Son Patrick Daley eulogizes mother

November 28, 2011 8:38:43 PM PST
Patrick Daley, son of Richard and Maggie Daley, spoke at his mother's funeral, praising her public work and leadership.

He was flanked by his two sisters, Nora Daley Conroy and Elizabeth Daley Hotchkiss.

"In our everyday life and as a woman who has achieved great things, our mother had a yearning for adventure, traveling abroad, inspiring her friends and family to do the same," he said. "She was always encouraging us to explore new cultures and experiences in order to expand our horizons."

"Mom always lived in the present, enjoying life, laughter and the occasional piece of dark chocolate," Patrick Daley said. "She was the first one out and the last one off the dance floor."

He also said his mom liked to sing and encouraged others to join her.

"Our mom's faith and spirituality were interwoven into the fabric of her daily life," Patrick Daley said. "In our quest for excellence, she always cautioned us not to neglect members of our communities who might not have the education or resources, or who might be too ill or too old to enjoy the freedom the rest of us take for granted. Our mom loved her city and the youth of Chicago, constantly reminded us that Chicago is extraordinarily blessed because of our spirit of optimism. You only have to walk around the city to see the institutions on which she has left her imprint."

He said the closest institutions to Maggie Daley's heart were the Francis Xavier Warde School and After School Matters.

"Mom was one of the founders of the school. Her beloved grandchildren are attendees. She described it saying it was designed as a place for people to experience the joy of learning, to participate in a spiritual quest and to build a strong, moral fiber," said Daley on the Francis Xavier school. About the After School Matters program he said, "Mom saw a home for a summer arts program for teenagers, the beginning of After School Matters. It was not the physical structure that was important. It was the opportunity to improve lives and help build dreams. Mom was a tireless leader with the enthusiasm and work ethic to make her visions reality.

"It was a constantly expanding circle of motherhood to so many of you here today," he said. "As a mother, she was the embodiment of unconditional, yet tough love. We saw her move from tough love to discipline to tenderness and indulgence as a grandmother."

Patrick Daley praised his mother's wisdom and his parents' love.

"They gave everything to each other and received so much more in return. Our parents accomplished so much, made possible by their friendship, love and support for each other. We have all been privileged to witness this. We have been inspired by the way she lived her life. Her message was simple -- be engaged, be passionate and have respect for others," Patrick Daley said. "Mom said serving others is the ultimate reward because it is the reward that truly creates happiness.

"To us, she was a grandmother, aunt, sister, wife, and mother. We are so proud of our mother. She lived such a positive life, impacting so many. For such an accomplished woman with so many professional and personal commitments, she always had time to simply be our mother," he said.

Daley concluded with a mention of his toddler brother's death decades earlier.

"Mom, we thank you. We love you. We miss you. Hold Kevin close until we see you again."

During the funeral Mass, Maggie Daley's eldest daughter Nora, who helped plan much of the memorials in recent days, read from Proverbs -- words that could have been written about Mrs. Daley.

"She reached out her hands to the poor and extends her arms to the needy. She is clothed in strength and dignity and she laughs at the day to come," said Nora Daley.

Each of the Daleys placed a tulip on her casket. The former mayor was seen adding a soft kiss at the end of the Mass.Their 39-year marriage and decision to put family first were held up as the most important lessons of Mrs. Daley's life.

"Maggie created her own blue law in Chicago. There's not going to be any mayoral events on Sunday. There had to be a family day, a day when people celebrate and nurture the gift of family," said Rev. Jack Wall, pastor emeritus of Old St. Patrick's Catholic Church.

"It was all about family. The family put together this liturgy. They selected the readings and they were very powerful," said Rev. Tom Hurley, Old St. Patrick's.

Mrs. Daley was buried alongside her son Kevin as well Richard J. Daley and Eleanor "Sis" Daley in the family plot at Holy Sepulchre Cemetery in Alsip, Illinois.


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