Phyllis Bambusch Jones '44

2004 Distinguished Citizen Award

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When Phyllis Bambusch Jones came to Macalester, she encountered Professors Ivan Burg, Ted Mitau and Hubert Humphrey, and was inspired to turn her heart and mind to politics and law. When Humphrey joyously announced the formation of Minnesota’s Democratic Farmer Labor Party, she became a dedicated DFL organizer in St. Paul, becoming Ramsey County chairwoman and also serving at the state level. Bambusch Jones was a reporter for the St. Paul Pioneer Press and later enrolled in what is now William Mitchell College of Law.

The mother of three young children, she was in her second year of law school when her husband died. Nevertheless, she graduated and became Ramsey County’s assistant county attorney, working in juvenile and criminal courts, and becoming the first woman full-time prosecutor in Minnesota. She helped lobby for legislation creating the Minnesota County Attorneys Council, then served as its executive director. The council provides educational services to attorneys including interdisciplinary seminars with public defenders, judges and law enforcement.

Turning then to private practice as Jones, Jansen and Gay, she handled a variety of cases before becoming a district court judge in Anoka in the Tenth District where she served for nine years, followed by retiree service on the Court of Appeals. Listed in Who’s Who in America, she is now retired.

Judge Harriet Lansing ’67 of the Minnesota Court of Appeals wrote of her friend, "Courageous in her pioneering efforts, scholarly in her legal and judicial endeavors, and deeply thoughtful in her humanitarian approach to all things, Phyllis represents the fulfillment of the highest aspirations of Macalester’s philosophy of inspired public leadership and sustained personal grace."