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The First Lady: Building relationships among Darla deSteiguer’s priorities

Darla deSteiguer is balancing many roles this fall.

Wife, mother and estate planning lawyer are just a few of the many titles she will juggle in addition to her role as first lady.

Admittedly a bit shy of the spotlight, Darla was very visible at husband John deSteiguer’s side during the inauguration week activities.

“The inauguration was a wonderful experience,” she said. “It was really a good kickoff for the fall, and everyone has been so kind and receptive to us doing this together. We have received so many encouraging notes and expressions of prayers, which have been great.”

Darla feels the family, including son Joe and daughter Abby, is doing well at getting acclimated to their new roles.

“While the inauguration was just a few weeks ago, we’ve been busy since the beginning of the summer. John has done a great job of making an effort to spend time with the family,” she said. “One of the ways that John and I make sure our relationship is strong is by making time each day to talk. It may not always be as long as we’d like, but we talk every day. And we laugh. That helps, too.”

Darla and John were college sweethearts at Northeastern State University. They married in 1986, the year after Darla studied in New Zealand and John studied in Jamaica as Rotary International Scholars.

In 1986, they enrolled in law school at Pepperdine University, where Darla graduated magna cum laude in 1989.

Darla and John then moved to Dallas to start their legal careers. She served as a clerk for a federal judge. Today, she still operates an estate planning practice from her home office.

“I’ve done this for 16 years, and it’s a great way for me to serve others while being there for my children,” she said. “I pick up a few new clients each year, through word of mouth, and I take care of my existing clients as well.”

Darla also is focusing on being “Mom” this year – Abby’s senior year in high school. In her role as first lady, she draws inspiration from her predecessors.

“Nancy O’Neal set an amazing example of hospitality, which I hope to maintain. I’m also looking forward to getting to know students better, too,” she said.

Darla wants to help inspire fellow women of faith through her talks at OC Lectureship and other events. Darla also is excited about is the new First Ladies Collection in the Beam Library.

“This collection of books for female students and staff includes books that have inspired me as a Christian woman,” she said. “We also have a wish list of books that others can donate to the collection. A number of women have done so already, in honor of a special woman of faith in their lives.”

By Josh Watson