Chicago mourns the loss of the city's former first lady. Chicagoan Peggy Yates put flowers outside the Daley home Thursday evening. "She was a wonderful, wonderful woman and a great, great inspiration to the women of Chicago."
Condolences continue to pour in after the passing of Chicago's former first lady Maggie Daley, from City Hall to residents in Daley Plaza and even from the White House.
"Michelle and I were deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Maggie Daley," President Barack Obama said in a statement. "Maggie was an extraordinary woman who dedicated her life to public service. 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."
One woman was seen placing flowers outside the Daley home Thursday night. She said Mrs. Daley inspired her as a mother and a woman in Chicago.
"She was our Lady Diana of Chicago," said Peggy Yates.
"It’s rare that we find such great female leadership," Yates said. "So graceful and understated yet in the big spotlight she influenced so many children. She’ll sadly be missed."
News of Mrs. Daley's death after her nine-year battle with breast cancer was announced Thursday evening by the family's longtime spokeswoman, Jackie Heard.
Chicagoan Elizabeth Reitz, visiting Daley Plaza on Thanksgiving, said she wishes the Daley family the best, "absolutely."
"It’s a shame to hear on a day like this, but the family is together at least and they were together when it happened so that’s always good," Reitz said.
Many family supporters were seen at the Daley residence Thursday evening, including White House Chief of Staff Bill Daley.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel in a statement said, "Chicago has lost a warm and gracious First Lady who contributed immeasurably to our city."
"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," Emanuel said.
Mrs. Daley was involved in many public issues, but she was best known as the chair of the "After School Matters" (ASM) program, which provides teenagers with engaging activities in the after-school hours. ASM later merged with Chicago’s Gallery 37, which uses art to employ people of all ages with creative and vocational skills.
Sen. Dick Durbin and Gov. Pat Quinn wrote condolences also, remembering Mrs. Daley for her strength, determination and kindness.
"The ever-gracious Maggie was devoted to her family and her faith," Quinn said. "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."
Durbin, a friend of the family, said he feels blessed to have known her.
“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."
“Chicago and Illinois have lost a great and caring woman," Durbin said.
Jane's Addiction frontman and Lollapalooza founder Perry Farrell tweeted, "RIP Maggie Daley. So proud to have known you; worked with you to make Chicago amongst the greatest cities in the world. You will be missed."
Chicago chef Rick Bayless called Mrs. Daley a "relentless champion of the arts," and Roger Ebert said she was "good, kind and brave."
"She cared about the children and the people of Chicago so wholeheartedly [with] politics put aside," said Chicagoan Peggy Yates. "She was a wonderful, wonderful woman and a great, great inspiration to the women of Chicago."
Rev. Jesse Jackson on Friday led more than 100 school children in an impromptu prayer for Mrs. Daley at a Norridge amusement park, praising her passion for children and the work she did with After School Matters. In his characteristic style, he ended with a chant of "After school ... still matters ... bless you ... Maggie Daley."
"Whether you knew her personally or were among the countless more who loved and admired her," said Mayor Rahm Emanuel in a statement, "all of Chicago will remember Maggie for the grace and dignity with which she served for twenty-two years as First Lady."
Because of this and more, her wake is expected to be a large-scale remembrance of her work and likely will draw celebrities, politicos and scores of Chicagoans.
"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," said Gov. Pat Quinn.
Secretary of State Jesse White called her passing "a loss for the entire City of Chicago."
"I applaud her efforts to help young people become better educated and better prepared for their futures through her After School Matters program," he said. "My thoughts and prayers are with the entire Daley family."
Late Friday, Francis Cardinal George said he was keeping Mayor Daley in his prayers.
"Mrs. Daley lived for her husband and children and, in her graceful way, she touched as well the lives of many in Chicago, especially school children and people with special needs," he said. "While many grieve her loss, it is the life of her husband that is most affected. As I remember her before the Lord, he too will be frequently in my prayers."