Emanuel working on Maggie Daley tribute

After days of tributes to the late Maggie Daley by people who knew and admired her, Mayor Rahm Emanuel 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 — where thousands turned out for Maggie Daley’s public wake Sunday at a building she spent years helping preserve — is a possibility, Emanuel said Tuesday. But the mayor hinted at other ideas.

“I, too, am thinking of something, but it’s not for me to do, it’s for me to do with the family,” Emanuel said when asked about the Cultural Center. “I do it in a partnership with them to somehow give a voice to a life’s work on behalf of the children and on behalf of the city, and the depth of her affection for the city and the people that make it up.”

“I’m in conversation with them,” Emanuel said, while offering no specifics. Discussions are likely to take place after the family’s grieving period.

Maggie Daley, who died Thanksgiving night at age 68 after living with metastatic breast cancer for nearly a decade, left her imprint all over Chicago during the 22 years her husband, Richard Daley, was mayor.

She is perhaps best known for her work with After School Matters, a non-profit 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.

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.

But according to Emanuel, any permanent honor will likely be inadequate given the decades she dedicated to Chicago.

“There’s nothing I would name that fully would grasp her contribution to making this city a richer and stronger city,” Emanuel said.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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