Columbus resident, 1st elected woman judge in GA dies - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Columbus resident, 1st elected woman judge in GA dies

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Rufe McCombs Maulsby: A photo from the Memoirs of Judge Rufe McCombs as told to Karen Spears Zacharias. Mercer University Press (Source: Karen Spears Zacharias) Rufe McCombs Maulsby: A photo from the Memoirs of Judge Rufe McCombs as told to Karen Spears Zacharias. Mercer University Press (Source: Karen Spears Zacharias)
(Source: Karen Spears Zacharias) (Source: Karen Spears Zacharias)
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COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) -

The first-elected female judge in the state of Georgia, Rufe McCombs Maulsby, has died. 

She suffered a fall and broke her hip earlier this month and underwent surgery, but fell and broke her hip again the day after Christmas. Maulsby died in Merritt Island, Florida on Saturday. 

Judge McCombs of Decatur, GA, broke many barriers in her lifetime. She was the only female to graduate from the University of Georgia's Law Class of 1942. 

As a woman, she was unable obtain a job in a law firm, but that did not stop her. She opened doors to the first Legal Aid Services in Columbus in October 1969. 

In 1975, McCombs became the first-elected woman judge without prior appointment, winning the position of Municipal Court judge by a 50% margin in a race against well-respected men.

Judge Mary Buckner remembers when McCombs ran for election.

"I just knew immediately that she would be the right person to be there because not only that it would add diversity to what we had, but I knew that she would be the type of judge that we needed," said Buckner.

Buckner said women throughout Columbus rallied behind McCombs.

"We were so proud of her and what she was doing in her role that we rallied behind her. She was a role model, and women just like seeing her serve in her position."

Karen Spears Zacharias is the author of BENCHED: The Memoirs of Judge Rufe McCombs. She said the Judge had a deep passion for the law and serving others.

"That's what she did. She worked during the day and I was at her home numerous times. She worked until the late evening," said Zacharias.

McCombs was also elected as State Court Judge, winning unopposed in 1978. 

Judge McCombs retired from the bench at the age of 75 in 1993 after serving as Superior Court Judge for 11 years. She was the first woman to sit on Superior Court in the Chattahoochee District. 

She married Gilbert Maulsby in 2005.

Judge McCombs was 94. Her funeral will be handled by Striffler-Hamby Mortuary in Columbus. We will keep you posted on funeral arrangements. 

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