Carol Misseldine spent much of Tuesday at her Mill Valley home, where she sat down with Marin County officials to organize a public memorial for her .
That event, a public “celebration of Supervisor Charles McGlashan’s life,” is set for Saturday, April 9, at the Marin Center Veterans’ Memorial Auditorium in San Rafael. Doors open at 10:30 a.m. and the programs begins at 11 a.m.
As Misseldine sorted through details of both private and public memorials Tuesday, she was engulfed by an overwhelming swirl of emotions.
For the previous 48 hours or so, Misseldine had experienced the crushing grief of losing her husband, who at the end of a weekend of skiing in the north Lake Tahoe area.
But equally overwhelming for Misseldine have been the from family, friends, neighbors and . Food, flowers, visits, cards, calls, emails and voicemails have been pouring in since early Monday, she said.
“The public and personal outpouring and support and condolences – it’s all been so heartening,” she said. “It’s an impossibly difficult time for me right now and it’s amazing how much it helps to hear how much they loved him.”
“I never knew when this happened to other people if my card or contact made a difference,” she continued. “But it really, really has. I can’t possibly respond to each one. It’s all a testament to how much people loved Charles.”
Misseldine first met McGlashan when his sustainability firm Natural Strategies hired her in April 2000. They began seeing each other later that year.
“I remember sitting in a staff meeting with him and kind of being intimidated and awed by how big his presence was and how smart he was,” Misseldine said. “He was so commanding yet accessible and friendly. I had been an environmental professional for 20 years at that point, so it was strange being intimidated by him a bit.”
Misseldine had previously served as a lobbyist in Michigan and said she didn’t have the best impression of politicians in general, so when McGlashan expressed an interest in politics in 2002, she thought of her past experiences of seeing leaders “sell out for votes or campaign money.”
“I told him that I could never bare it if he ever sold out like others had,” she said. “But he never did. He took tremendous blows because he was really pushing the envelope. He never sold out for political expediency and political favors. That’s one of the things I admire the most about him.”
Those blows, particularly during the battles with Pacific Gas & Electric in early 2010 before the , often hit McGlashan hard.
Dennis Scremin, one of McGlashan’s closest friends and in the event of an emergency, said he worried about McGlashan’s stress level at times.
“He was an extremely sensitive man,” he said. “It really hurt him that some people couldn’t understand where he was coming from. That created a lot of stress on him. Carol and I had been working on him for years.”
But in the fall of 2010, McGlashan began to avoid letting the criticism get the best of him, Misseldine said.
“He really came to believe that his community was with him,” she said. “He accepted that there were widely divergent opinions out there and it was fine for him to keep doing the work he was doing. That brought him great strength and it brought me great peace.”
McGlashan also took great strength from his constituents in southern Marin, particularly groups like the houseboat community in Sausalito, Misseldine said.
“Those were his people,” she said.
Misseldine said that their regular mountain bike rides and walks with their dog Bonnie often featured stops at one of the many hillside views that allowed him to see over his entire District 3, particularly one near the top of Railroad Grade.
“He would always drink it in,” she said. “It’s hard to miss the beauty around here but he taught me to really take it in, just by watching him be filled up with it.”
“This was his spiritual and physical home,” she continued. “His soul resided here.”
Misseldine said McGlashan was beginning to expand his portfolio of issues to include cruelty to animals, one of her longtime pet issues.
McGlashan had proposed a county resolution that would have put into place the laws that were passed by voters statewide in November 2008 in approving Proposition 2. The state law, dubbed the Prevention of Farm Animal Cruelty Act, would require that calves raised for veal, egg-laying hens and pregnant pigs be confined only in ways that allow them to lie down, stand up, fully extend their limbs and turn around freely. It won’t go into effect until 2015, and McGlashan sought to impose those requirements in Marin before then.
“He was deeply concerned about the cruelty that animals experience on factory farms,” Misseldine said. “He would have become a leader in that area and I was really proud of him for that.”
The last time Misseldine heard from McGlashan was in an email telling her what a great time he’d had skiing on Saturday.
“He had a real boyish charm to him sometimes,” she said. “He was so happy and so excited and such a great skier. I know he died happy.
"But I miss him words than words can say.”
The 411: A Celebration of Supervisor Charles McGlashan’s life takes place Saturday, April 9, at the Marin Center Veterans’ Memorial Auditorium in San Rafael. Doors open at 10:30 a.m. and the programs begins at 11 a.m.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations to the following or to a charity of your choice in his honor: