When James Sheldon began practicing law in 1975, there was a landing strip where the Target store along Cedar Avenue is today. Cedar Avenue ran one lane each way and a dirt road connected Apple Valley and Burnsville.
Now, after decades of serving the Apple Valley community as a lawyer and church administrator, Sheldon is retiring.
“It’s time,” Sheldon said.
Sheldon, who comes from a family of lawyers, has represented the city of Apple Valley for 25 years, most recently with the law firm of Severson, Sheldon, Dougherty & Molenda.
Sheldon remembers Apple Valley City Council meetings in the late 1970s that sometimes ran as late as midnight, a result of the city’s rapid growth and development.
“I’ve been blessed to work with really good people,” said Sheldon. “We’ve grown up with the city.”
In his retirement, Sheldon hopes to be more involved with Prince of Peace Lutheran Church in Burnsville, spend more time with his wife at their cabin and continue serving on the board of directors for Dakota Electric Association.
Sheldon’s colleagues are sorry to see him go.
“Jim has a great way of dealing with people,” said Michael Molenda, an attorney and shareholder with the firm, who said Sheldon’s leadership will be missed.
Sheldon’s retirement brought a significant change to the firm. As of Jan. 1, Severson, Sheldon, Doughtery & Molenda was renamed Dougherty, Molenda, Solfest, Hills & Bauer. Molenda said the name change was made to recognize the contributions of firm partners Loren Solfest, Sharon Hills and Bob Bauer.
And as for Sheldon, he may be leaving the firm, but he’s certainly not leaving Apple Valley.
“The city has been a good place to live and work,” said Sheldon. “The community’s been good to us.”