Longtime Hingham District Court Judge Martha Ware, who died this week, was a legend in her time, and Abington residents remember how influential she was.
“I always admired her, and when I heard she had become a judge, I thought, ‘Oh, that is awesome!’ said Nancy Reed, a retired assistant town librarian. Reed, a lifelong Abington resident, recalls seeing Ware around town in the 1940s and 1950s.
Ware, who also was a retired Plymouth District Court special justice, died Tuesday at age 91.
Reed said Ware’s father, Samuel, also lived into his 90s.
Ware graduated from Abington High School in 1935 and from Colby Sawyer College in New London, N.H., where she later was awarded an honorary doctorate. She graduated from Portia Law School (now the New England School of Law) in 1941. She later became clerk of the Hingham court.
In 1947, she became the first woman to be elected a selectman in Plymouth County. She later became a state representative.
As the first female judge in Plymouth County, she made younger women think of new possibilities for themselves, Reed said. Ware, then 38, was appointed to a judgeship by Gov. Christian Herter in 1956.
When she joined the Plymouth County Bar Association in 1942, she said, “I grew up an only child, but when I joined the bar association, I found out that I had many brothers and two other sisters.”
During her campaign for the Legislature in 1950, she was stricken with polio. She was confined to bed for three months but won the seat by 13 votes after a recount. Sitting in a wheelchair, she was sworn into office in January 1951.
Ware was named a trustee of Colby Sawyer College, Stonehill College and Whitman Mutual Federal Savings Bank.
“She was a woman who had become a judge at a time when that was unusual, and she also was a selectman, and no one had heard of a woman being a selectman, either,” Reed said.
“Anything that came up involving women or which women were interested in, Judge Ware was interested in.”
After she retired, Ware remained active. In 2002, she stopped by the Hingham courthouse for coffee with Judge Geraldine Lombardo the day Lombardo retired.
In 1998, Lombardo, the Hingham court’s presiding justice, called Ware a “superwoman” who ‘‘proved her dedication to the community. You have always been a good friend to everyone you met. You have been my mentor and role model. You have been my friend.”
Last spring, Ware attended the opening of the new senior center in Abington and the dedication of the exercise room.
In 1998, she told a Patriot Ledger reporter that one of her earliest memories of living on Adams Street in Abington was going across the street to Aunt Annie’s store. There, she said, you could sit at a small table and eat a sandwich, buy home-baked beans and bread and get an ice cream cone.
Source: The Patriot Ledger