Mary Jo Levinger a friend, mentor, adventurer, and inspiration to all who knew her, passed gently from this earth on August 22, 2019, supported by the many who loved her. Mary Jo was born in Sioux Falls, South Dakota on March 3, 1946. She was predeceased by her mother, Carol Anderson Levinger and father Moriz M. Levinger. She is survived by her special long-time friend Mr. Sanford “Sandy” Fredrickson.
When Mary Jo graduated from Washington High School in Sioux Falls, she took the extraordinary step of heading on her own to attend the University of California at Berkeley. She graduated from Cal in 1968 with a degree in Economics and remained in California as a transplanted Midwesterner. At Cal, Mary Jo began collecting her large chosen family. She obtained a law degree from Santa Clara University and was admitted to the State Bar of California in 1973. She served as a City Attorney in San Jose from 1974-1983 and the Town Attorney in Los Gatos from 1983 to 1990. She was appointed to the Santa Clara County Superior Court Bench in 1990 and retired in 2010. Mary Jo received many accolades and awards during her legal career. In 2002, she was honored by the Santa Clara University Law School with the prestigious Edwin J. Owens Lawyer of the Year Award. In recognition of her years of service to the Santa Clara County Bar Association, in 2004 she was awarded the Justice Byrl R. Salsman Award for contributions to community and the profession. She was an active member of the California Judges Association, including sitting on the Judicial Ethics Committee.
Volunteerism was an important part of who Mary Jo was. She served the homeless and read to the blind. In addition, she was not a stranger at the local food bank, where she sorted food. She also served on the Santa Clara University Law School Advisory Board, the Advisory Board of the Live Oak Adult Day Services, the San Jose Symphony Board and the Salvation Army Adult Rehabilitation Advisory Council.
Mary Jo traveled the world, including many trips to Paris (her favorite destination), a three-month trip to Europe and Israel in 1967, Norway, Great Britain, Madagascar, Kenya, Machu Pichu, the Galapagos, St. Petersburg, Budapest, Prague, Croatia, Chile, Cape Horn, Patagonia, and Argentina.
Mary Jo lived a life of love, compassion, and meaning to her family and enumerable friends. Mary Jo mattered to the world and was a special friend to all who knew her. She will be greatly missed by the many who loved her. At her request no local funeral services will be held. Her life will be celebrated on Wednesday, September 25, 2019, at 4:00 p.m., Saint Andrews Episcopal Church, 13601 Saratoga Avenue, Saratoga, California.
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