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Texas Senate honors Caddo Lake activist Shellman

By Hannah DeClerk
May 15, 2012 at 10 p.m.

The Texas Senate recently released a proclamation honoring the life of Dwight K. Shellman, founder of the Caddo Lake Institute.

Shellman died March 21 at the age of 77 after a battle with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as ALS, or Lou Gehrig's disease.

The senate proclamation no. 397 In Memory of Dwight Killian Shellman, Jr., signed by Texas Senator Bob Deuell and Secretary of the Senate Patsy Saw, states the senate of the state of Texas "honors and commemorates the life of attorney, public servant, civic activist, and environmentalist."

Shellman was born in Pennsylvania and graduated from Springfield High School in Ohio; an admirer of the Rocky Mountains, he moved to Colorado, where he attended the University of Denver and earned a Bachelor of Science degree in 1959, according to the proclamation.

Following his graduation, he became an assistant city attorney in Denver and later joined the law firm of Holland and Hart; he subsequently moved to Aspen, where he formed the partnership of Shellman, Carney, and Edwards.

He was elected to the Pitkin County Board of County Commissioners in 1972, and though he returned to practicing law in 1976, he continued his public service as a member of the planning and zoning commission.

The proclamation reads that in 1993, Mr. Shellman collaborated with musician Don Henley to form the Caddo Lake Institute to preserve and protect the largest natural body of freshwater in Texas; he served as president of the institute from 1993 to 2006 and was instrumental in Caddo Lake's being designated a wetland at the international level.

He spearheaded efforts to create the Caddo Lake National Wildlife Preserve, for which he received the Citizen's Service Award from the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, according to the proclamation.

The proclamation continues by regarding Shellman as a "tireless organizer and an intensely loyal friend and advocate for the people and causes in which he believed," and "his friends in Texas will long remember his kindness, his humility, and his loyalty."

"Proclaimed, that a copy of this proclamation be prepared for his family as an expression of deepest sympathy from the Texas Senate," it concludes.



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