A city mourns…and remembers

Official portrait of Mayor Richard J. Daley.

Official portrait of Mayor Richard J. Daley. Photo: László Kondor. MSLASZ13_0002_0010_034

Forty years ago today, on December 20, 1976,  Chicago Mayor Richard J. Daley died suddenly. His death marked the end of his 21-year tenure as mayor and of an even longer career in public service that dated back to at least 1930, when he became deputy county treasurer in 1930.

Sign at Soldier Field: "We Join in Mourning Our Great Leader Richard J. Daley. Goodbye, Friend,"

Sign at Soldier Field: “We Join in Mourning Our Great Leader Richard J. Daley. Goodbye, Friend,” January 1977. RJD_04_01_0037_0009_004

His passing elicited an outpouring of grief from thousands of Chicagoans and others who braved subfreezing weather to pay their respects.

Chicagoans pay their respects to Mayor Richard J. Daley. MSLASZ13_0003_0005_002

Chicagoans pay their respects to Mayor Richard J. Daley. MSLASZ13_0003_0005_002

The city council memorialized the mayor with a unanimous resolution, commending, among other things, Daley’s “enthusiasm for life and his ability to meet any challenge.”

City Council resolution in recognition of Mayor Richard J. Daley's passing, page 1. RJD_03_01_0006_0004_005a

City Council resolution in recognition of Mayor Richard J. Daley’s passing, page 1. RJD_03_01_0006_0004_005a

City Council resolution in recognition of Mayor Richard J. Daley's passing, page 2. RJD_03_01_0006_0004_005b

City Council resolution in recognition of Mayor Richard J. Daley’s passing, page 2. RJD_03_01_0006_0004_005b

Numerous dignitaries attended the mayor’s funeral, including Vice President Nelson Rockefeller, and Secretary of State Henry Kissinger. Presdient-elect Jimmy Carter wrote that he was “proud to have known” the mayor.

President-elect Jimmy Carter expresses his condolences on the death of Mayor Richard J. Daley. RJD_01_02_0001_0003_003

President-elect Jimmy Carter expresses his condolences on the death of Mayor Richard J. Daley. RJD_01_02_0001_0003_003

Former President Richard Nixon wrote the Daley family, remembering that the mayor had “always put patriotism above partisanship.”

Former President Richard M. Nixon expresses his condolences on the death of Mayor Richard J. Daley. RJD_01_02_0003_0007_008

Former President Richard M. Nixon expresses his condolences on the death of Mayor Richard J. Daley. RJD_01_02_0003_0007_008

Those who knew, worked with, and admired Daley proceeded to commemorate his long years of public service to Chicago and to Illinois. The Chicago Bar Association held one of the first of these commemorative events. Judge Abraham Lincoln Marovitz, a close friend who had sworn in the mayor for each of the latter’s six inaugurations, said

Richard Daley was the consummate public servant. He was a lawyer and he never forgot it. He had but one client, the City of Chicago….And the only fee ever sought, was the appreciation of his constituents, and the knowledge, that his efforts were instrumental in making Chicago a better place in which to live.

Abraham Lincoln Marovitz, remarks at commemorative luncheon tribute, January 25, 1977, SIIIss1B7-3, Richard J. Daley Collection

Commemorative luncheon tribute to the Honorable Richard J. Daley, hosted by the Chicago Bar Association. RJD_03_01_0006_0004_004

Commemorative luncheon tribute to the Honorable Richard J. Daley, hosted by the Chicago Bar Association. RJD_03_01_0006_0004_004

Other commemorations followed…

The Richard J. Daley Bicentennial Plaza:

Opening of the Richard J. Daley Bicentennial Plaza, 1978. RJD_03_01_0007_0009_006

Opening of the Richard J. Daley Bicentennial Plaza, 1978. RJD_03_01_0007_0009_006

Springfield, Illinois:

Invitation to the unveiling of a statue to commemorate Mayor Richard J. Daley, 1981. RJD_03_01_0007_0009_003

Invitation to the unveiling of a statue to commemorate Mayor Richard J. Daley, 1981. RJD_03_01_0007_0009_003

A community college:

Program for dedication of the Richard J. Daley Community College, 1982. RJD_03_01_0007_0009_011

Program for dedication of the Richard J. Daley Community College, 1982. RJD_03_01_0007_0009_011

A public library branch:

Dedication of the Richard J. Daley branch of the Chicago Public Library in Bridgeport, 1989. RJD_03_01_0007_0009_005

Dedication of the Richard J. Daley branch of the Chicago Public Library in Bridgeport, 1989. RJD_03_01_0007_0009_005

Mayor Daley’s alma mater:

Advertisement for statue dedication for Mayor Richard J. Daley at his old high school, De La Salle Institute. RJD_03_01_0007_0009_002

Advertisement for statue dedication for Mayor Richard J. Daley at his old high school, De La Salle Institute. RJD_03_01_0007_0009_002

In 2002, on the motion of Aldermen Ed Burke and Burton Natarus, the Chicago City Council celebrated Richard J. Daley’s 100th birthday, noting his “remarkable legacy” and proclaiming “May 1st, 2002, Mayor Richard J. Daley Day.”

City Council resolution honoring the 100th birthday of late Mayor Richard J. Daley, page 1, 2002. RJD_03_01_0007_0011_001a

City Council resolution honoring the 100th birthday of late Mayor Richard J. Daley, page 1, 2002. RJD_03_01_0007_0011_001a

City Council resolution honoring the 100th birthday of late Mayor Richard J. Daley, page 2, 2002. RJD_03_01_0007_0011_001b

City Council resolution honoring the 100th birthday of late Mayor Richard J. Daley, page 2, 2002. RJD_03_01_0007_0011_001b