Former U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor Was Married for More Than 50 Years

Allison DeGrushe - Author

Dec. 1 2023, Published 12:51 p.m. ET

Sandra Day O'Connor dances with her husband, John J. O'Connor, at the annual Meridien Ball on Oct. 17, 1998.
Source: Getty Images

The Gist:

  • Sandra Day O'Connor, the first female Supreme Court Justice, has died at the age of 93.
  • She passed away due to complications related to advanced dementia and a respiratory illness.
  • Sandra was married to her husband, John J. O'Connor III, for nearly 57 years until his death in 2009.
  • They had three sons together: Scott, Brian, and Jay.
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Sandra Day O'Connor, a trailblazer who paved the way for women in the legal field as the first female U.S. Supreme Court Justice, has died at the age of 93. The court announced her death in a statement.

In the wake of this news, there is a heightened curiosity among many to delve deeper into Sandra's personal. On that note, keep reading to learn more about Sandra's late husband, John, and their three sons — Scott, Brian, and Jay. Plus, scroll down for details regarding Sandra's cause of death.

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Sandra Day O'Connor testifies at a Senate Hearing in 2012.
Source: Getty Images

Sandra Day O'Connor's husband, John, passed away in 2009.

While in her final year at Stanford Law School, Sandra began dating fellow law review editor and student John J. O'Connor III. Just six months after her graduation, on Dec. 20, 1962, Sandra and John tied the knot at her family's ranch, the Lazy B Ranch, in Greenlee County, Ariz.

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After graduating from law school, John served in the U.S. Army Judge Advocate General's Corps. He was stationed in Frankfurt, West Germany, from 1954 to 1956. Sandra followed him to Germany, where she worked as a civilian lawyer for the Army's Quartermaster Corps.

Sandra Day O'Connor dances with her husband, John J. O'Connor, at their home in 1981.
Source: Getty Images
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Eventually, Sandra and John returned to the States and settled in Maricopa County, Ariz. While there, John worked for the law firm Fennemore, Craig, von Ammon, McClennen & Udall. However, after Sandra was appointed to the United States Supreme Court, John moved with his family to Washington D.C. While living in D.C., John continued to practice law with two firms: Miller & Chevalier and Bryan Cave.

Nearly two decades prior to his passing, John was diagnosed with Alzheimer's. His deteriorating health was a pivotal factor in Sandra Day O'Connor's decision to retire from the Supreme Court in 2005. On November 11, 2009, at the age of 79, John passed away in Phoenix.

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Sandra and John were the proud parents of three kids.

When they left Germany and returned to the States, Sandra and John were intent on starting a family. The pair had three sons: Scott, born in 1958; Brian, born in 1960; and Jay, born in 1962.

In December 2018, Sandra's three sons chatted with AZ Central and shed light on their experiences growing up with the first female Supreme Court Justice as their mother.

Sandra Day O'Connor poses with her husband, John, and their three sons in front of the U.S. Supreme Court building.
Source: Getty Images

(L-R) Brian, John, Sandra, Jay, and Scott O'Connor in front of the U.S. Supreme Court building.

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The lads spoke about walking to and from school every day and engaging in extracurriculars such as sports and music, all under the enthusiastic guidance of their mom. Sandra even coordinated an activity schedule with fellow mothers in the neighborhood, ensuring that every day brought a shared adventure for the local kids.

Scott also recalled their family home being an "activity center" for the other kids in the neighborhood, thanks to a sport court and trampoline in their massive backyard. Brian added, "Bottom line, our parents liked to have fun."

As of this writing, Scott and Brian still live in Phoenix, while Jay now resides in California.

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What was Sandra Day O'Connor's cause of death?

On Dec. 1, 2023, the U.S. Supreme Court announced that Sandra Day O'Connor died in Phoenix due to "complications related to advanced dementia, probably Alzheimer's, and a respiratory illness." She was 93.

In October 2018, after years of having problems with her memory, Sandra disclosed that she had been diagnosed with the early stages of Alzheimer's-like dementia and announced her decision to step away from public life.

Sandra Day O'Connor in March 2004.
Source: Getty Images

Sandra is survived by her three sons, Scott, Brian, and Jay, as well as six grandchildren and her brother, Alan Day.

Our thoughts are with Sandra's family and friends during this difficult time.

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