One year since Maggie Daley's death, ex-Mayor Daley talks about legacy of Chicago's former first lady

November 16, 2012 (CHICAGO)

It was one year ago on Thanksgiving that Mrs. Daley died after a long bout with cancer. Friday, the former mayor talked with ABC 7's Paul Meincke about her legacy.

"You know, reflecting on 40, really 41 years with Maggie, it was a wonderful life," Daley said. "So you talk about 40 years of marriage, and dating one year, so I have good memories and that's what you look at."

Daley says he finds strength in those memories, and there is certainly pride in Maggie Daley's remarkable legacy, which includes a school Mrs. Daley was instrumental in starting and a section of Grant Park being remade and named for Chicago's former first lady.

"I think Maggie would be smiling in heaven, saying every 5-year-old and every 19-year-old can use the park. I love it," said Daley.

His life after Maggie's passing, after leaving the fifth floor, remains a schedule filled: Guest lecturing on urban affairs, teaching a University of Chicago class on public policy, international travel -- often on behalf of the law firm where he now works.

When you ask if he misses being mayor, Daley answers by saying he loved the job. But maybe, just maybe, he misses those daily exchanges with reporters. It was accessibility by design.

"You can only have so much access to the people, and the way you do that is through the media," Daley said. "Sometimes good. Sometimes bad...There wasn't a lot of preparation. OK, you have to prepare for it. I never prepared for it."

And there may be another thing he misses that habit won't allow him to change.

"I see some graffiti or some abandoned can't step away from that. I can't step away from that," said Daley. "I'm not gonna be one of these citizens that keep calling. Rahm will say, 'I can't take him. He keeps calling up.' "

There have been plenty of ups and downs for the former mayor over the past year, a year for him of remarkable change.

But Daley maintains a busy schedule and a robust sense of humor. Those things help. So too does the power of good memories.

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