Local first ladies weather the political and personal storms of their husbands

June 29, 2011

Produced by Eight Forty-Eight

Download Story
(Getty/Scott Olson)
Chicago magazine’s Carol Felsenthal discusses the impact first wives have on their husbands’ lives, politics and legacies.

Former Illinois First Lady Lura Lynn Ryan died late Monday after a long and public battle with lung cancer. Her husband, ex-Governor George Ryan, was at her side. Ryan is currently serving a six-and-a-half year sentence for racketeering, tax fraud, conspiracy and making false statements to the FBI. According to reports it was thanks to his warden that Ryan was able to be at his wife's bedside.

Just hours before the former first lady’s death, her successor Patti Blagojevich watched as her own husband’s career met a similar fate. Meanwhile Chicago’s former first lady Maggie Daley has just been released from the hospital. Daley was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2002.

All three of these women have faced their share of challenges in the public spotlight. Some are personal, whilst others are the result from the public mistakes of their spouses. But all have stood by their man. To explore these relationships Eight Forty-Eight was joined by author Carol Felsenthal, who has written numerous profiles of famous political figures.