Trailblazer, Judge Rufe McCombs Dies

By Robbie Watson (Columbus, GA)

Rufe McCombs Mauldsby, Muscogee County's first female judge, died Saturday at the age of 94.

Superior
Court Judge Bobby Peters calls McCombs a “trailblazer” serving as
Municipal Court Judge, State Court Judge and Superior Court Judge.

Judge Peters said McCombs remarried at the age of 88 in a ceremony at Covenant Woods in Columbus.

Author Karen Spears Zacharias wrote the book Benched with the retired Judge and tells NBC 38:

“I owe my entire writing career to Rufe McCombs. I was
37 and in grad school when Rufe retired. She had Beth call and ask me if
I would write her memoirs after reading the very first oped I ever
wrote in The Enquirer. Rufe would tell me later that the reason she
asked me is because I was 3,000 miles away in Oregon and she figured she
wouldn't have to look me in the eye after telling me such secrets. We
laughed a lot about that. Rufe never got over the fear that her
tuberculosis diagnosis made her an outcast. Tuberculosis was the AIDS of
its day and Rufe felt that if people knew she'd suffered with TB they
would avoid her. It took some convincing for her to be willing to let me
put that part in the memoir. I retain a deep affection and love for
Columbus, which I consider to be my hometown. But when I look around the
city now and see women like Mayor Teresa Tomlinson, I wonder, does the
good Mayor realize that she holds the position she does because of Rufe
McCombs? McCombs changed the course of the way Columbus did politics.
Never part of the Good Ole Boys' Club, Rufe McCombs was relentless in
her pursuit to make the world a better place for others, especially for
young girls like I was once. ”

Burial arrangements are under the direction of ParkHill Cemetery.

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