Sarah “Sally” O’Connor Fallon
Sarah O’Connor Fallon passed away peacefully and surrounded by family on February 1, 2023 in Vero Beach, Florida. Her like will not be seen again.
“Sally” will be missed by her four lucky children and their spouses: Betsy Fallon (Mike Waters), Bill Fallon (Jennifer Shaffer), Andy Fallon (Kim), Molly Bernstein (Kevin); her adored grandchildren: Connor, Madison, Dede, Bitsy, Kelsey, Maddi, Chloe, Naomi, Liam; her admiring brothers; and a host of wonderful nieces and nephews. She also is survived by Lucie, her beloved Cavalier King Charles spaniel, who was a loyal companion through thick and thin.
Sally was born September 12, 1941 in Portage, Wisconsin to Janet Pray O’Connor and Judge Daniel O’Connor. Called “the Duchess” by her father, she made the most of what could fairly be called a charmed childhood in Portage. She dearly loved her five younger brothers -- Theron, Jack, Steve, Dan and Bill. But she wished she’d had a sister. There and everywhere she lived, Sally formed deep friendships, many of which yielded willing “sisters” including sisters-in-law Demaris Brinton, Dianne O’Connor, Mamie O’Connor, Karen O’Connor, Krista Roys and Mary Ann Fallon.
From an early age Sally was a curious and devoted learner with a practical and scientific mind. She took her Portage education to Saint Mary’s College in Notre Dame, Indiana graduating with a degree in biology. A lifelong student, Sally went on to earn two master’s degrees in education, one from Bridgewater State University in her forties and another from Harvard University in her sixties.
Sally drew upon her love of learning throughout a varied teaching career, culminating in seventeen wonder years at Tabor Academy in Marion, Massachusetts, where she taught biology and marine science. Beyond the classroom she became integral to the Tabor community as advisor to many students, adventuresome chaperone for domestic and international trips, valued friend and mentor to colleagues and proud mom and grandmother of Tabor alums -- Molly Bernstein ’93 and Dede Nyhart ’12.
Sally gave generously to and derived great pleasure from active participation in community and social organizations reflecting her wide array of interests. Among them, she served as a docent at the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, was a member of the Junior League of Colorado Springs, co-leader of VASE (Volunteers at Sippican Elementary) and a member of the Marion Garden Group.
She nurtured a lifelong love for her family’s Lake Superior retreat and was a founding director of the Saxine Creek Conservancy.
Sally was an avid bridge player and was known for her culinary expertise -- most especially her “Surefire Popovers.” She cherished her weekly “Girls Night Out” group in whose company she regularly enjoyed, and ordered to specificity, her signature pale pink cosmo.
In 1964, Sally met Jim Fallon at a send-off party for her brother Theron and Jim’s brother Bill who were entering the Peace Corps. Soon after, Jim and Sally were married and for 35 years enjoyed a tremendous partnership in life and parenthood until his unexpected death in 2000. She was blessed -- having not just one love of her life, but two -- marrying Richard “Dick” Arthur in 2009. They shared nine years of marriage and built many fond memories together and with the extended Fallon and Arthur families.
From the Northwoods of Wisconsin to the shores of Buzzards Bay, Sally’s life was a superb blend of devotion, adventure, curiosity, friendship and gratitude.
At her request, a celebration of life will be held in Marion later this spring when the flowers are blooming and the weather is warm.
In honor of Sally, in lieu of flowers, please consider a donation in her memory to:
Tabor Academy, The Marguerite Peet Foster Fund for Marine Science, 232 Front Street Marion, MA 02738
(Sally taught Marine Science as a faculty member at Tabor but also was a dear friend and colleague of Margot Foster. For several years Sally and Margot co-taught a marine biology course for Tabor summer campers.)
The Bow Foundation, P.O. Box 5612, Charlottesville, VA 22905
(The Bow Foundation is dedicated to supporting GNAO1 families through enhanced research and increased awareness. Sally’s granddaughter Maddi Fallon has the GNA01 diagnosis.)