Local educator and administrator James Meshwert dies
James Meshwert was a well known teacher, administrator and friend, having been an integral part of the Pleasant Ridge Union School District for 37 years.
Meshwert died on Feb. 13, 2019, and will be remembered for the many lives he directly — and indirectly — touched.
Meshwert was born in Corpus Christi, Texas on Oct. 1, 1944. Later, he earned a degree in social sciences at Chico State University. In 1968, he moved to Nevada County to become a teacher at Pleasant Ridge Elementary School, and soon after met his wife, Candace, at a local event. They were married two years later.
He was active in the community, becoming a teacher, administrative assistant, principal and superintendent in his decades in the Pleasant Ridge School District. He also served on the executive board of the Schools Insurance Group, the Nevada County Economic Resource Council and the Nevada County Business Association.
Marlo McMaster, one of Meshwert’s daughters, spoke of how involved her father was in the community.
“He put so much work and dedication into everything he did,” said Meshwert in an email to The Union.
Colleagues and friends, like Trudi Tucker, agreed. Tucker, who was a board member for the Pleasant Ridge School District while Meshwert was the district’s superintendent, said he was able to intuit how to make things work better.
“He just seemed to know things, how they should go, and what he should do, innately,” she said.
His ability to put people in a position to succeed was almost like a sixth sense, according to Linda Rooney, a former assistant superintendent in the district under Meshwert.
“He was incredibly gifted in seeing in others what we couldn’t see in ourselves,” said Rooney.
Meshwert worked to recruit and retain the best teachers in the district.
“He was a leader, and he set high standards for himself, and he set high standards for all of us in the school district and the county,” said David Rosenquist, a former principal at Magnolia Intermediate School, district superintendent, and colleague of Meshwert’s.
Despite working hard, the longtime academic leader never wanted to personally take too much of the credit. When the board chose to rename the district office community room in his name, Meshwert did all he could to avoid being the center of attention.
“Jim was a very reserved, take-the-spotlight-away-from-him kind of guy,” said Rooney.
Outside work, Meshwert was described as a dedicated family man.
“They had two beautiful daughters, and his wife Candy was so supportive of everything he did,” said Rosenquist.
In general, the academic leader was a determined, eclectic person, working hard at work and enjoying sports like golf and tennis. His daughter thought of him as a spirited individual.
“Words you could use to describe him, witty, generous, reserved, loving, adventurous, motivational, dedicated,” wrote McMaster.
Services are scheduled for 10 a.m. Saturday at Peace Lutheran Church, 828 West Main Street in Grass Valley.
You can reach Sam Corey at 530-477-4219 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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