Practical. No-nonsense. To the point.
These are some of the ways to describe Marybelle Mueller, a woman who raised a family, pursued a career reserved mostly for men more than half a century ago and excelled as a judge while taking an active role in community and church projects.
Mueller was recently recognized for her many contributions to the legal profession and her community with the R.A. Fulenwider Meritorious Community Service Award, presented by the Jackson Chamber of Commerce during its annual banquet along with the Jackson Industrial Development Authority.
When Mueller received her law degree in 1950 from the University of Missouri Law School, she was one of two women in her graduating class. Her legal skills were quickly recognized, resulting in an appointment by Gov. Phil Donnelly to fill a vacancy as a magistrate judge. She served until 1962, when she chose to devote her time to raising five children.
Mueller was elected associate circuit judge in Cape Girardeau County in 1974 and held the post for the next 20 years until she retired.
In addition to her legal career, nurturing her children and her community involvement, Mueller is also a gracious woman who recognizes that her many accomplishments occurred in a thriving, can-do community. In accepting the award, she said to those attending the banquet: "You all make this community what it is. Continue doing what you're doing."