Victor R. Daly, 90, a retired official of the U.S. Employment Service for the District of Columbia who used his position to help create job opportunities for blacks in a variety of previously segregated occupations, died of Alzheimer's disease May 7 at his home in Washington.
Mr. Daly retired in 1966 as the deputy director of USES in Washington, in charge of the manpower development training program. That program began in 1962 under Mr. Daly's stewardship. By the time he retired, 3,000 young men and women had been trained for jobs that ranged from television servicing and repair to licensed practical nursing.
He joined the USES, an agency of the Department of Labor, in 1934 at a time when many jobs in Washington were rigidly segregated along racial lines. Over the years he worked quietly to persuade retail stores downtown to hire blacks in sales and clerical positions. In the mid-1950s he helped the old Capitol Transit Co. and the transit workers union reach an agreement that opened the way for the hiring of black bus drivers and streetcar operators.
For years Mr. Daly was highly and openly critical of racial segregation in the skilled trades of the construction industry. At his prodding, many of the unions agreed to make apprenticeship opportunities in skilled construction occupations available to blacks even before the enactment of legislation that forbade the unions to discriminate on the basis of race.
Much of Mr. Daly's work came before the civil rights movement had gained its full momentum. "There were no strikes or boycotts," he recalled in an interview on his retirement. "The only tool I had to use was persuasion, and using it at the right time and place, we got what we did."
In 1956, Mr. Daly received the Distinguished Service Award, the highest honor conferred by the Labor Department, for his work in eliminating discrimination in hiring practices.
Born and reared in New York City, Mr. Daly attended Cornell University and served in the Army in France during World War I.
He came to Washington in the early 1920s and worked as a business manager for a periodical here and for the Industrial Bank of Washington before joining USES.
An enthusiastic bridge player, he was one of the founders in 1932 of the American Bridge Association, originally an organization for blacks. He was its national president from 1949 to 1964.
In 1961 Mr. Daly and five other black bridge players, including then-D.C. commissioner John B. Duncan, became the first blacks accepted for membership in the previously all-white Washington Bridge League. Mr. Daly had first applied for membership in the organization five years earlier, but his application was rejected after a mail referendum. A second referendum in 1961 favored by a ratio of 2 to 1 the admission of blacks.
Mr. Daly was a member of St. Luke's Episcopal Church in Washington.
His first wife, the former Adelaide Cook, died in 1954. A daughter of that marriage, Millicent Daly, died in 1979.
Mr. Daly is survived by his wife of 28 years, Lenore Brown Daly, of Washington, and a daughter of his first marriage, Peggy Waters of San Jose.