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Sheldon leaves tough spot to fill

Sue Sheldon - State Public Defender’s Office - Recently Retired

Sue Sheldon – State Public Defender’s Office – Recently Retired

Erik Nelson credits Sue Sheldon for adding a few more years to his life.

Nelson, an assistant state public defender, and Sheldon had for years climbed the stairs to their office every day — even when it moved to the fifth floor from the third floor. And Nelson wasn’t the only one Sheldon, then a legal secretary and regional office administrator at the State Public Defender’s Janesville Regional Office, had tried to get on the bandwagon.

“I tried to encourage everyone,” she said. “So I kind of probably became everyone’s mom at the office. They hid.”

Nelson and Sheldon worked together at the SPD for about 35 years until Sheldon retired last month. She provided support and administrative services to the SPD’s three offices in Janesville,

Elkhorn and Monroe, which encompass Rock, Walworth, Green and Lafayette counties.

During her 37-year career at the SPD, Sheldon helped run the Janesville office in other ways. On top of being organized and making sure everything was proceeding smoothly, she became a source of emotional support for the office.

“I think that one of the things that’s outstanding about Sue is that she’s someone who’s always got a listening ear for co-workers, especially when you work in an environment that is as high-paced and high-stress as a public defender office,” Nelson said.

Sheldon was also the liaison to other agencies, such as the state Department of Justice and courthouse staff. That role can be fraught with pitfalls, yet Sheldon handled it with beneficial results for the lawyers and their clients, said Kelly Mattingly, Sheldon’s boss and attorney manager at the Janesville office.

“I try to be as helpful as I can to them, and they always return the favor,” Sheldon said.

Nelson says Sheldon’s shoes will be tough to fill.

“She’s just been somebody who makes things work behind the scenes and has always had the interest of our clients, our staff and the taxpaying public in mind and done a good job for all of them,” he said.

During her retirement, Sheldon is looking forward to going on more golfing trips with her husband and doing more snowshoeing, a pastime she recently took up. Sheldon is also looking forward to exploring another new hobby — volunteering at St. Mary’s Hospital in Janesville.

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