Maggie Daley

A collection of stories, tweets, and tributes chronicling the life and impact of Chicago's former first lady.

Maggie on the Move, from our April 1994 archives:

At a time when Hillary Rodham Clinton is breaking the pattern for the modern political wife, Maggie Daley has molded her own role: more active in civic affairs than was, say, her mother-in-law, Eleanor “Sis” Daley, yet above the hubbub of public life. "Maybe that’s how she preserves her personal life, her own identity, because she is in control of it," adds Porter. “That way she doesn’t have to worry about having to be invisible. She knows who she is.”

In private, friends say, Maggie Daley is a funny, fun-loving first lady whose nickname for the mayor is “Lou.” “Some people take a sip of life, other people take a gulp,” says Avis LaVelle, Mayor Daley’s former press secretary. “She takes a gulp.” Barbara Rinella, a friend from the early Junior League days, says, “She greets you even if she can’t remember your name with the big smile and a ‘Hey, babe, how're you doing?’ I thought, boy, that covers everything.”

She wears her blondish hair brushed back, and, at about age 50, she has become—as one friend puts it— “just comfortably round.” This friend adds, “I have always thought of her as someone who was very pretty, always looked nice and in style, but never dazzled you with great style. It wasn’t high fashion. It was just really appropriate.”

At home, she isn't afraid to let the mayor know her views. “She fights with him,” says another friend who knows them well. Shirley Ryan, who with her husband, insurance magnate Patrick Ryan, is close to both Daleys, recalls that the mayor told her recently, “People ask me what I think about reporters’ comments. They must understand that the only person I really care if she likes me or not is Maggie.”

First Lady Put Her Stamp on City
Chicago Tribune, April 2011

"There has never been and may never be a Chicago first lady of greater impact, influence and inspiration than Maggie Daley."

Everyone Knew that Maggie Daley Meant the Arts
Chicago Tribune, November 2011

"Uninterested in the trappings of the socialite, Maggie Daley was not synonymous with glittering opening nights, celebrity sycophancy or elitist artistic salons. Neither she nor Chicago ever had much patience for that. She saw the arts as a tool to change young lives."

Maggie Daley Found Her Place—With Style and Poise
Chicago Tribune, November 2011

"Think of how many would have cozied up to her, smiling and probing and smiling some more, hoping she'd make just one mistake they could use. Think of what that does to your heart. And she endured it all with public grace."

Editorial: ‘It’s been a good life’ — Maggie Daley
Sun-Times, November 2011

"As a couple, Maggie Daley was the yin to Rich Daley’s yang. Where the former mayor could be gruff and impatient, she was kind and accepting. She softened and humanized the mayor, leaving him — and many of us — near tears when he struggled to answer reporters’ questions about her long struggle with cancer."

Photograph: E. Jason Wambsgans, Chicago Tribune