Maggie Daley, Chicago’s Gracious First Lady, Dies at 68

Maggie Daley, Chicago’s Gracious First Lady, Dies at 68

Maggie Daley, who dedicated herself to children’s issues and the arts, while also zealously guarding her family’s privacy during 22 years as Chicago’s First Lady, died tonight, more than nine years after she was diagnosed with breast cancer. She was 68.

Since disclosing her diagnosis in 2002, for the subsequent nine painstaking years she soothed us with her grace under pressure as a public person making innumerable appearances before crowds and cameras.The news of the death of Maggie Daley sparked memories from many who knew her and saw her handle the role of Chicago’s first lady with such warmth and grace.

Tonight we grieve for the Daley family,” the current Mayor Rahm Emanuel said in a statement. “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.” Emanuel said her “most treasured role was as a wife, mother, and grandmother.”

Our hearts go out to Mayor Daley, Nora, Patrick, Lally and the rest of the Daley family,” Emanuel said. “Just as Maggie will remain a constant presence in their lives, she will remain a constant presence in our city.  Like Chicagoans everywhere, Amy and I will always hold her in our hearts.Whether you knew her personally or were among the countless more who loved and admired her, all of Chicago will remember Maggie for the grace and dignity with which she served for twenty-two years as First Lady.”

The former first lady proved resilient in the face of the disease, and her friends and admirers noted her ability to rise above her illness. “In the city of big shoulders, her grace and charm made our town a very classy place,” said Father John Cusick, a good friend and priest at their Old St. Patrick’s Church. “I really feel for Rich. He will miss her so much. Being a public family, they were able to be a private family, too. What a great person. May she have eternal rest.”

A Tribute to Maggie Daley (1943-2011)

Statement by President Obama on the Passing of Maggie Daley here.

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Chicago’s Mayor Richard Daley to Retire, Announces He Won’t Seek Re-election

Chicago’s Mayor Richard Daley to Retire, Announces He Won’t Seek Re-election

Mayor Richard Daley says he will not run for re-election in 2011, saying “It’s time for me, it’s time for Chicago to move on.”  “The truth is I have been thinking about this for the past several months,” Daley said at a City Hall news conference that stunned the city. “In the end this is a personal decision, no more, no less.”

His wife Maggie stood by his side, smiling broadly as the mayor continued: “I have always known that people want you to work hard for them. Clearly, they won’t always agree with you.  Obviously, they don’t like it when you make a mistake.  But at all times, they expect you to lead, to make difficult decisions, rooted in what’s right for them. For 21 years, that’s what I’ve tried to doBut today, I am announcing that I will not seek a 7th term as mayor of the city of Chicago.  Simply put, it’s time.” Daley spoke for less than five minutes and took no questions.

Daley’s decision sets off a major power scramble, following more than 20 years of stifled political ambitions in city politics.  Daley was first elected mayor in 1989 after his failed bid in 1983.  The mayor won re-election every four years since then, always with little to no opposition.

However, the mayor’s administration has been hit by an outbreak of summer violence, a weak economy and a high-profile failure to land the 2016 Olympics.  Dissatisfaction abounds over Daley’s handling of the crime problem, his efforts to rein in government corruption and his backing of a controversial long-term parking meter system lease.

Chicago’s Mayor Richard Daley to Retire, Announces He Won’t Seek Re-election

Slide Show: The Daley Generations Through the Years

(Please Click Image to View Slide Show)

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