November 24, 2011

Statement from Mayor Emanuel Regarding the Passing of Former First Lady Maggie Daley

Mayor's Press Office    312.744.3334

Tonight we grieve for the Daley family.  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.  Of all her accomplishments, Maggie’s 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.  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.

We are grateful to Maggie for lending her shining spirit to Chicago in so many ways. She inspired all of us with her commitment to children and the arts. She revealed her grace through her battle with cancer. 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.

Every person in this city, one way or another, has been touched by her vision and determination.  In the summer of 1991, Maggie started an after school program that apprenticed teenagers to learn their crafts from professional artists in a fun, safe environment.  I remember the first time Maggie gave me a tour of the headquarters:  a tent village they had put up on an empty lot downtown.  There were just two hundred students.  Twenty years later, twenty thousand Chicago students are busy learning, growing, and building a brighter future – all because of Maggie.

On the fifth floor of City Hall hangs a beautiful mural that was created by some of those young artists from Maggie’s program.  I pass it when I come to work every morning and when I leave every evening. It reminds me that, at the end of the day, everything I do in that office as Mayor of Chicago is measured by her standard – to leave behind a city that is worthy of our children.  That was the standard she lived by.  That is what she leaves to us. So, join me in comforting the whole Daley family, and let us commit to carrying on Maggie's life's work to build that brighter future for the City of
Chicago, together.