Honeoye Falls native David Maloney performed numerous concerts in his hometown, including this one on September 20, 2013. File photo by Donna MacKenzie

While he was being celebrated and his music played at a tribute concert by 16 performers on Saturday, September 16 in San Anselmo, California where he lived, singer/songwriter David J. Maloney is also fondly remembered by fellow Honeoye Falls Class of 1961 graduates and area residents who heard him many times when he returned to Honeoye Falls to perform.

Maloney, who died on March 10, 2023 at his home in San Anselmo following a short illness, was 79 years old. He was well-known in the folk music world. He passed away while writing a new song in his music studio that was built by himself and his neighbors.

A graduate of Honeoye Falls High School in 1961, Maloney grew up in the large house across from the high school on East Street, above Honeoye Creek. Thanks to both of his parents, Dorothy Snoddy Maloney (a Honeoye Falls native) and David K. Maloney, music, theater and art was an integral part of the family life. That was furthered when his father gave him a ukulele. Maloney also played the piano and guitar. He sang and played at school, local parties, Boys Scouts and in local talent shows. He was in the choir and drama/musical productions. He also was the President of the Class of 1961. Maloney also had a love of sports and played soccer, basketball and baseball in high school. After graduating from Honeoye Falls, he went to Cortland State and graduated with a degree in physical education where he also played on the soccer team.
At Cortland State, Maloney also was part of a frat house folk group called The Gamma Greenbriars which performed on the campus and in the town.

Following graduation, Maloney taught in Syracuse for four years. He and Tebby George married in 1969 and the two moved to California to pursue their dreams of becoming artists; he in music and she in sculpture and art. Their first night in San Francisco, the Maloneys went to a local folk club called The Drinking Gourd where they heard a talented singer named Ginny Reilly. Three months later in January of 1970, Reilly and Maloney began rehearsing together thanks to a veteran San Francisco bass player, Jay Kellum who encouraged them to work together instead of as solo acts.

As Maloney recalled, “After about three weeks, we performed a short three-song guest set at the Drinking Gourd. The audience that night loved us and we were hired on the spot to go to Lake Tahoe and perform in the lounge of a new steakhouse there.”

That collaboration, called Reilly & Maloney, was hugely successful, producing over a dozen albums and thousands of performances across the United States and Canada for two decades before performing two sold-out farewell shows in Seattle in 1990. They also pursued solo opportunities and eventually reunited in 2000 and collaborated together for another 16 years before a final concert together in Seattle in 2016.

Along with singing and songwriting, Maloney also acted in several theater productions and films and enjoyed watercolor painting. He was a big fan of the San Francisco Giants baseball team and the San Francisco 49ers football team, writing a song called “The 49er Faithful”.

Maloney released several solo albums, four of them from 2010 to 2018. The songs he wrote poetically described the feelings and situations in life that resonated with people. Many of his songs were inspired by his love of his hometown. His lyrics often captured the uniqueness and beauty of small town life. He wrote about the forces that shaped his life – the family, the friendships and the places that meant the most to him. He used his songs to instruct and tell stories that had a message. They were historical, analytical, spiritual, insightful and humorous and appealed to all ages, children to seniors. His solo albums, “One Day More” (released in 2011) and “a little homespun wobble” (released in 2013) were both nominated for Grammy awards. One of the songs on the “One Day More” album, “Carry Us Home (Sully) was about the “Miracle on the Hudson” where U.S. Airways pilot Chesley Sullenberger successfully landed a plane in the Hudson River after a flock of geese hit one of the plane’s engines. He also wrote several songs that came to be known locally as the “Honeoye Falls Suite” such as “Finnegan’s Farm”, “The Old Milltown”, “The Copy Editor” (a nod to his father being the editor of the Honeoye Falls Times newspaper), “A Simpler Time”, and “The Reunion”. His 2016 album “My Father’s Shoulders” featured the song “His Irish Heart”.

Returning to New York to enjoy a home on the Black River for many summers, Maloney often came to Honeoye Falls to perform a concert, usually at the First Presbyterian Church in Honeoye Falls, which drew good-sized audiences.

Maloney was inducted into the Honeoye Falls-Lima Alumni Hall of Fame in 2012.

He is survived by his wife Tebby, his son Danny, his siblings, Peter Maloney (Kristen Griffith) of Cold Spring, NY; Rebecca Maloney of Novato, California; Michael Maloney (Alice) of Avon and Paul Maloney (Geri) of West Shokan, NY; several nieces, nephews and cousins; his singing partner Ginny Reilly and her children Emily Reilly and Charlie Burg and countless friends.

©2023 Mendon-Honeoye Falls-Lima Sentinel

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