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Updated: December 30, 2011 8:11AM
Excerpts from Patrick Daley’s eulogy for his mother:
“Our mother had a yearning for adventure, traveling abroad from a young age and inspiring her friends and family to do the same. She was always encouraging us to explore new cultures and experiences in order to expand our horizons and expand our lives.
“Our mother loved the simple joys of existence. Mom always lived in the present, enjoying life, laughter and the occasional piece of dark chocolate. She was the first one out and the last one off the dance floor. She was a singer, encouraging everyone else, sometimes very strongly, to join her.
“Mom’s infectious smile that was always so welcoming and full of grace made such an impact, even if the meeting was brief and many years ago. Our Mom’s faith and spirituality were interwoven into the fabric of her daily life. She was respectful of tradition but never bound to it.
“We all know she was far from being a softie. Mom demanded excellence and expected greatness from all. However, in our quest for excellence, she always cautioned us ‘not to neglect members in our communities who might not have the education, or the resources, or who many have been 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.
“You only have to walk around the city and see all the institutions on which she has left her imprint, and there were many. There are two that were closest to her heart: The Frances Xavier Warde School and After School Matters.
“To most of us, a vacant lot on State Street was a vacant lot, empty. But mom saw a home for a summer arts program for teenagers. And that was the beginning of After School Matters.
“Mom was a tireless leader who not only had strategic vision, but the enthusiasm and work ethic to make those visions a reality. When mom created After School Matters and Frances Xavier Warde, one of her imperatives is people can and will learn from people different from themselves ... different social strata, diverse ethnic and religious backgrounds and varying levels of disability, Mom knew that with diversity came creativity and beauty.
“As a mother, she was the embodiment of unconditional yet tough love. As a grandmother, we saw her move from tough love and discipline to tenderness and indulgence.
“Mom inspired us with her endless wisdom, her ability to keep us all balanced and centered. Mom and Dad’s love was a true partnership, They gave everything to each other and got so much more in return, Our parents were able to accomplish great things in this world, and it was only made possible by their everlasting friendship, love, and support for one another. We have all been privileged to witness this for the last 39 years.
“Her Message was simple: Be engaged; be passionate; have respect for others.
“Mom would want us to honor her passing but also to celebrate her beautiful life by never wavering on our commitments or losing sight of purpose in our lives. Mom said: ‘Serving others is the ultimate reward, because it is the reward that truly creates happiness.’
“She served us all with grace, humility, strength and inspiration, especially in times of adversity. For Chicagoans, she was a first lady. For her organizations, she was a leader.
“And to so many others, a great friend. For us, she was a grandmother, an aunt, a sister, a wife and a mother. We are so proud of our mother. She led such a positive life, impacting so many.
“Yet for such an accomplished woman with so many professional and personal commitments, she always had the time to simply be our mother.
“Mom, we thank you; we love you; we miss you. And hold Kevin close until we see you again.”