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Russell Greene Sheley Jr.


1935 - 2015 Obituary Condolences
Russell Greene Sheley Jr. Obituary
Sheley, Russell Greene Jr.
Russell Greene Sheley, Jr., 80, of Phoenix, Arizona died Thursday, October 29, 2015. Born on January 31, 1935 in a farmhouse on the Xenia Pike in southern Ohio, his humble beginnings belied the successes he would achieve throughout his life. He was orphaned at an early age and was preceded in death by his three siblings as well as his only child, his daughter Deborah Deene Sheley. Following graduation from Chillicothe High School, Russell joined the Air Force on the advice of his guardian and served during the Korean War. After completion of service and honorable discharge, he received his BA from Ohio University where he was inducted into the honor fraternity of Phi Alpha Theta Epsilon Beta Chapter. Russell then attended Ohio State followed by the University of Arizona College of Law. His excellence in Law School lead to writing for the Arizona Law Review. After graduating with Honors he was admitted to the Arizona State Bar in 1966 and has remained a member in good standing for his entire life. His first position was as a law clerk to Vice Chief Justice Jesse Udall with offices in the Old Capitol. Working with the Arizona Justices he was able to personally thank Chief Justice McFarland for the G.I. Bill without which he could not have finished his schooling. He then established his own practice during which he represented many young people as a legal aide attorney in the Juvenal Courts. Shortly thereafter, Russell became a judge for the Industrial Commission of Arizona where he spent 26 years before retiring. He wrote extensively and his decisions were rendered with insight, precision, balance and justice. Further, his many presentations on behalf of the Industrial Commission during the annual Arizona Bar Convention showed not only his command of the "Queen's English" but also his wit and originality. Belonging to The Boy Scouts of America in his youth and attending Philmont Boy Scout Ranch in New Mexico greatly influenced the path Judge Sheley was to take. He volunteered as legal advisor to Arizona Boys State as well as becoming a Big Brother. He received many awards for service in the community. Judge Sheley had many diverse interests and hobbies: HO Gauge model railroading, CB radio, crafting railroad layouts, modeling cars, boats and planes. He loved the Arizona wilderness and spent many hours traversing untraveled paths in the desert and the mountains exploring ghost towns and old mines. He camped, fished and hiked. During retirement he traveled to Europe and spent time in England and Norway. Returning to Arizona his travels took him to all the National Parks and Monuments in the west. After attending a Legal Aide Conference held at the Hotel del Coronado, he would return there often through the years spending hours traversing the beach and enjoying the sights and sounds of the Pacific Ocean. His love of trains found him traveling on the Sunset Limited up the Pacific coast to British Columbia. More 4X4 travels took him throughout Utah. Russell was a prolific reader and studied the geology of Arizona and the Arizona skies. He taught astronomy for Parks and Recreation and had a great interest in history, especially the Civil War and World War II. He spent his quiet time listening to Old Time Radio, Big Band Music and playing his guitar. He also was an avid fan of film noir and movies of the thirties and forties. He was a wonderful dancer, and kept himself physically fit throughout his life swimming, golfing and working on his home and 2 acres in Sunburst Farms. Looking back over his own personal history, he was very proud of his family tree having two Mayflower Descendents, young people who were married on the passage from England. He also found time to write articles for various outlets based on his experience writing handbooks on computers and on Administrative Law for the personnel of the Industrial Commission. He has written several chapters of a book describing some of his cases and decisions and how they came about entitled Lawyer for the Poor. A beautiful mind, sound and bright....A body of strength and might....A spirit of love and light....A character of value for what is right. Russell, beloved husband, is survived by his wife of 56 years, Carolyn Ann. A visitation will be held on Thursday, November 5 from 4-7 p.m. with a celebration of his life following immediately thereafter at Hansen Mortuary, 8314 N. 7th Street. In lieu of flowers, please donate to the World Wildlife Zoo, or the U of A College of Law General Scholarship Fund or a . A private interment will be at the National Memorial Cemetery of Arizona. On-line condolences may be made at www.hansenmortuary.com.
Published in The Arizona Republic from Nov. 3 to Nov. 4, 2015
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