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Judy Muetz of Placerville has been a Lady of the Court since 2003. Even before that, Muetz has always been a Rose in spirit.
Muetz, 63, has been in the background, nourishing the Rose program with her enthusiasm, encouragement, nominations, receptions and expertise in apparel history, vintage costumes, fine sewing and design. She and her husband Mike Muetz often transport Roses, Golden Roses and Rose candidates to events in a vintage car. As early as 1988, Judy and Mike provided elegant transportation to Roses in their classic cars.
“I would love to be El Dorado Rose,” Judy said charmingly before last week’s pageant. “But even if I am not selected Rose, it’s wonderful, because I will still be part of the Rose Court and still get to have all the fun.”
The Shakespeare Club was proud to nominate Judy for the appellation of 2011 El Dorado Rose. They have been nurturing Roses and the Rose program since its inception in 1976.
Judy became a member of the Rose Court in 2003, the year they lowered the age to 55 to encourage more participation.
The official minimum age for Rose is 60, and when Judy turned 60 in 2008, she would have accepted the nomination again, but that was the year she broke her leg and couldn’t have accomplished the whirlwind of activities that occupy Rose candidates. Despite that handicap, she was an immense help, refurbishing and lending outfits to other Rose contendees.
By her candidacy this year, and her membership in the prestigious Rose Court, Judy continues her unwavering support of the Rose Program and her dedication to the community.
One of Judy’s own personal requirements for Rosedom is absolute genuineness, both in dress and spirit. In years past, she served twice as judge, evaluating the authenticity of the Rose candidates’ outfits. Recently, though, she has been too involved in dressing the Rose candidates, so she had to recuse herself from the adjudication process.
“I couldn’t help with outfits and be a judge,” Judy said. Her expertise is widely sought and respected among the Roses.
She knows the intricacies of period dress, and can often point out discrepancies in costuming. One former Rose confided that she once wore a type of sandal shoe with her outfit. Judy very graciously pointed out that no ankles or toes ever showed back in the day, and she was saved from making that faux pas again. She appreciated Judy’s knowledge, and henceforth wore the proper kind of shoes for the era she represented.
In 2006, Judy was presented with the Pioneer Spirit award by past Roses for outfitting ladies of the court for many years.
She is the descendant of pre-Gold Rush Northern California pioneers, and is related to many of the old families in the county. For 39 years, Judy has been married to Mike, who is a retired ranger. Mike’s Forest Service career helped Judy to know California and El Dorado County intricately. She knows and enjoys the vast recreational opportunities that El Dorado County offers. She and Mike have lived in the county for some 26 years.
Mike’s assignments provided Judy some wonderful experiences, but she has had her own career as a high school and college teacher for 35 years, as a high school principal for seven years and as a theater costume designer for three years.
Her life is peppered with many interests, and her extreme volunteer service reflects her many passions and hobbies, including sailing, canoeing, swimming, motorcycles, horses, sewing, traveling, veterans activities and being a Model A driver. Judy plays the guitar and piano, and used to sing harmony in several groups.
Judy is an extremely accomplished woman, but she possesses a down-to-earth charm that is heartwarming and disarming. She has worked indefatigably for many causes, and her educational ideals are transmitted to her daughter Nancy and granddaughters, who live in Cameron Park. Judy also was legal guardian to two extra teenagers.
Since Judy is musical, her granddaughters follow in her footsteps.
“You can’t be in this house and not get piano lessons,” Judy said sweetly but firmly.
Judy’s maternal, teaching attitude and warm heart extends to the community and young people with Judy’s involvement in Girl Scouts, Sea Scouts, Sea Explorers, Girl Scout Mariners and the 4-H Club. For 30 years, she taught aquatic classes and trained instructors for the Red Cross, Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts in swimming, lifesaving, CPR, first aid, sailing, rowing and canoeing.
She was also commander of the Coast Guard Auxiliary and was the first female to be certified master by the Coast Guard and the first volunteer “designated swimmer” for Coast Guard Search and Rescue missions.
Getting to know Judy is like opening up a whole new window to the world. She has done so many things and continues to excel in so many projects that it is mind-boggling. Judy suffers from Spasmodic Dystonia, which affects the vocal chords.
“I can’t yell at anybody, but I do miss singing,” Judy said matter-of-factly. Judy claims that she is known to be bossy, which is why she was asked to direct traffic when the Great Race came to town in 2002.
Judy must have done a terrific job. After all, Placerville was voted “Best Town” by the Great Race participants.
When Placerville earned the “Best Town” accolade, along with a $5,000 check (which went to support the library), Judy took no credit herself.
But everyone knows she was right there both in the background and in the trenches, organizing, directing traffic, getting sunburned and making sure everything went smoothly.
Judy’s worst affliction, though, is severe allergies that can be life-threatening. Yet these challenges do not cloud her optimistic outlook or her ability to seemingly accomplish miracles. She’s just careful not to do things to trigger allergy attacks.
With all of Judy’s interests, that would seem hard to avoid. She was the youth group leader for the “Take Pride in California award” trail project that won first place statewide and garnered honorable mention in “Take Pride in America.” She is a charter member of Trails Now (now called “Friends of the El Dorado Trail”) and was a successful volunteer grant writer for Trails Now, County Trails Projects, A Tutoring Place High School and the Hangtown Grange remodelling. In addition, Judy wrote the El Dorado Trail Bridge (over Highway 50) into a State Park Bond Act and personally gathered 3,000 signatures for the ballot measure.
Proving the adage that good work generates more work, Judy also wrote the Rails to Trails county ordinance. While all of these things are incredible, they barely scratch the surface of Judy’s generosity to her community in terms of time, funds and commitment.
On a more personal note, Mike and Judy have built a complete American Flyer Toy Train lay out in their basement. It is magical, with an attention to detail that is awe-inspiring.
Judy’s dedication, sewing skills and theater background as served her well both as a Rose candidate and aficionado. She dresses the part with panache, and her outfits are exquisite.
At the Rose Ball, Judy wore a fabulous outfit that had some 40 hooks on the bodice. The material and design was fabulously ornate and beautiful.
Judy has always been a Rose in spirit, blooming amid the garden with lush good works and extreme, genuine love. As a youthful Lady of the Court, she continues to blossom.
E-mail: [email protected]