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A Bright Light (from Suzanne Kingsbury)

Hello, please forgive the delay in sending this memory. The citizens of El Dorado County were so very fortunate to have Mary as a part of the community! Her intelligence, her commitment to helping those who were less fortunate, and her passion for the fields of education and the law were all traits which stood out to me.

I didn’t know Mary at all when, as a young and naive attorney, friends in the legal profession persuaded me to run for an open seat on the superior court being vacated as a result of the retirement of Judge Terry Finney. At the time my campaign began, I wasn’t someone who was known on the west end of the county. I was not the least bit political, and had no idea how to go about the task of running for public office, but understood that it was important to meet people in all of the geographic locations throughout the county. I was told that for El Dorado Hills, the “go to” couple to ask for help were Mary Muse and Bill Fisher. Not knowing either one, and being a fairly reserved person, I really had no idea how to go about meeting them or requesting their assistance. Happily, some unknown person made it happen!

My goodness, when I first met Mary, I realized that she was a force to be reckoned with - she seemed to know absolutely everyone in El Dorado Hills! Here was a woman with LOTS of kids, a huge extended family, and a plethora of professional and charitable activities willing to take time out of her packed schedule to help someone run for office that she didn’t even know. I was humbled and honored. As Mary invited me to football games, school events, and local fundraisers, she drug me around and introduced me to what seemed like the entire population! Even now, more than 24 years later, I still run into people who tell me “Mary Muse introduced us at one of the Oakridge High School football games!” Amazing.

The demands of our respective schedules didn’t allow us to see each other much after I was elected. I don’t sit in Placerville as much as I’d like, and only ran into her at charity events and at continuing education sessions where the bench acted as presenters. I knew that she’d had some health challenges, but every time I saw her, she was smiling, and engaged with colleagues and People from the community. The professional respect and personal regard that other members had for Mary was apparent. She really was the Grand Dame of the family law section.

The world has lost a bright light with Mary’s passing. I wish I’d known of the progression of her illness, I definitely would have called, written, or come to visit in order to tell her how much she meant to me, and to the legal community. I am forever grateful to Mary, and am honored to have known her. My heart goes out to Bill and her entire family.

Suzanne Kingsbury

Presiding Judge

El Dorado Superior Court

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