Updated 11/27/11 at 5:31 p.m.
Hundreds of mourners streamed through a downtown cultural center Sunday to pay their respects to former Chicago first lady Maggie Daley at a public wake and visitation.
A choir sang in the background as hundreds walked by a closed casket, flower arrangements and a large photograph of a smiling Daley, the wife of former Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley.
The line wrapped almost around the entire Chicago Cultural Center as mourners waited in the rain. Among them was retired teacher Margie Zaugh of Chicago, who clutched an arrangement of pink tulips. The flowers were reportedly Daley's favorite and a tulip was even named after her. The "Tulipa Maggie Daley" is planted along the city's Magnificent Mile shopping district.
"I can't see tulips without thinking of her," Zaugh said. "She was a great lady."
The former Chicago first lady, who had been diagnosed with breast cancer in 2002, died Thursday night. Mourners remembered her as a reserved and dignified presence at her husband's side during his 22 eventful years as mayor.
The public wake was planned until 10 p.m. Sunday. The former mayor was in attendance along with current Mayor Rahm Emanuel and U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin. Memorial books were on display for the public at City Hall, the Cultural Center and Gallery 37, a downtown shopping center.
Instead of flowers, the family has requested that donations be made to the After School Matters program, the youth-focused after school activities initiative which Daley founded and led, or the Maggie Daley Cancer Center at Northwestern University.
Since news of her death surfaced on Thanksgiving night, Chicagoans have been remembering her legacy in myriad ways.
In recognition of Mrs. Daley's longtime support of arts and cultural organizations, members of the League of Chicago Theaters turned off their marquee lights for two minutes at Noon on Sunday to mark the beginning of the wake.
The Chicago Human Rhythm Project offered free tickets to its Global Rhythms show at 7 p.m. Sunday in honor of Daley "and her commitment to making the arts accessible to everyone."
Chicago residents also have been encouraged to share thoughts and condolences in memorial books at the Chicago Cultural Center, City Hall and Gallery 37.
Meanwhile, Chicagoans Oscar Griffin, John Porterfields, Francine Neal, Nigle Andrews and a young man who goes by the name "Lemon" were among those who offered their personal remembrances in the audio piece above.
Maggie Daley was also remembered for her smile and some of those attending the wake said she was an inspiration for those battling cancer.
Bernice Cherry, a 63-year-old retired teacher and breast cancer survivor, said she met Daley at a school event; Daley created an afterschool program called After School Matters.
"She was always very pleasant," Cherry said. "She encouraged me."
A public Mass was scheduled for Monday at 10:30 a.m. Old St. Patrick's Catholic Church in Chicago.
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