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Maggie Daley remembered at funeral mass: tireless advocate, devoted mom, big singer

Chicago's former first lady, Maggie Daley, was honored Monday in a funeral mass at Old Saint Patrick's Church just west of the city's downtown. Daley died on Thanksgiving at the age of 68.

So many people showed up, that more than a few Chicago aldermen were relegated to the church basement to watch the scene on TVs. Others without seats stood outside the church, listening to just the piped-out sound.

Delivering the homily, Father Jack Wall spoke of Maggie Daley's nearly decade-long fight with breast cancer.

"Some people when the going gets tough, they just see themselves as victims," Wall said. "But this woman kept on saying, Nothing is going to take life from me. Nothing. I'm too busy giving it away."

Wall talked of Daley's work to establish a parish school at Old St. Pat's, and her committment to after school programs for Chicago's kids. And he described the former first lady's personal "blue law."

"There was not going to be one mayoral event on a Sunday," he recalled. "There had to be a family day, a day where people celebrate and nurture this gift of family."

Speaking for the Daley children, son Patrick provided a personal remembrance.

"Enjoying life, laughter, and the occasional piece of dark chocolate," he said to laughter. "She was the first one out and the last one off the dance floor. She was a singer, encouraging everyone - sometimes very strongly - to join her."

"As a mother, she was the embodiment of unconditional, yet tough, love," Patrick Daley said. "And as a grandmother, we saw her move from tough love and discipline to tenderness and indulgence."

Former Mayor Richard Daley embraced his children when they returned to their seats. He did not speak at the mass.

Others in attendance: Vice President Joe Biden and his wife, Jill, First Lady Michelle Obama, U.S. Sens. Duck Durbin and Mark Kirk, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan.

Bagpipes played outside the church. As the casket was carried out to the hearse, the former mayor followed right behind.

By order of the current mayor, Rahm Emanuel, city flags are supposed to remain at half-mast for the rest of the week in honor of Maggie Daley.

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