7:50 AM CST, November 25, 2011
The news of the death of Maggie Daley has sparked memories from many who knew her or just saw her handle the role of Chicago's first lady with warmth and grace.
"Michelle and I were deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Maggie Daley. 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," President Barack Obama said in a statement late Thursday night. "Maggie’s commitment to the children and people of Chicago was surpassed only by her devotion to her family. Tonight, our thoughts and prayers are with Mayor Daley, Nora, Patrick, Lally and the entire Daley family."
"Tonight we grieve for the Daley family," 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," he said.
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."
"I think we were all inspired by her courageous and faith-filled life, and her battle against her disease was an inspiration to all who suffer from cancer. She's now in God's hands and her suffering is over," Ald. Edward Burke, 14th, said. "Her legacy to the city and to her family is one of courage."
Gov. Pat Quinn said in a statement that Illinios lost a "great treasure" who "treated Chicago residents like family and served up hope and inspiration wherever she went."
"The ever-gracious Maggie was devoted to her family and her faith. Maggie had a servant's heart, especially for children," he said. "Our thoughts and prayers are with the entire Daley family. The people of Chicago and Illinois now mourn a great loss, but we remember the legacy of grace and compassion that Maggie left."
"Maggie was a person of extraordinary grace and strength. She set such a wonderful example both in how she lived, and how she faced the end of life," said David Axelrod, Daley's longtime political media adviser and currently senior campaign strategist for President Barack Obama. "Right until the very end, she had a light about her that warmed everyone around her."
U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin issued a statement that said:
“Chicago and Illinois have lost a great and caring woman. Those of us whose lives were touched by her warm smile and inner strength will dearly miss Maggie Daley.
“Loretta and I have lost a dear friend but feel blessed to have traveled part of our life's journey with her and Rich. 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.
“Our thoughts and prayers go out to Rich, the Daley family and the many who will join us in mourning Maggie's passing.”
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