Chicago bid farewell to one of its finest First Ladies, and come to think of it, one of its finest ladies period. She inspired us with After School Matters, a program she started and developed for the “kids.”
Twenty years ago, After School Matters was born through the passion and commitment of Maggie Daley, a true visionary who inspired Chicago, the nation and leaders from around the world with her passion for providing teenagers with opportunities to find paths to meaningful lives.
Today, we celebrate Maggie’s optimism, devotion and courageous spirit, which will live on through the accomplishments of the tens of thousands of teens whose futures are now brighter because of her boundless commitment to their lives and their potential.
We will honor her legacy by continuing to dedicate ourselves to the work she loved so dearly, because in her famous words — “After School Matters … it really does.”
Maggie Daley’s accomplishments were more than After School Matters. The influences of Maggie on her husband, Mayor Richard M. Daley, will never be fully known. We do know some. She saved the Chicago Cultural Center from demolition. She influenced then Mayor Daley on the visionary Millennium Park, which is now an internationally recognized achievement.
So much more.
The city is a better place for us Chicagoans today because Maggie Daley lived and breathed here.
Like all mothers, the greatest legacy is the family. The influence on her husband as I mentioned. Her children, her daughters Nora Daley Conroy and Elizabeth “Lally” Daley Hotchkiss. And her son Patrick. And the son they never forgot, Kevin, who may have left the earth at age 2, but never left the hearts of the Daley family and son Patrick reminded all in his eulogy.
Patrick Daley told the congregation he’ll always remember his mother “enjoying life, laughter and an occasional piece of dark chocolate. She was the first person on the dance floor and the last off. She was hardly a softie. Our mom loved the city of Chicago and its children. As a mother, she was the embodiment of unconditional and tough love. As a grandmother, we saw her move beyond tough love to tenderness “
Addressing his mother directly, he spoke of his late brother, Kevin, who died at age 2 of complications of spina bifida: “Hold Kevin close until we see you again.”
We are all thankful for Maggie Daley.
Send John Presta an email and your story ideas or suggestions, firstname.lastname@example.org. John is the author of an award-winning book, the 2010 Winner of the USA National Best Book award for African-American studies, published by The Elevator Group Mr. and Mrs. Grassroots: How Barack Obama, Two Bookstore Owners, and 300 Volunteers did it. Also available an eBook on Amazon. John is also a member of the Society of Midland Authors and is a book reviewer of political books for the New York Journal of Books