Chicago’s former first lady remembered at wake

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CHICAGO (AP) — Hundreds of mourners streamed through a downtown cultural center Sunday to pay their respects to former Chicago first lady Maggie Daley at a public wake and visitation.

CHICAGO (AP) — Hundreds of mourners streamed through a downtown cultural center Sunday to pay their respects to former Chicago first lady Maggie Daley at a public wake and visitation.

A choir sang in the background as hundreds walked by a closed casket, flower arrangements and a large photograph of a smiling Daley, the wife of former Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley.

The line wrapped almost around the entire Chicago Cultural Center as mourners waited in the rain. Among them was retired teacher Margie Zaugh of Chicago, who clutched an arrangement of pink tulips. The flowers were reportedly Daley’s favorite and a tulip was even named after her. The “Tulipa Maggie Daley” is planted along the city’s Magnificent Mile shopping district.

“I can’t see tulips without thinking of her,” Zaugh said. “She was a great lady.”

The former Chicago first lady, who had been diagnosed with breast cancer in 2002, died Thursday night. Mourners remembered her as a reserved and dignified presence at her husband’s side during his 22 eventful years as mayor.

The public wake was planned until 10 p.m. Sunday. The former mayor was in attendance along with current Mayor Rahm Emanuel and U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin. Memorial books were on display for the public at City Hall, the Cultural Center and Gallery 37, a downtown shopping center.

A public Mass was scheduled for Monday at Old St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in Chicago.

Maggie Daley was also remembered for her smile and some of those attending the wake said she was an inspiration for those battling cancer.

Bernice Cherry, a 63-year-old retired teacher and breast cancer survivor, said she met Daley at a school event; Daley created an afterschool program called After School Matters.

“She was always very pleasant,” Cherry said. “She encouraged me.”

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.

(AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

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