Santa Fe Living Treasures – Elder Stories

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Marjorie Muth

Marjorie Muth

Honored November, 2004

Marjorie Muth

When their first son, Budge, was born to Marjorie and Henry Muth, they were as thrilled as any other parents. Not until a second son came did they see that there was a sharp difference between the learning capability of the boys. They had Budge tested. The diagnosis: "developmentally disabled."

There were no public educational opportunities for the retarded in the late 1940s, so Marjorie and her husband enrolled Budge in a private school. To pay for it, she did something she had vowed not to do: She became a teacher. "I'll never teach!" she had said upon graduating from Rockford College in Illinois and Kansas University, with a major in English. But her mother had some good advice: "You never know when you'll need to go to work"—so Marjorie also got a minor in education.

Marjorie and Henry and their family moved to Santa Fe in 1953, when he got a job as a photographer for the Atomic Energy Commission. After he died of a heart attack in 1959, Marjorie supported her two boys by teaching in the public schools. While carrying a full-time workload, she also made time year after year for organizations that help developmentally disabled people.

She has served on the boards of Santa Maria el Mirador, New Vistas, and Northern New Mexico Services for the Disabled. She has also been a tireless volunteer at St. Elizabeth Shelter in Santa Fe. Among other tasks, she has been Layette Chairman of the Daughters of the King, making sure that basic layettes were provided for newborn babies of the homeless and needy. In her church she has also been the record keeper of the Holy Faith Guild Bazaar.

Marjorie’s friends say: "She is modest, unassuming, and never toots her own horn." "She stays in the background but is always there." "She’s a worker—reliable and on time, and she has made a difference in this community since 1953." And: "Her story touches the heart, but you'll never hear it from her."

Story by Richard McCord
Photo ©2004 by Steve Northrup