Remembering Maggie Daley

November 25, 2011

(AP/file)
Longtime Chicago first lady died Thursday after a long battle with breast cancer.

Chicagoans are remembering their longtime first lady, Maggie Daley. A spokeswoman for the Daley family said Mrs. Daley died on Thursday evening. She was 68.

Maggie Daley's death follows a nearly decade-long struggle with beast cancer, during which she and her husband took pains to note publicly that they were just like any family facing such a fight.

An intensely private person, Maggie Daley's rare public appearances were most often to help garner support for after school programs and Gallery 37, an organization she helped found that gets students involved in the arts.

Several elected officials released statements following news of the death. Here are some excerpts:

PRESIDENT OBAMA: "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 the children and people of Chicago was surpassed only by her devotion to her family."

U.S. SEN. DICK DURBIN: “Loretta and I have lost a dear friend but feel blessed to have traveled part of our life's journey with her and Rich. We remember last St. Patrick's Day at Old St. Pat’s when Maggie’s struggles were quickly forgotten as her grandkids, dressed in their finest green, scrambled in the church pew to see the Shannon Rovers piping up the center aisle. She and Rich were beaming with the joy that loving parents and grandparents live for."

GOV. PAT QUINN: "The ever-gracious Maggie was devoted to her family and her faith. Maggie had a servant's heart, especially for children. Through her founding and leadership of After School Matters, she lifted up thousands of Chicago teenagers with opportunities to discover their potential and find their path to a meaningful life."

CHICAGO MAYOR RAHM EMANUEL: "Chicago has lost a warm and gracious First Lady who contributed immeasurably to our city. While Mayor Daley served as the head of this city, Maggie was its heart."

In addition, After School Matters, a group Daley chaired, released a statement saying the organization was "saddened beyond word."

"While After School Matters has lost its leader," the statement continued, "Chicago’s teens have lost their strongest voice and champion — a true believer in the potential of high school students if only they are offered opportunity and encouragement."

Maggie Daley is survived by her husband and three children.

WBEZ's Tony Sarabia and Sam Hudzik talk about the former first lady's legacy.