Chicagoans, politicians pay last respects to Chicago’s former First Lady Maggie Daley

Hundreds brave wind, rain to attend memorial service

November 28, 2011

Download Story

Sunday’s memorial service for Chicago’s former first lady Maggie Daley drew hundreds of visitors. Many stood in line for hours outside the Chicago Cultural Center. Dignitaries were quickly whisked in except for one.

Illinois U.S. Senator Dick Durbin didn’t have to wait in line in the rain like everyone else.  But he did and didn’t make a big deal out of it.

“That’s just the way I do things,” Durbin told WBEZ.  

Durbin says he has many memories of Maggie Daley.

He shared one in particular with me.

Durbin took out his cell phone to show a shot when Mrs. Daley and her family, including her husband and former Chicago Mayor Richard Daley, and her grandchildren attending services on St. Patrick’s Day last March at Old St. Patrick’s Church.

Mrs. Daley is sitting down on the pew while her grandchildren surround her.

“This is what kept her going. This whole love that she had for her family and that she gave back to them,” Durbin said.

Old St. Patrick’s Church is where a funeral Mass will be said this morning (Monday) for Mrs. Daley.

The 68-year-old Maggie Daley died on Thanksgiving Day after a nine-year battle with breast cancer.

On Sunday, hundreds turned out for a public memorial for Mrs. Daley at the Chicago Cultural Center’s Preston Bradley Hall.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel was among the first to arrive at the center.

Inside the Hall, the Daley family, including Richard M. Daley, stood near the casket which was draped in white flowers.

Maggie Daley is being remembered for her dedication to the arts and the city’s youth.

Some 20 years ago, Maggie Daley helped found what would become the nationally known After School Matters program.

It provides artistic, athletic and academic activities for thousands of Chicago youth.

Tony Lee participated in some of those activities, which is why he arrived to the Chicago Cultural Center to say goodbye to Maggie Daley.

“After School Matters gave us a reason to find a better future,” Lee said.