I’m sad to share that Gayle McCormick O’Connor died suddenly in her sleep on Sunday, October 18, 2020. Gayle was a longtime legal technology marketing specialist. If you hadn’t the luck to know her, you doublessly noticed her at any of dozens of legal tech conferences. Gayle was a star, truly a nova who shone brightly and cared passionately about her colleagues, friends and, above all, her son, Seamus and husband, Tom O’Connor–e-discovery and LegalTech thought leader and my dear friend.
Gayle’s luminosity was no accident. She worked at it. Gayle turned heads. Gayle danced in front of the band. She dressed to the nines in footwear that defied gravity and description. Gayle was a canvas for her art and her art was celebration. I’ve seen Gayle spin atop the bar in a packed Vegas biker bar. I’ve sung Viva Las Vegas with Tom and Gayle at the top of our lungs beside the Bellagio fountains. Just a month ago, Gayle sang Happy Birthday to me in her unforgettable Marilyn Monroe-Seducing-John-Kennedy style. Gayle was a seductress. She unapologetically called herself “Cougar.” Gayle’s tales of trysts with rock stars in the 70’s could have inspired Almost Famous. Gayle lived large and loved large. The public Gayle was sensational. She defied age to change her, and age demurred.
Yet, there was a private side to Gayle; a sweet, maternal aspect that appeared when the makeup and stilettos came off and she was tired, sore and having a cigarette on the porch. This Gayle deeply missed her mothers, who died in quick succession less than two years ago. This Gayle was frustrated by COVID and pained by politics. She found solace in her family and friends. Gayle was unendingly proud of Seamus, always her deep well of joy. I’m certain that no wife was ever more supported and adored by her husband than Gayle O’Connor was by Tom O’Connor. Gayle was Tom’s prize. He worshipped her, and she him. After thirty-one years of marriage on their own terms, Tom’s eyes still sparkled when Gayle was the center of attention. He was so proud to be her husband. Who wouldn’t envy them? They were blessed to have each other. They should have had more time, for themselves, and for all of us who love them.
Tom and Gayle. Saying that is like saying “red beans and rice.” Perfect together. I cannot believe she’s gone, but she lives on in the many happy stories we will tell of her and the light she brought to our lives.
The Irish have a blessing for the departed that seems right for a McCormick O’Connor: “May the road rise to meet you, and the wind always be at your back. May the sun shine warm on your face and the rains fall softly on your fields. And until we meet again, may God hold you gently in the palm of his hand.”
If there’s a rock-and-roll heaven, you’ll find Gayle right up front with the band. She’ll be dancing and all eyes will be on her.
Tom is planning a musical celebration of Gayle’s life for 3:30pm Saturday afternoon, October 24 at Bayou St. John. Here are the details in Tom’s words:
“For anyone in New Orleans, on Sat Oct 24 we’re going to do a New Orleans celebration of Gayle’s life at her place, 3234 Grand Route St.John. (that’s between Moss St and the Esplanade) We’ll walk down to the Bayou (half a block), I’ll say a (very) few words, have a tribute song from her friends Maggie & Kess, scatter some ashes, then go back to her house for some music on the porch from 4 to 6 by Glenn David Andrews, one of Gayle’s favorite New Orleans musicians.”
“We’re still in COVID-19 restrictions folks so wear masks and socially distance in order to allow the celebration to go off without a hitch. If you bring flowers, please bring yellow flowers …it was her favorite color.”
“Donations can be made in her name to the Grace House residential treatment center for women in New Orleans at https://www.bridgehouse.org/support-us/donate/“