Date September 20, 2001 Contact: Laura Kiernan
Public Information Officer
271-2646 x359



CONCORD—Suzanne Saltmarsh, who has set an outstanding example of tireless dedication to her duties during 29 years of service at the Merrimack County Superior Court, has been selected to receive a Spirit of the Judiciary Award, Chief Justice David A. Brock has announced.

Saltmarsh, the supervisor of the marital department, has been working for the court system longer than any other current employee. She started out in the Concord District Court in December 1968 and moved to the Superior Court in 1972. Saltmarsh will receive her award from the Chief Justice at a ceremony Friday, September 21, at 8:30 a.m. in the Merrimack County Courthouse, 163 North Main St., Concord.

"Suzanne’s diligence on the job and her patience with everyone who demands her attention are valuable attributes, especially in the marital division where the staff is working with families in distress," Chief Justice Brock said. "She has a reputation for a calm, self-assured manner which means that even in tough situations, she’ll see to it that the necessary work gets done."

The Spirit of the Judiciary Award was established by the Chief Justice in December 1999 to recognize examples of outstanding public service within the Judicial Branch. In nominating Saltmarsh for the award, the judges, marital masters, clerks and staff said she was "demanding, yet understanding" and was always the first person at her desk in the morning, and the last one out. "Her work ethic is impeccable and obvious to all who work with her," they said.

Saltmarsh says she has lived by the advice her late parents gave her when she was growing up in Concord where her father, Thomas Roy, was a police officer and her mother Cecilia was a food service worker. "Just remember in life you are going to give more than you will ever receive," she said they told her, "but just remember, that is your blessing."

As supervisor of the marital department, Saltmarsh oversees five full time employees as well as court monitors, prepares the list of marital cases to be heard each day, works the phones and the counter, helps lawyers and citizens, and prepares orders. She said she answers questions, when she can, and is ready with a tissue or a pat on the shoulder when emotions run high as they often do in domestic relations cases.

"You have to guide somebody, to be a friend to somebody, to be a listening ear to somebody," Saltmarsh said, " You have to have an open mind."

Saltmarsh said one of the most demanding aspects of her job is working with pro se litigants who come to court without a lawyer and need answers about court procedures and paperwork.

"Suzanne has been a model to those in the marital department on how to treat pro se litigants with patience yet firmness, providing information, not legal advice," the court staff said. Each month, Saltmarsh arranges for volunteer attorneys to come to the court to answer questions for pro se litigants.

Saltmarsh lives in Salisbury with her husband Alonzo and their two children, who have carried on their mother’s commitment to public service. Her son Craig Saltmarsh is a police officer in Boscawen and her daughter, Kara Wyman, like her mother, worked for three years at Concord District Court and is now a court monitor at Merrimack County Superior Court.