Redding Land Trust founder and former First Selectman Mary Anne Guitar died Tuesday, July 18.
First Selectman Julia Pemberton said Guitar’s passing is a great loss for the town of Redding.
“Mary Anne Guitar was First Selectman of the town from 1977 to 1989. Before that, she was a selectman from 1969 to 1975. She first bought her home here in 1956 and then moved here full time in mid-1960s,” Pemberton said.
Pemberton said Guitar has been a mentor to many people, especially to those who are active today in town government.
“If there was one thing I would say about her, it’s that when you walk out in your door anywhere in town, no one can debate that the beauty of Redding persists today largely due to the efforts of Mary Anne Guitar and her fellow land savers,” Pemberton said.
According to Pemberton, Guitar was instrumental in helping Redding achieve its goals of acquisition of open space — the Lonetown march across from Redding Elementary School.
“It was also known as Murphy’s Swamp back then,” Pemberton said. “This was the first piece of open space purchased by the town of Redding.”
“Mary Anne was 95 years old but she wanted kids to learn about tadpoles and nature firsthand — not on a computer but by feeling the frogs,” Pemberton added.
Pemberton said what everyone can do to best pay tribute to Guitar is on the next beautiful day, “I would urge everyone to get outdoors. Put on some bug spray and go take a walk in the woods or in a meadow, Huntington or Putnam Park or Saugatuck Falls. Go enjoy the beautiful open space we have here in Redding,” she said.
She said that enjoying Redding’s natural beauty is the best thing residents can do to remember Guitar.
“She certainly left Redding better off as a community than when she found it, and so that’s our task,” Pemberton said.
Laurie Heiss, Redding Land Trust Board member, who was a personal friend of Guitar, said it’s hard to capture this woman’s life in a few words.
“She lived her life for this town,” Heiss said. “It’s the end of an era.”
Information on funeral services will be posted as it becomes available.