Maggie Daley

Maggie Daley

The Chicago City Council today remembered Maggie Daley, the city's much-adored first lady for more than 20 years.

Daughter Nora Daley Conroy at times smiled and laughed, and at others dabbed away tears, as aldermen and Mayor Rahm Emanuel honored her late mother.

Aldermen noted Maggie Daley’s civic activities, especially her founding and leadership of the After School Matters program. They noted her dignity in living with metastatic breast cancer. And they recalled her personal side.

Ald. Richard Mell, 33rd, recollected how Maggie Daley encouraged him and his late wife when their granddaughter was born with medical issues. Ald. Patrick O’Connor, 40th, recalled a humorous moment with Maggie and her husband, former Mayor Richard Daley.

On a tour bus during a trip to Birmingham, England, the mayor was holding forth. Maggie Daley told him, “Sit down Louie, we’re not in Chicago anymore, we don’t have to listen to this,” O’Connor said. The former mayor, he said, smiled and sat down.

O’Connor said he later asked why she called him “Louie,” and this is how he recalled her response: “Because every once in a while he thinks he’s the king of France and I have to tell him.”

Emanuel said the tributes offered at the council meeting were “a testament . . .  to how special your mother was to all of us. And as I said just a little over a month ago, Mayor Daley was the head of the city, Maggie was its heart.”

Maggie Daley was 68 when she died on Thanksgiving Day. As her daughter left the council chambers with teary eyes, she declined comment. Former Mayor Daley and the family’s other two surviving children were not present.