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Maggie Daley Passes Away

By Chuck Sudo in News on Nov 25, 2011 4:10AM

Former Chicago First Lady Maggie Daley passed away shortly after 6 p.m. this evening at the age of 68. Mrs. Daley was a champion for children's issues and the arts throughout her life via After School Matters, the charity she founded and was chairperson.

Born in Mount Lebanon, PA July 21, 1943, the former Margaret Ann Corbett was an executive at Xerox Corporation when she met Richard M. Daley at a Christmas party in 1970; they were married a year later. She worked hard to maintain privacy for her family but, as the Tribune's Rick Kogan writes, wielded great influence over her husband behind the scenes. After School Matters benefited greatly from the city during Richard Daley's mayoralty. The destruction of Meigs Field and its transformation into a park was also championed by her.

Mrs. Daley was diagnosed with breast cancer in June 2002 and fought the disease for over nine years. Two years ago she underwent treatment after a cancerous lesion was found in her right leg. But there were signs that Mrs. Daley's health had taken a turn for the worse in recent weeks.

The wedding of the Daley's younger daughter Elizabeth was moved up from New Year's Eve to last week out of deference to her health. Mrs. Daley's family was at her side when she died.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel released a statement that read, in part:

“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.”

Richard Daley's former spokeswoman Jacquelyn Heard thanked well wishers in a statement released by the family:

"The mayor and his family would like to thank the people of Chicago for the kindness they have shown Mrs. Daley over the years, and they appreciate your prayers at this time."