MADISON-Sally Lou Lathers, well known and beloved as Sally O’Malley, passed away February 2, 2019 in her hometown of Madison, WI at age 81. Our hearts are tender as we imagine our lives without her fun-loving and energetic spirit.
Born January 7, 1938 as the 5th child of Gladys and William “Bill” Lathers, she attended Blessed Sacrament grade school and graduated in 1956 from Edgewood High School in Madison. Her B.A. degree in Industrial Design from the Layton School of Art was the jumping off point for her brilliant career in interior design, events management, and innovative designer-to-client marketing and communications systems.
Sally’s career in corporate design and communications began with her management of showrooms in Chicago and Los Angeles for Herman Miller, the iconic furniture design company. Her intuitive design brilliance and passion for marketing led to her appointment as the Director of Corporate Marketing Communications at Herman Miller. This position inspired her to open O’Malley and Company, Ltd in 1980. Her firm specialized in providing marketing and communications consulting, including events’ management to a variety of clients. Among her many distinctive achievements was her development and implementation of the innovative ‘Design on Call’ and ‘Outrageous Customer Service’ practices for design centers in Boston, Florida, California, and Michigan.
Although Sally’s career spanned the US from coast to coast, Chicago was her anchor town. Drawn to its architectural significance, O’Malley was one of the original residents of the John Hancock Center and lived there for over 40 years. At the Crate and Barrel store on Michigan Avenue, she sparkled as the top sales person on the furniture team from 1991-1994. Later she was an anchor member within the Home area of the Polo Ralph Lauren store, also on Michigan Avenue, blending her merchandising talents with her effortless sales spirit.
One of Sally’s most personally engaging endeavors was to open Pomegranate Home in Lakeside, Michigan with Bob Herbst in 2004. This lifestyle home furnishings store showcased Sally and Bob’s superb taste, bringing accessible design to the many Chicagoans who enjoyed living in Michigan’s ‘Harbor Country’. For a Pomegranate Home customer, Sally’s dynamic and engaging personality was imprinted on each purchase.
Sally is survived by her sister Ellyn Ann (Lathers) Beilmann and her brother Michael (Christie) Lathers. She was preceded in death by her parents Gladys and Bill Lathers and two of her siblings, her brother Jack Lathers, and her sister Marilyn (Sister Maureen) Lathers. Missing her endless kisses, enthusiastic exuberance, and unconditional love are many cousins and numerous nieces and nephews, who simply adored “Aunt Sally”.
Sally’s family is forever grateful to the loving guardianship and care generously bestowed upon her by her dear “earth angels” Beth Cini, Lynn McFee and Pat Hackworthy. We thank the entire staff of BrightStar Senior Living; to a person, this talented team nurtured and enjoyed Sally’s indomitable spirit during her last months.
In lieu of flowers, memorials would be appreciated to BrightStar Senior Living of Madison or to the Jack F. Lathers Scholarship fund at Edgewood High School.
A visitation will be held at ST. MARIA GORETTI CATHOLIC CHURCH, 5313 Flad Ave., Madison, on Wednesday, February 13, 2019 at 10 a.m. followed by a Mass of Christian Burial at 11 a.m. A celebration of Sally O’Malley’s life will follow at a private venue.
To view and sign this guestbook, please visit: www.ryanfuneralservice.com
Ryan Funeral Home & Cremation Services
5701 Odana Road