The Honorable Vern E. Sheldon
Judge Vern E. Sheldon was a Fort Wayne native, having attended Fort Wayne Community Schools and graduating from Central High School in 1949. During high school, Judge Sheldon was both an outstanding student and a nationally recognized high school public speaker. Judge Sheldon graduated Cum Laude from Franklin College in 1953, and with a Juris Doctor Degree with Distinction from Indiana University in Bloomington in 1956 as well as receiving recognition in the Order of the Coif. While at law school, he both published articles and, as a 3L, served as Editor-in-Chief of the Indiana Law Journal.
Following graduation from law school, he was commissioned as 1st Lieutenant in the Judge Advocate General Corps of the United States Army in 1957. He served with distinction as Post Judge Advocate of the Pine Bluff Arsenal Troop from 1957-1960.
Upon completion of his military duties, he associated himself and soon became a partner with the firm. Judge Sheldon continued at the firm for a period of 25 years, distinguishing himself as an outstanding trial lawyer, well-known, popular, and much sought after legal advisor specializing in both litigation and municipal law, where he served both as an Associate City Attorney and as Attorney for the Fort Wayne-Allen County Airport Authority.
In 1985, he was selected as a Judge in the Allen Superior Court where he continued to serve with distinction until his retirement on December 31, 1998. During his judicial service, he served as Chief Judge from 1989-1991, and was primarily assigned the responsibility of supervising trials of complex and delicate legal issues. Judge Sheldon was highly regarded by all of his colleagues as an outstanding Judge, totally dedicated to his judicial responsibilities, always cordial and thoughtful to the lawyers appearing before him, to witnesses, and to the many jurors over whom he exercised responsibilities.
Judge Sheldon’s professional affiliations included the Indiana Judicial College; Indiana Judicial Conference (Judicial Administration Committee 1992-1996); Probate Committee 1997- 1998; Allen County Bar Association (President, 1984-1985); Indiana State Bar Association (House of Delegates, 1983-1988; Secretary, Board of Managers, 1987- 1988); Benjamin Harrison American Inn of Court (President 1994-1995); Indiana Judges Association; and American Bar Association. Since 1992, Judge Sheldon was Marquis’ Who’s Who in American Law.
The Judge was active in innumerable local civic organizations, including the Fort Wayne Quest Club, the Fort Wayne Country Club, the Fort Wayne Rotary Club, and the Valley Lodge of Fort Wayne Scottish Rite, having served as Commander in Chief from 1975-1977.
Upon his retirement from Allen Superior Court, Judge Sheldon received the Sagamore of the Wabash from Governor Frank O’Bannon. The award - the highest civilian honor the governor can bestow - is a personal tribute given to those who have rendered distinguished service to the state or to the governor.
Judge Sheldon continued his interest in civic organizations via active participation as a volunteer for Franklin College and the Indiana University School of Law at Bloomington, until the time of his death.