A flag of the city of Chicago draped the casket of former Mayor Jane Byrne as family, friends and other well-wishers gathered for the funeral of the city's first and only female mayor.
Delivering the homily Monday at a North Side church, Monsignor Kenneth Velo said Byrne loved Chicago and was proud to have served as its mayor.
Among those paying respects at St. Vincent de Paul Church was current Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan.
"Every Chicagoan gives thanks to Jane Byrne," Emanuel said, adding, "we are a better city because of her."
Emanuel says Byrne reflected the character of Chicago in being "dogged, determined and dignified."
Byrne's daughter, Kathy, described her mother as gentle and caring. But she said her mom also didn't tolerate wallowing in self-pity.
Byrne died Friday at a hospice in Chicago at the age of 81. She was a political novice when she overcame Richard J. Daley's powerful political machine in 1979 for her improbable win.
She served one term in office. She is credited with bringing major festivals to Chicago and making the city more welcoming to filmmakers.
Byrne became Chicago's first and only female mayor with her election in 1979. During her single term, Byrne was credited with bringing major festivals to the city. She also made the city more welcoming to filmmakers who flocked to Chicago to make movies such as "Blues Brothers."
She made national headlines by moving into a notorious housing project to draw attention to violence there.