Margaret Daley touched lives of many

By Catholic New World
Sunday, December 4, 2011

Maggie Daley, 68, Chicago’s first lady for 22 years, died Nov. 24 after a long struggle with breast cancer.

She was at home and surrounded by her husband, former Mayor Richard M. Daley, and her three surviving children on Thanksgiving evening when she passed away.

Mrs. Daley, who was known for her radiant smile and unflappable style, generally stayed in the background of her husband’s political career. However, she was known for her work on behalf of the Chicago Cultural Center and for developing the non-profit After School Matters to provide activities for Chicago Public School students.

In a statement, Cardinal George said:

“My deepest sympathies go out to Mayor Richard M. Daley on the death of his wife, Margaret. Mrs. Daley lived for her husband and children and, in her graceful way, she touched as well the lives of many in Chicago, especially school children and people with special needs. While many grieve her loss, it is the life of her husband that is most affected. As I remember her before the Lord, he too will be frequently in my prayers.”

Raised in Mount Lebanon, Pa., she came to Chicago after graduating from the University of Dayton for a job with the Xerox Corp. She met the future mayor at a Christmas party in 1970 and the two married in March 1972, while Richard M. Daley was running for a state senate seat.

Daughter Nora was born in 1973, and son Patrick came two years later. Kevin, the family’s third child, was born in 1978 with spina bifada and died just before his third birthday. Her youngest child, Elizabeth, was born in 1983.

Mrs. Daley was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2002. The disease spread throughout her body, and in recent years she used crutches, a walker and a wheelchair. Even so, the upbeat public attitude she maintained became an inspiration, especially to others suffering from cancer.

In addition to her husband and children, Mrs. Daley is survived by three grandchildren. A funeral Mass was celebrated Nov. 28 at Old St. Patrick’s Church by the family’s longtime pastor, Father Jack Wall.