Thousands Gather to Honor Maggie Daley

Funeral to be Held on Monday

Sunday, Nov 27, 2011  |  Updated 3:58 PM CDT
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Hundreds come out to the Chicago Cultural Center to honor the woman who served as Chicago's First Lady for more than two decades -- Maggie Daley.

Hundreds come out to the Chicago Cultural Center to honor the woman who served as Chicago's First Lady for more than two decades -- Maggie Daley.

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Maggie Daley: 1943-2011

Margaret "Maggie" (Corbett) Daley, wife, mother, daughter, sister, and the former first lady of Chicago, has died after a nine-year battle with breast cancer.

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Chicago is coming together to honor a woman who became an emblem for a city -- former First Lady Maggie Daley.

Black and purple bunting hangs at the Chicago Cultural Center, where a public wake was being held from noon until 10 p.m.  The venue at 78 E. Washington St. is an appropriate one.  Mrs. Daley headed the Cultural Center Foundation for many years.

Former Mayor Richard Daley was inside to greet mourners his daughter Lally, her new husband and other family members.  Daley's brothers John and Bill Daley were also in attendance, along with Mayor Rahm Emanuel and other city officials.

By noon, hundreds were lined up to pay their respects.  Sen. Dick Durbin skipped the dignitaries' entrance, and waited his turn in line with everyone else.  He described those in line as people "from all walks of life, from those who are well-off to those who are just folks from the neighborhoods who came out to express their sentiment and their love for Maggie Daley."

"Rich may have had his friends and his enemies, but Maggie was all friends," the senator said.

Instead of flowers, the Daley family is asking for donations to After School Matters or the Maggie Daley Cancer Center at Northwestern University.

Mrs. Daley was a champion of culture and the arts in Chicago.  Her After School Matters charity gave young people a positive outlet for their creative energy through the arts.  And in her honor, theaters across Chicago dimmed their marquee lights for two minutes as the memorial got under way at noon.  They planned to leave them aglow until the public visitation ends at 10 p.m.

“The Chicago theatre community is deeply saddened to have lost Maggie Daley, a true champion for the arts and culture in Chicago. Her tireless work has impacted countless people,” said Deb Clapp, Executive Director of the League of Chicago Theatres.

Mrs. Daley died on Thanksgiving Day, after a 9-year battle with metastatic breast cancer.

A public mass and funeral will be held Monday, beginning at 10:30 a.m. at Old St. Pat's Church at 700 W. Adams Street.

Several dignitaries will pay their respects at the funeral, including U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood, former White House senior advisor Valerie Jarrett and Bill Daley.

Daley family spokeswoman Jackie Heard said it's "not clear" if President Barack Obama or his wife will be among the attendees.

Fr. Jack Wall will be the main celebrant at the mass, but a family spokesman said other priests will concelebrate, including Francis Cardinal George.

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