Elizabeth Ann Shollenberger, a City Court Judge in White Plains, New York, died on Sept. 5, 2019, at the age of 63.
Elizabeth, who was born in Alliance, Ohio, was co-valedictorian of the Circleville High School Class of 1974 and runner-up for the title of Miss Pumpkin Show in 1973. After high school, she went on to graduate from Princeton University in 1978 and from Yale Law School in 1981.
After law school, Elizabeth worked for three private law firms in New York City, and taught for two years at New York University School of Law (where one of her students was John Kennedy Jr.) before finding her major career niche as a Legal Services attorney, representing indigent clients in the New York City boroughs of Queens and the Bronx for over 20 years. In Bronx Housing Court, Liz loved being the equalizer, altering the radical imbalance of power that normally exists between low-income tenants (usually unrepresented) and the attorneys for landlords. In 2007, she received the Legal Services Award for service to indigent clients.
Elizabeth was also very active in politics. In 1983, while living in the Greenwich Village neighborhood of New York City, she was elected as the founding president of the Village Reform Democratic Club. Three years later, in 1986, she was elected in a primary as Democratic District Leader for Greenwich Village. She held that position for nine years, winning re-election twice in primary contests and twice without opposition. During her time as District Leader, she played a key role in the initial election to Congress of Jerry Nadler, who now chairs the House Judiciary Committee.
In 1999, Elizabeth and her husband, Tim James, moved to White Plains, New York, and immediately got involved with the White Plains Democratic Party. Elizabeth’s leadership abilities were so apparent that, just four years later, in 2003, she was elected Chair of the White Plains Democratic City Committee. She served joyfully and successfully as Chair of the City Committee for over 13 years, until her appointment by the White Plains Common Council at the end of 2016 to be a City Court Judge. She also served as a member of New York’s Democratic State Committee from 2014 until her appointment to the bench.
In addition to her husband, a family-law attorney in New York City, Elizabeth is survived by her mother, Nancy Marie Shollenberger of Circleville, a retired teacher who taught for many years in the Teays Valley Local School District; and her half-sister, Diane Kuipers of Lebanon, Tennessee.
Elizabeth was predeceased by her father, Herbert Russell Shollenberger; and her maternal grandparents, Herman Shirl Craven and Grace Elizabeth Craven.
There will not be funeral or memorial service for Elizabeth right away. A memorial service for Elizabeth will be held in White Plains, New York at a time and place to be determined.