Sandra Day O’Connor, a trailblazing figure in American jurisprudence, not only made history as the first woman to serve on the Supreme Court but also exemplified the art of balancing a distinguished career with the joys and challenges of motherhood.
Born on March 26, 1930, in El Paso, Texas, Sandra shared a rich family life with her husband, John O’Connor, and their three sons: Scott, Brian, and Jay.
The O’Connor household, characterized by Sandra’s unwavering commitment to both her legal profession and her role as a mother, was a testament to her resilience and dedication.
After the birth her son, Brian, in 1960, Sandra took a five-year hiatus from her legal career. Far from being a time of rest, she busied herself with volunteer work and leadership roles in civic and social organizations, including the Junior League of Arizona and the Maricopa County Young Republicans.
Sandra’s commitment to family extended beyond conventional expectations. When she resumed her legal career in 1965 as the assistant attorney general for Arizona, she negotiated a unique arrangement to maintain work-life balance. Opting to work two-thirds time for half pay, she prioritized being home when her sons returned from school.
Her sons, Scott, Brian, and Jay, fondly recall their mother’s boundless energy and diverse interests. Sandra’s approach to parenting was all-encompassing, ensuring her sons had exposure to a variety of activities, from swimming and ice-skating to golfing and dance lessons. The O’Connor household was a vibrant mix of fun and learning, fostering an environment where the boys could explore their interests.
While Jay pursued a career in business, eventually becoming a software industry executive, Scott and Brian found their paths in commercial real estate. The key, they note, was not meeting parental expectations but finding what they loved and excelled at.
Sandra Day O’Connor passed away in Phoenix on December 1, 2023, at the age of 93. Her legacy extends beyond her groundbreaking legal career, resonating in the fond memories of her sons, who remember her as a loving, dedicated mother and a role model who deftly navigated the delicate balance between career and family.