Obituary: Elizabeth “Betty” O’Hearn, former longtime Wilton resident

Elizabeth “Betty” O’Hearn
Elizabeth “Betty” O’Hearn

Elizabeth “Betty” O’Hearn, a Wilton resident for forty years, died peacefully on Sunday, September 2, in Tucson, AZ at the age of 94.

Betty was born Elizabeth Ann Tierney on November 28, 1923 in Tulsa, Oklahoma to Mr. and Mrs. William L. Tierney. Betty’s family later moved to Kansas City, MO, where she attended public schools and graduated from the University of Arizona in 1945 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts, and where she won the Desert Hand Award for her exceptional artwork.

After graduation Betty moved to Manhattan where she attended Parsons School of Design and the Traphagen School of Fashion, and later worked with Elizabeth Arden, initially as a model and later as a fashion director.

Betty served as an officer in the New York Catholic Guild in the 1950s where she first met William “Bill” O’Hearn, originally from Brookline, MA, who had graduated from both Yale undergraduate and Yale Law School, and who, at the time, was the head of the Guild. In 1953, Betty and Bill were married at Saint Patrick’s Cathedral in Manhattan. In 1958, they bought a circa 1747 colonial home in Wilton known as “Tall Trees,” where they lived for forty years and raised six children, all of whom attended Wilton public schools.

Bill and Betty were members of the Wilton Riding Club and were very active in the town’s volunteer community, both of them serving as Co-Presidents of the Wilton High School PTA. Betty also served as the President of the Wilton League of Women Voters, was very active in the Wilton Garden Club, and served on the Board of the Wilton Library.

When Bill retired from practicing law in 1986, Betty and he bought a house in Tucson, AZ, and later in 1993 they bought a house on Nantucket and proceeded to spend their golden years living in Arizona for the winters and on Nantucket for the summers. In 1998 they sold their Wilton home to their youngest son, Tierney, and his wife Denise Gregoire O’Hearn, who continue to live there today.

Betty was an accomplished watercolor artist and was admitted to both the Nantucket Artists Association and the Southern Arizona Arts Guild. While she lived in Wilton she painted at the Silvermine Guild Arts Center in New Canaan.

While Bill died in 2012, at the age of 93, Betty is survived by William J. O’Hearn, III, of Barrington, RI, Robert O’Hearn of Bradenton, FL, Deirdre O’Hearn Eckerstrom of New York, NY, Michael O’Hearn of Tucson, AZ, Tierney O’Hearn of Wilton, and nine grandchildren.