- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 20, 2003

CHICAGO, Feb. 20 (UPI) — Hundreds turned out Thursday to bury Eleanor "Sis" Daley, the widow of Mayor Richard J. Daley and the mother of the city's current chief executive, Richard M. Daley, and former Clinton Commerce Secretary Bill Daley.

Mourners from government officials to ladies from the neighborhood packed the flower-stuffed Nativity of Our Lord Church and spilled over to the steps outside in the South Side neighborhood where the 95-year-old matriarch of the Daley clan spent more than 60 years.

"God said to her, 'I have created you in my image … and you are good,'" the mayor said in his eulogy. "We miss you. We remember you. We love you. Thank you, Mom."

"She was first and foremost wife and mother," the Rev. Gilbert Graham said in his homily. "She was friend and neighbor. She quietly and effectively reached out to everyone she could."

Graham described Daley as "our first lady" and "a beautiful and universally loved lady" who was "compassionate" and "involved."

"She knew persons meant more than possessions," Graham said. "She knew it was not who you knew or what you had, but who you are."

Graham said Mrs. Daley wrote out the instructions for her funeral mass.

"That's why I'm here this morning, doing what I'm doing," Graham said. "She chose me and I felt very honored." He said the instructions also included an admonition: "And tell him to be brief."

Gov. Rod Blagojevich was among the first to arrive at the church. Also on hand were former Rep. Dan Rostenkowski, a protg of Richard J. Daley, and the Rev. Jesse Jackson and his namesake congressman son.

"Sis" and Richard J. Daley married in 1937 and bought their Bridgeport bungalow in 1939. It was in that home that she died on Sunday following a stroke, just a month shy of her 96th birthday.

The mayor said his mother remained an ardent Chicago White Sox fan to the end and would admonish anyone who came to visit her not to touch the remote control if she were involved in watching a game.

"There was nothing highbrow about Mrs. Daley," said neighbor Dorothy Tweedy, 40, who attended the wake Wednesday. "She was just a regular person.

"She was a really splendid lady," the mayor said as mourners streamed by the coffin in the church where his father had his First Holy Communion nearly a century ago and was waked after his death in 1976.

She was interred in a private ceremony at Holy Sepulchre Cemetery.

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