Tam O’Shaughnessy: About Sally Ride’s Partner Of 27 Years
Tam O’Shaughnessy was Sally Ride’s partner for 27 years, but their partnership was cut short Monday when Ride — the first American woman in space — died of pancreatic cancer at just 61 years old.
Sally Ride was an American heroine, looked up to by a generation of science lovers ever since she made history by blasting into space on NASA’s shuttle Challenger on June 18, 1983. On that day she became the first American woman in space.
But her longtime partner, Dr. Tam E. O’Shaughnessy, is a very accomplished woman in her own right.
O’Shaughnessy was by Sally Ride’s side throughout the astronaut’s 17-month battle against cancer, and before Ride became ill they co-authored four books, including “Mission: Planet Earth: Our World and Its Climate — and How Humans Are Changing Them” and “Voyager: An Adventure to the Edge of the Solar System.”
O’Shaughnessy, a professor emerita of school psychology at San Diego State University, is also chief operating officer and executive vice president of Sally Ride’s foundation, named Sally Ride Science, where the duo and their staff nurtured young students and worked to encourage them to pursue their passions in science, tech, engineering and math.
Dr. O’Shaughnessy will not receive the benefits due to the spouses of deceased astronauts, because the United States federal government does not recognize same-sex marriage. Nor has she received much mention or recognition for the active role she took in Dr. Ride’s work as the nation mourns.
As we remember Dr. Ride, we also extend our love and sympathy to her loving partner, Tam O’Shaughnessy. Thank you both for all you’ve done.