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Daryl E. 'Rasuli' Floyd, retired manager of public relations for NFTA

Daryl E. "Rasuli" Floyd

July 15, 1946  -  Jan. 24, 2020

For more than three decades, Daryl E. "Rasuli" Floyd was one of the main voices of the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority, the state public-benefit corporation responsible for overseeing public transportation in the Buffalo-Niagara region.

Known professionally as Daryl Rasuli, he also promoted various civic and cultural service institutions in his adopted community and was a longtime practitioner of the Chinese martial art of tai chi, both for defense and health and meditative benefits.

Mr. Rasuli died Jan. 24 at Millard Fillmore Hospital of complications from multiple system atrophy, a rare form of Parkinsonism. He was 73.

A Denver native, he lived in multiple locations with his family as a child. He was a graduate Junction City High School in Junction City, Kan., and later earned a bachelor's degree in journalism from San Diego State University.

"His father was career military so he lived on different Army bases," said his wife, Bette Spero.

"He lived in Germany for, at least, a couple of years. I think they went there when he was 10," Spero added.

Mr. Rasuli also went on to serve in the military aboard a naval ship, the USS Dubuque, during the Vietnam War.

In 1977, he moved to Buffalo, where he was a former editor and advertising director at the Buffalo Challenger newspaper. In addition, he ran his own public relations business, Rasuli and Associates.

In 1980,  Mr. Rasuli was hired as project manager with the state Urban Development Corp. for a program that monitored compliance with affirmative action requirements in the construction field.

He became manager of policy development and acting director of public relations for the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority in 1984. Mr. Rasuli's job, at the time, was to interpret the policies of the NFTA board to both the public and the media.

In November 1987, he was promoted to manager of public relations for the NFTA. He retired in 2008.

In 1987,  Mr. Rasuli took over as president of Buffalo Central Homefinders, a nonprofit real estate broker that operated in economically depressed areas of Buffalo where other real estate agents would not. After a devastating and lethal propane explosion on Division Street in 1983, the agency developed a proposal for a modular housing factory that would meet the demand there and elsewhere for inexpensive housing. Rasuli started out as chairman of the board in June 1986, then took over the troubled agency at the request of then-Assemblyman Arthur O. Eve.

Mr. Rasuli served on the boards of several local civic and cultural institutions, including the Buffalo Federation of Neighborhood Centers; Buffalo and Erie County Historical Society; the Buffalo Zoological Society; the American Red Cross; the National Conference for Community and Justice; and the African American Cultural Arts Collective.

Spero said her husband was a supporter of a variety of cultural institutions, particularly those serving the African American community, including the African American Cultural Center, Ujima Theater Company and the Buffalo City Ballet.

Mr. Rasuli was a longtime practitioner of and instructor in the art of tai chi.

Spero said her husband also was a supporter and organizer of local Kwanzaa celebrations. In the early 1970s, she said, Mr. Rasuli was part of a group in San Diego that was among the early promoters of the annual seven-day celebration of African American culture.

James Morrell, deputy director of public transit for the NFTA, worked with Mr. Rasuli for three decades.

"When I came in '88, he took me under his wing," Morrell said of Mr. Rasuli.

"He knew everybody. Everyone loved him. He was a great communicator. What he did was he brought individuals together, especially within our community, but not only within our community," Morrell added.

Mr. Rasuli even helped found a stock market club that was joined by some his colleagues at the NFTA. Morrell said it was an eye-opener for many, including himself, who knew next to nothing about investing in stocks.

"And all the way around he was just a very thoughtful person, always looking to help somebody and help the community," Morrell added.

Mr. Rasuli  was a member of the Calvary Baptist Church, and a longtime instructor with the Taoist Tai Chi Society.

In addition to his wife of four years, Bette Spero, he is survived by a son, Tarik Floyd; four brothers, Ricci, Kevin, Dennis and Maurice; and two sisters, Renne and Terri.

A celebration of life service is planned for the last weekend in May.

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