Maggie Daley was an Inspiration

November 25, 2011

Chicago’s longtime First Lady, Maggie Daley, was laid to rest on Monday.

Mrs. Daley, the wife of former Mayor Richard M. Daley and Chicago’s First Lady for 22 years, died on Thursday following a nine-year battle with breast cancer. She was 68.

Following a day-long public memorial on Sunday, Maggie Daley’s casket was carried from the Chicago Cultural Center, past Chicago City Hall and into Old St. Pat’s Church on the city’s Near West Side for Monday’s funeral.

This is Maggie and Richard Daley at the Nov. 17 wedding of daughter Lally and Sam Hotchkiss. The wedding was supposed to be on New Year's Eve but was moved up so Maggie could be there. Rick Aguilar Studios photo

“The state of Illinois lost a great treasure,” said Illinois Governor Pat Quinn last week. “Maggie Daley was a woman for all seasons, who treated Chicago residents like family and served up hope and inspiration wherever she went.”

While Mrs. Daley raised her own family, she also championed for the arts in Chicago and for children’s programs. She created After School Matters, which today educates and inspires thousands of public school students in art, dance, sports, books, robotics, farming and more.

“Maggie was an extraordinary woman who dedicated her life to public service,” said President Barack Obama in a statement. “While she will be sorely missed, her initiatives on behalf of Chicago’s youth live on as national models for how to create environments for children to learn and grow outside the classroom. Maggie’s commitment to children and the people of Chicago was surpassed only by her devotion to her family.”

Mrs. Daley more than tripled the average life expectancy for patients with cancer that spreads, and her good attitude and positive spirit served as an inspiration to many.

“Chicago has lost a warm and gracious First Lady who contributed immeasurably to our city,” said Mayor Rahm Emanuel when she passed. “While Mayor Daley served as the head of this city, Maggie was its heart.”

Rest in peace, Chicago’s eternal First Lady.

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