A sign in front of the O’Brien’s home on Georgetown Road reads “TlaQuepaque,” Native American for “The Best of Everything,” and the name of an artists’ village in Sedona, Arizona.
The sign captures how Mike and Sandy O’Brien feel about their time in Weston. They have enjoyed the best of everything. But after 21 years, the couple is heading west.
While the O’Briens aren’t in any rush to leave, they expect to be moving sometime in the next year in order be closer to their four children and seven grandchildren who live out west.
“We’re going to miss Weston,” Mr. O’Brien said.
The O’Briens have been very active members of the Weston community.
Mr. O’Brien was a member of the finance board since 2003, and served as its chairman from 2005 to 2011. He resigned from the board in May in order to allow a new member to join before the election in November.
A founding member of the town’s Insurance Advisory Committee, Mr. O’Brien has been its chairman from the start. One of the key things the advisory committee did was assist the school district in becoming fully self-insured with respect to health insurance.
A longtime member of the Weston Kiwanis Club, Mr. O’Brien served as president twice and organized its annual golf tournament.
He was recently honored by the Democratic Town Committee with the John C. Hammerslough Award for exemplary initiative in public service.
The first thing Sandy O’Brien said she did when she moved to Weston 21 years ago was join the Weston Historical Society because she is very interested in towns and their history. Over the years, she served as president of the historical society and was a trustee. The O’Briens are both members of the historical society’s Founders Circle.
“I was raised in the Midwest and lived in Arizona and California, so when I moved to Weston and the Northeast, I thought joining the historical society would be a good way to get to know the town and the people,” Ms. O’Brien said.
In addition, Ms. O’Brien volunteered with The Women’s Club of Weston for several years and served as president for a term. She also served a term on the Commission on Aging.
Cruella de Vil
One event Ms. O’Brien enjoyed every year was the Halloween Scare Fair, sponsored by the Weston Girl Scouts and hosted by the historical society. Ms. O’Brien dressed up as Cruella de Vil much to everyone’s delight.
The dress-up earned her quite a reputation. “I was at the White Plains airport once and heard a man say, ‘Cruella de Vil! My daughter loves seeing you every year!’” Ms. O’Brien said it made her laugh to be recognized that way.
The O’Briens have been married 32 years and between them have four children and seven grandchildren.
The couple met in Phoenix where they both were insurance brokers.
Mr. O’Brien is currently an insurance broker and managing director with the Marsh insurance company. He provides clients with insurance against risks such as property, liability and terrorism. Three of his clients are American Express, the United Nations and the Port Authority of New York.
One of his company’s projects has involved the Port Authority’s construction of a new tower at the World Trade Center. “Marsh lost 300 people on 9/11 in the World Trade Center attack so I want to stick around to see the completion of the tower,” he said.
The couple were married at a Spanish mission in Arizona and their home is full of Native American arts and crafts they’ve collected over the years. In addition to the Native American greeting on their home, Ms. O’Brien also has a Native American greeting on her license plate. It says “Yatahey,” which means “Hello.” It is spelled without the second “y,” though because there wasn’t enough space for it.
Ms. O’Brien said the Dept. of Motor Vehicles contacted her after she requested the phrase on her license plate, to see what it meant. “They have foreign words in their computers but not Native American words, which is interesting,” she said.
When Mr. O’Brien transferred to New York for his job, the couple decided to live in Weston because Ms. O’Brien preferred country living. “Sandy didn’t want to live within 60 miles of New York City,” Mr. O’Brien said.
His cousin Pat had bought a house in Westport, so the couple quickly familiarized themselves with the area. “Pat told us Connecticut was the place to be,” Mr. O’Brien said.
The couple came across a new home on Georgetown Road built by Bob Walpuck which backs up to Devil’s Den.
“We thought it was the perfect spot and we fell in love with Weston. We’re going to miss it here,” Mr. O’Brien said.