ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Former Minnesota Supreme Court Chief Justice Robert Sheran, who was appointed twice to the state’s highest court, has died. He was 96.
Sheran died Wednesday, according to the Washburn-McReavy funeral home. His daughter, DFL state Sen. Kathy Sheran of Mankato, told the St. Paul Pioneer Press he died at his Bloomington home.
Robert Sheran graduated from St. Thomas College and the University of Minnesota Law School. The Waseca native served as a special agent with the FBI during World War II and practiced law in Mankato and Minneapolis. He also served in the Minnesota House from 1947-49 and was an interim dean at Hamline University School of Law in St. Paul.
“There is absolutely no question that he was a master of law. He knew the law like no one else,” Mankato attorney Scott Kelly, of the law firm where Sheran worked for nearly 20 years, told The Free Press of Mankato.
Kelly said Sheran had a photographic memory and was able to retain complicated medical affidavits simply by recall.
Sheran also had a deep, rich voice that added to his imposing demeanor.
“When he talked, you listened,” Kelly said.
Known as a liberal, Sheran served on the Minnesota Supreme Court twice — first as an associate justice appointed by Gov. Elmer L. Andersen from 1963-70, and then as chief justice appointed by Gov. Wendell Anderson from 1973-81.
Sheran cited financial reasons when he resigned from the high court in 1970 to return to private practice at a Minneapolis law firm, the Pioneer Press reported. At the time, Minnesota Supreme Court associate justices made $26,000 a year. Salaries had since been raised when Sheran returned to the high court in 1973, and he earned $40,000 a year as chief, the newspaper said.
In addition to his daughter, survivors include sons Thomas, John and Daniel.
His funeral will be held Monday at Our Lady of Grace Catholic Church in Edina. Burial will be held at Calvary Cemetery in Mankato.
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