwin DeLaney passed away November 23 1965, his final resting place is Tioga Point Cemetery. 

But alive and well is his rich legacy of boundless energy and dedicated not only to his career of education but also to a host of civic and charitable endeavors.

For more than half a century he left an indelible mark of excellence and distinguished service in the Sayre School System that will always defy erasure.

Mr. DeLaney was born and raised in Sayre. He had a profound acquaintance with local classrooms made early on in his life. The growth of his stature in learning and administration was concomitant with the expansion of the school system.

Born in the borough’s Milltown section on July 17, 1878, Mr. DeLaney got his early education there. He graduated from Sayre High School in 1897 and took a year’s post graduate work before enrolling at Wesleyan University in Middletown, Conn.

He graduated from Wesleyan in 1902 and, with an eye on a career in education, did graduate study at Columbia University and the Pennsylvania State University.

With completion of higher learning, Mr. DeLaney started his life’s work at Sayre High School on the science and Mathematics faculty. In 1907 he switched desks from the classroom to the administrative offices when he was tapped to become supervising principal of the district.

Eleven years later the title was changed to superintendent of schools as the Sayre District became independent of country oversight. Mr. DeLaney headed the district for the next 26 years. Then he took a five-year hiatus during which he was a science instructor.

In 1938 he was re-elected superintendent, a post he held until his retirement in 1946. Looking back over his intimate relationship with the Sayre District as a pupil, teacher and administrator, Mr. DeLaney saw the schools “grow in material size, teaching staff and pupil enrollment” and “we may well be proud of our system.”

As head of that system, his wise sphere of influence touched the lives of a multitude of students. During his long tensure, his signature graced the high school diplomas of more than two thousand graduated with classes of departing seniors rising from a low 13 in 1909 to a high of 132 in 1938.

The existing high school building was planned and built under his considerable talent for fashioning the future needs required for the betterment of the student. His low profile, but unwavering approach to discipline, elicited the respect of both students and teachers. Erring students were chastened not in the stiff, formal setting of the superintendent’s office; explained Kenneth Mead, Mayor of Athens and former Sayre student:

“He would slide into the other side of our double seat/desk and quietly correct us. He was very firm but fair.”

Mr. DeLaney had lasting effects also in nature’s classroom. A long term interest was Boy Scouting. His leadership in this youth program won for him scouting’s prestigious Silver Beaver award.

At Sayre First United Methodist Church, he was Sunday School superintendent, a trustee and members of the official board. His services were generously offered to a litany of cultural, business, war time, civic, fraternal, social, sports and literary organizations. Despite the grief of losing a son killed in action during World War II, Mr. DeLaney carried on in his quest to foster a wholesome quality of life for generations to come. 

Hidden Talents? Well, possibly one. But even that was soon chanted on the lips of all Sayre High School students. Together with his wife, Margaret Griswold DeLaney, he composed the High School Alma Mater. As the closing verse the song goes: “Let us give a ringing cheer for the praise of Alma Mater…”

Praise for Mr. DeLaney will always ring loudly and clearly from the heirs of his educational competence and judicious direction in infusing the good and true values

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