As most of you know by now, Lawrence has been taking some time off after the death of his mother, Frances. She passed away in her home surrounded by her children and grandchildren nearly two weeks ago. She was 93.
The Boston Globe wrote up a nice piece about her role as the matriarch of the O’Donnell family and interviewed our very own Last Word host. Here’s an excerpt:
“In our family, my mother was the sophisticate,” said her son Lawrence O’Donnell Jr. of Santa Monica, Calif., who hosts “The Last Word” on msnbc. “She was the one who always went to the Boston Ballet and took us to the theater. She liked the opera and all sorts of things I could never bring myself around to liking.”
As matriarch of a family in which work often was conducted in the public spotlight, she emphasized that education was necessary to achieve goals. Limited financial means in her childhood, along with the Great Depression, had kept college beyond her reach, something she determined would not be the case in her own household.
“She was a very strong academic achiever when she went to school, so she was able to help us with homework and academic chores in a way that was very special,” her son said. “She was very attentive. I know I could never have achieved anything academically without my mother’s attention and help.”
Indeed, when her former husband, Lawrence Sr., made the journey from Boston police officer through law school to becoming one of the city’s most colorful defense attorneys, it was with his wife’s assistance.
“No one should mistake law school for an education,” their son said. “It is a training school. My mother was, in fact, the most highly educated person in our family in a real way, and had much better academic skills than my father did. And that was open and acknowledged, there was no mystery about it. I mean, she helped my father with his college and law school academic studies. She pushed everyone farther academically than her own position allowed her to go at that time.”