Being a newspaper, every now and then we have the great pleasure of publicly thanking a person who has toiled in the background for many years, performing essential work and serving as a backbone of the organization. As chair I have that honor on behalf of so many who have worked with Mary Ann Muska as she tirelessly volunteered thousands of hours for The Suffield Observer.
Mary Ann’s professional journey started in education, were she used her Master’s in special education to teach in public schools and CCD classes at Sacred Heart Church for eight years. She served as president of the Bridge Street School PTO, was on the Sacred Heart Parish Council for 12 years, she volunteered and worked on the Board of Directors of Suffield Community Aid. Suffield Emergency Aid Association. For 18 years, from 1977-1995, Mary Ann served with distinction on the Suffield Board of Education; as board member, secretary, vice chairman and ultimately chairman.
At the newspaper we view these and her other outstanding accomplishments as a mere prelude to her efforts on behalf of the Observer, where she started volunteering as an editor at the end of the last century. She became Co-editor-in-Chief, alongside first Carol Martin and then Beth Chafetz, starting in 2004. Mary Ann has remained in that essential and critical position ever since.
Outlasting several more chairmen, she handled the position all these many years with dignity and grace, tirelessly working while retaining a necessary sense of humor. She was always concerned with fairness and making sure the paper remained above politics and focused on the community it was created to serve. She was, in many ways, the institutional memory of our organization, a person we often turned to find out not only what the paper did in the past regarding certain recurrent issues, but why it did what it did.
The good news is this is neither a eulogy nor retirement announcement. While Mary Ann has chosen to step back from the relentless duties of Co-editor-in-Chief, she will continue to volunteer and contribute to our little paper, hopefully for many years to come. With the change it just seemed like a good time for us to publicly say thank you!
Chairman, The Suffield Observer