11/28/2011 10:23 am ET Updated Nov 28, 2011

Maggie Daley Funeral: Michelle Obama, Joe Biden Attend Former First Lady's Service (PHOTOS, VIDEO)

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First Lady Michelle Obama arrived in Chicago Monday morning to say goodbye to the city's longtime first lady Maggie Daley, who lost a long battle with metastatic breast cancer Thursday.

A public mass was held at Daley's long-time church, Old St. Patrick's Church, 700 W. Adams at 10:30 a.m. Monday, following a 10 a.m. procession which began at the Chicago Cultural Center. First Lady Michelle Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and his wife Jill flew in for the service.

Other national figures including U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood and former White House senior adviser Valerie Jarrett and David Axelrod also attended the funeral mass. White House Chief of Staff and brother-in-law to Maggie Daley, Bill Daley, attended, along with Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Gov. Pat Quinn, Senators Dick Durbin and Mark Kirk and other city and Cook County officials.

The Sun-Times has more from the funeral mass:

Patrick Daley told the congregation he’ll always remember his mother “enjoying life, laughter and an occasional piece of dark chocolate. She was the first person on the dance floor and the last off. She was hardly a softie. Our mom loved the city of Chicago and its children. As a mother, she was the embodiment of unconditional and tough love. As a grandmother, we saw her move beyond tough love to tenderness “


Rachel Brown, 87, was among those who stood in the cold and listened to the the funeral Mass outside.

“She’s a tower of strength for everyone in the city, especially women,” said Brown, who lives in Garfield Park. “And she just had so much grace through all her troubles.”

On Sunday, Hundreds of people waited outside the Chicago Cultural Center Sunday to pay their respects to Daley Sunday, WBEZ reports. At noon, theaters across Chicago turned off their marquee lights until 10 p.m., the end of the wake, in the former first lady's honor, ABC Chicago reports.

Even though many Chicagoans never had a chance to meet Maggie Daley, thousands showed up to pay their respects over the weekend. Joanna Weiss of Streeterville told the Chicago Sun-Times that Daley was “a champion of the arts" and credited her for saving the building where the Chicago Cultural Center is housed. "The city won’t be the same without her," she told the paper.

Maggie Daley died at home, surrounded by family just after 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving, Thursday, at the age of 68. She was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 2002 and had been in and out of the hospital since then. But despite the illness, she had remained visible in city life through this year.

Mourning Maggie's death, Mayor Rahm Emanuel described the wife of his predecessor, former mayor Richard M. Daley, as the "heart" of the city. Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn said that "the state of Illinois lost a great treasure" with her death. Emanuel is expected to declare an official day of mourning and moment of silence in her honor.

President Obama issued a statement describing Maggie Daley as "an extraordinary woman who dedicated her life to public service."

"While she will be sorely missed, her initiatives on behalf of Chicago's youth live on as national models for how to create environments for children to learn and grow outside the classroom," Obama continued. "Maggie's commitment to children and the people of Chicago was surpassed only by her devotion to her family."

On Saturday, After School Matters participants gathered to honor the former Chicago first lady's memory. "She is the reason I am who I am today because I found people who help me and who support me," one participant in the program, Dorian Rhea, told ABC.

One of Maggie Daley's final public appearances was at her 27-year-old daughter Lally's Nov. 17 wedding. The ceremony had initially been scheduled to take place on New Year's Eve, but had been moved up so that Maggie could fully participate in the festivities. That night, Lally wore the same dress her mother had worn during her 1972 wedding to her father, NBC Chicago reported.

In lieu of flowers, the Daley family has asked that donations be made to either After School Matters or Northwestern Memorial Hospital's Cancer Care Center.

“I just loved this lady,” South Sider Hazel P. Holt told the Chicago Tribune Sunday. “I wish I had one-quarter of her grace. She was a role model for a lot of us.”

A photo gallery of services for Maggie Daley throughout the weekend:



Remembering Maggie