Cook County Board remembers Maggie Daley


Cook County Board

paid tribute to

Maggie Daley

on Wednesday, with Commissioner

John Daley

remembering his late sister-in-law and the impact she had on Chicagoans.

“She was a hope to people, she affected peoples’ lives,” Daley said. “Today, I met a woman who just said to me, she gave me hope. I’m living with


, I fight this every single day and I saw her go through it.”

Maggie Daley was 68 when she died on Thanksgiving evening, with former Mayor

Richard Daley

and her family at her side. She had been treated for metastatic

breast cancer

since 2002.

She is perhaps best known for her work with After School Matters, a nonprofit she founded to provide various programs for Chicago children after classes are done for the day. The organization had its roots in Gallery 37, which Maggie Daley co-founded as an art program in 1991 in a vacant lot in the Loop. Mrs. Daley also was an advocate for the city's museums and other cultural institutions, and many arts patrons have said she pushed her husband to be more supportive of them.


Rahm Emanuel

has said he is talking with the Daley family to try to figure out the best way to permanently acknowledge what she meant to Chicago. Renaming the

Chicago Cultural Center

is a possibility. A women's cancer center at

Northwestern Memorial Hospital

already bears her name. And DePaul University christened a building in its downtown campus after her and her husband.

The commissioner described his sister-in-law as someone who was the last to leave Christmas parties, and that she was one always encouraging others to dance to the end.

“That’s how I’ll remember her, the love, her smile, and, on behalf of my family, I would like to extend our gratitude,” Daley said. “As has been said, my mom saved the Cultural Center from the wrecking ball and Maggie was one who was able to preserve it. There’s many ways to remember her and I know I’ve said this before, and

Dr. Seuss

had a quote, let us not cry because it’s over, but let us smile because it happened. She brought a smile to everyone and I thank her.”

County Board President

Toni Preckwinkle

, who served as 4th Ward alderman before taking office last December, said she remembers encountering the former first lady at various events.

“My favorite, frankly, were

the Christmas

parties that the aldermen and the mayor had,” Preckwinkle said. “She was unfailingly the life of the party. The last one that I attended before I took this job, she insisted that all of us sing Christmas carols around the piano, and led the singing herself, and was just frankly a real joy to be around.”