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SHEFFIELD Judge JAMES E. SHEFFIELD Judge James E. Sheffield, beloved husband and father, departed this life on Thursday, March 28, 2013. He was born in Hot Springs, Arkansas on October 25, 1932 to Mary Roundtree Sheffield and William Membry Sheffield, Sr. Judge Sheffield is survived by his wife, the former Patricia Allen of Richmond, VA, and their two daughters, Joi Elisa Sheffield and Shari L. Sheffield, both of Washington, DC. He is also survived by his two brothers, Ronald Sheffield and Harold J. (Frankie) Sheffield. He is preceded in death by his parents; two older brothers, William Sheffield, Jr. and John Sheffield; and four sisters, Ida Norman, Mary Hopkins, Ruth Kendall and Barbara Phillips. Judge Sheffield was nominated by President Jimmy Carter to the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia on April 9, 1980. In 1974, Judge Sheffield was appointed by Governor Mills E. Godwin, Jr. to the Circuit Court of the City of Richmond, Virginia, the first such appointment to a court of record in the Commonwealth of Virginia of an African American since Reconstruction and subsequently served as Chief Judge supervising seven other judges. Judge Sheffield, a 1963 graduate of Howard University School of Law, served as a law professor and faithfully supported his alma mater throughout his professional career. Judge Sheffield received his Bachelors of Arts in Political Science from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, in 1955 whereupon he enlisted in the United States Air Force and served honorably until 1959. Judge Sheffield was a long time member of Ebenezer Baptist Church of Richmond, Virginia, a 32nd Degree Free and Accepted Mason and a long time member of Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity (Alpha Beta Boulé), Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Incorporated, the Guardsmen, Richmond Urban League, N.A.A.C.P. (Life Member), National Bar Association, American Bar Association, and the Old Dominion Bar Association. Additionally, Judge Sheffield served on the boards of Richmond Community Hospital, Saint Paul's College, and the Richmond Symphony. The family will receive friends at Ebenezer Baptist Church, 216 W. Leigh Street in Richmond, Virginia on Thursday April 4, 2013 from 10 a.m. until the hour of service at 11 a.m. Dr. Levy Armwood, officiating.
Published in The Washington Post on Apr. 2, 2013