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/“
Michael Quartararo said:
Thank you Craig. Just thank you. RIP GMO.
Joanne Sherman said:
Thank you Craig for sharing these touching words about our dear friend Gayle. You’ve captured the many dimensions of her wonderful spirit.
Kyle Brent said:
A really touching tribute Craig. My heart goes out to Tom.
Thank you Craig. You filled in gaps about Gayle that I didn’t know. She was a great life force!! Hugs for Tom….
Sarena Regazzoni said:
What a beautiful and touching tribute to Gayle, clearly a wonderful force for good. Condolences to Tom and her son.
Roger Chadderdon said:
Thank you Craig.
Mary Mack said:
A beautiful tribute for a beautiful spirit. Thank you for honoring all of Gayle. Our condolences to TomO and Seamus on their very great loss..
Wonderful, Craig. Thank you for saying what so many of us needed to hear. Gayle will be missed because she touched so many of us. The legal technology conferences (and New Orleans) just won’t be the same.
Carole Levitt said:
That was lovely Craig. I never met a law librarian quite like Gayle. She certainly brightened our profession.
Steve Wade 🇨🇦 (@sgwade56) said:
Truly sad news Craig. I had the pleasure of meeting Gayle in NY a few years ago. Definitely an experience I will not forget. My condolences go out to Tom and his family..
Doug Kaminski said:
Beautiful tribute and memorial, Craig. You are so right that she is definitely gone too soon. 😢
Kaylee Walstad said:
Beautifully written and encapsulates all of her essence, she and her sparkling effervescence will be forever remembered. Big virtual hugs to Tom and Seamus-
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Jonathan Maas said:
Thank you Craig – beautiful words.
Peggy Wechsler said:
I’m so sorry to hear this news. Gayle was everything mentioned in this posting and more. So much life, wonderful presence, smiles for everyone. Hugs to Tom and family. So many sweet memories and I hope they bring you some comfort. Knowing Gayle she would want the party to continue!
Dave Tiller said:
Thank you Craig. Gayle was unique. I can hear her laugh and see the joy and sparkle in her eyes. We used to talk about her bodybuilding competitions, then pivot to marketing in eDiscovery, and so many other topics. I will miss her. Condolences to Tom and Seamus. My prayers go out to them and all who knew Gayle.
Sean Broderick said:
So nicely said, Craig. Thank you. A highlight for me of 2019 was getting to break bread in New Orleans with you, Tom and Gayle (with birthday cake and all!). My condolences go to you, Tom, Seamus and all her friends and family. So glad there will be music to celebrate her life.
Tammie Fletchr Miller said:
Gayle was my friend. even though I had not talked o her in many years I always knew she was my friend. So Sorry to hear of her passing. RIP
Ora Jones said:
It was privilege to meet her. She was a kind and sweet soul. RIP Gayle I will forever cherish my picture on her Harley.
Doug Austin said:
Thank you, Craig! Beautiful words for a delightful lady and the angel picture of Gayle is just perfect.
Jim Moore said:
Craig, thanks for your beautiful tribute to Gayle. I went to high school with her in Redmond, Wash. This news has stopped me in my tracks today and a lot of Gayle’s classmates feel the same way. When I saw her last, at our 40th reunion I believe it was in 2014, she was the same Gayle you knew and we knew, vibrant as ever, out there as ever. There was hardly a time in high school that we didn’t see Gayle with a smile on her face. A lot of people throw out the saying “one of a kind” but Gayle truly was. Dammit. Please pass along condolences to her husband and son. We loved her in Redmond. I’m glad she stayed true to herself and remained the crazy, fun-loving girl that we knew as a teenager.
Betty Lou pesquera said:
Gayle was a bright , beautiful star, giving light to all of us priveledged to know her. I only met her a few times , but she was always very open with herself. I’ll never forget her on the dance floor and always fashionable in true Gayle style. Blessings to her husband and son.
Dee Weinstein said:
I met Gayle about 18 yrs ago in Seattle. She always was smiling and yes….dressed to the nines. I remember her speaking of her son in such a loving tone….It was obvious how much she loved and adored him. We shared the love of motorcycles. Ride free Gayle. ❤
Victoria Simosa said:
Beautifully written. Thank you and hugs to you Gayle.