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Friday
Nov252011

Former Chicago First Lady Maggie Daley Dies at 68

Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images(CHICAGO) -- Maggie Daley, the former first lady of the city of Chicago for more than two decades, died on Thanksgiving night, after a long battle with metastatic breast cancer. She was 68 years old.

Mrs. Daley died surrounded by family–her husband, former Chicago Mayor Richard Daley, and her three children.

“She was heroic. She had great dignity, and she was an inspiration for all of us,”  Dr. Steven Rosen, director of the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University, told the Chicago Tribune.  Lurie had cared for Mrs. Daley since her diagnosis more than nine years ago.

In a statement, Mayor Rahm Emanuel paid tribute to the beloved woman who married into the Daley family, a powerful political dynasty, and left a legacy of her own.

“Chicago has lost a warm and gracious first lady who contributed immeasurably to our city,” he said. “While Mayor Daley served as the head of this city, Maggie was its heart.”

And from Illinois Governor Pat Quinn: ”The  state of Illinois lost a great treasure.  Maggie Daley was a woman for all seasons, who treated Chicago residents like family and served up hope and inspiration wherever she went.”

While raising a family of her own, Mrs Daley championed childrens’ programs and the arts. She helped launch Gallery 37, which provides job training and a summer arts program for Chicago children. She also focused on After School Matters, a private program that provides teenagers with after-school activities and job skills. The program now teaches thousands of city public school students about dance, art, jazz and sports–and offers programs in robotics and urban farming

Mrs. Daley won numerous awards for her work, and both programs were duplicated in cities nationwide.

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