SANTA BARBARA, Calif.-Santa Barbara County District Attorney Joyce Dudley celebrated her legacy on the eve of retirement .
Friends and family joined her for dinner and dancing at El Paseo Restaurant on a rainy Monday night.
Dudley got a standing ovation after remarks that included the following list of advice; “Work hard on things that will improve the quality of life for others, surround yourself with good people who have a variety of backgrounds, preferably in nature, eat and drink the food that feeds your taste and your soul but as mother would say in moderation.”
Dudley added that people should look for mentors, look for the good in others, especially family members.
She called music and art necessities , rather than luxuries and she told the crowd full of friends and loved ones to be mindful of ever day and to focus on the beauty that surrounds you.
She also quoted Mahatma Ghandi saying, “Live as if were to die tomorrow, learn as if you were to live forever and finally love and dance with wild abandonment.”
Then she put on her dancing shoes and invited everyone to join her on the dance floor.
“I end my career as your District Attorney by simply saying I love you and now let’s dance.”
Dudley was first elected as DA in 2010 after serving for 20 years as the Deputy D.A.
She is credited with creating an Arson Task Force, a truancy program and cracking down on elder abuse.
Dudley called retiring a bit scary since she has always worked.
Her friends and colleagues praised her unique ways.
Former Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey couldn’t be there due to COVID but sent a message saying “Joyce is relentless in her love for family and friends and while she is retiring from job she is not retiring from life.”
Dudley raised her sons while in law school with her late husband John.
Both Dudley and Lacey lost their husbands to cancer and felt a bond over the loss and their careers.
District Attorney-Elect John Savrnoch described their first meeting and their unconventional meeting topics over the year.
“You could call it quirky, irreverent, but what it is, is she cares, she wants to dig deeper.”
Dudley will help swear in her replacement on Tuesday morning.
Then she will hit the slopes.
“The very next thing is skiing for two months. All my life I dreamed about being able to ski everyday and I am going to make that dream come true,” said Dudley, “after two months I’ll probably go back to some kind of public service because this is what I love to do.”