Mari Ulmer

Mari W. Ulmer, a woman of passion and formidable intellect, died Jan. 15 at La Posada, Mesilla Valley Hospice. She was an outstanding published author and attorney. Marjorie Ann Wedin was born July 23, 1932, in Kansas City, Mo., the first-born child of Ralph and Edith (Forrester) Wedin. A younger sister, Judy, and a brother Bill followed. Mari, as she was now known, won a Seven College National Scholarship to Smith College in Northampton, Mass. Returning to Kansas City, Mari continued her education at Kansas City University, and married Gregg Privette who was also an attorney. A new chapter in Mari's life began when, as the Story Lady at KCMO TV, she invented the Little Green Dragon. These stories were published as Adventures of the Little Green Dragon, a beloved children's classic. Mari applied to law school in 1958. For admission, and at every stage of her qualifications, Mari had to petition for inclusion. She cared for her two children in the daytime and went to law school at night. Mari attended law school at the University of Kansas City, graduating in 1962. As a woman, she had to ask the state Supreme Court's permission to even take the bar. Mari was the first woman admitted to the bar in the state of Missouri. Mari later moved her practice to Las Cruces. She especially shone at litigation, and took pride in never having lost a case at trial. With her second husband, James Ulmer, Mari moved to Taos where they owned and operated a bed and breakfast, Hacienda Del Sol, for over 20 years. They both adored Taos and engaged fully with both the Ranchos de Taos church and the community at large. Mari took great pride in Jim's designation as a "Taos Treasure" and in the outreach "Taos Feeds Taos" which he initiated 27 years ago and is a tradition that continues today. Mari devoted much to time to her writing and published two mystery novels centering on the Taos Festivals. Mari's Catholic faith was strong. She possessed a keen eye for observing the human condition and a gift of words for sharing what she saw. In spite of medical challenges, to the last Mari was planning new writing projects. Mari is survived by her son Dan Privette (Tania) of Las Cruces and his family; grandsons Daniel (Priscilla) Etie, Jason (Stephanie) Privette and Sean (Brandie) Privette, and great-grandchildren Aurora Etie, Kyla Etie, & Garrett Privette. She is also survived by her daughter Michelle (Chuck) Gordon of El Paso and her family; grandsons Brooks Gordon and Dalton Gordon. Mari's sister Judy Hull (Jim) of Kansas and brother Bill (Lois) Wedin of New York also survive her. Mari is preceded in death by her parents and both husbands. In appreciation of the spiritual home Mari found there, the family asks that donations be made to the Holy Family Ecumenical Catholic Church, 702 Parker Road, Las Cruces, NM 88005. Arrangements are with La Paz - Graham's Funeral Home. To send condolences log on to

Published in Las Cruces Sun-News on Jan. 20, 2013