Robert Wilson "Bill" Sackett

FatherWilbur Wilson Sackett (1899-1990)
MotherEdith Rose Murphy (1901-1987)
Robert Wilson "Bill" Sackett
(Src: Obituary, Warner Funeral Homes)
Robert Wilson "Bill" Sackett, lawyer, son of Wilbur Wilson Sackett and Edith Rose Murphy, was born in Spencer, Clay County, IowaG, on 20 November 1933.1 He died aged 81 in IowaG on 6 November 20152 and was buried at St Margaret's Cemetery, Orleans, Dickinson County, IowaG.3 He married first in Minneapolis, Hennepin County, MinnesotaG, on 24 September 1960, Julianne Elizabeth Read, daughter of Maurice Dexter Read and Alberta Elizabeth Hoyman.4,5 Julianne was born on 4 June 1935.6,7 She died aged 25 on 5 April 1961 and was buried at North Lawn Cemetery, Spencer, Clay County, IowaG.3 He married second in 1964, Rosemary Shaw, daughter of Frank William Shaw and Irene Catherine Rafferty.2 Rosemary was born in Fort Dodge, Webster County, IowaG, on 17 January 1940.2,8 She died aged 82 on 2 September 2022.2
Julianne (Read) Sackett (1935–1961), North Lawn Cemetery, Spencer, Iowa
(Src: Find a Grave, Sharon Hesebeck)
Iowa Court of Appeals Judge Rosemary Sackett in 1984
(Src: Des Moines Register)
Robert Wilson "Bill" Sackett (1933–2015), St Margaret Cemetery, Orleans, Iowa
(Src: Find a Grave, noble honor)

Children of Robert Wilson "Bill" Sackett and Rosemary Shaw

Children who are or may be living are not shown.

Wed to Robert Sackett
Julianne Elizabeth Read, daughter of Mrs. Maurice Dexter Read of Minneapolis, Minn., and the late Mr. Read, was married to Robert Wilson Sackett Saturday afternoon at the Church of St. Patrick of Edina in Minneapolis. The bridegroom is the son of Mr. and Mrs. Wilber Wilson Sackett of Spencer.
     The couple was attended by Mrs. Walter E. Krafft and Michael Tangney.
     The bride attended Iowa State University at Ames and received her degree from the University of Minnesota at Minneapolis. She is a member of Gamma Phi Beta sorority. The bridegroom, a graduate of Iowa State and Drake University law school, is practicing law in Spencer with his father. He is a member of Delta Theta Phi law fraternity. The couple will live in Spencer after a trip to northern Minnesota.

The Des Moines Register, Des Moines, Iowa, 25 Sep 1960

Robert 'Bill' Sackett
November 20, 1933 – November 6, 2015

Robert Wilson'Bill' Sackett was born on November 20, 1933 as the third of Wilbur Wilson and Edith Murphy Sackett's five children. Bill attended school in Spencer, Iowa and was a member of the first Spencer High School Basketball team to make it to the state tournament in 1952. Bill managed the delivery of the Des Moines Register throughout high school and graduated in 1953.
     Bill went to Iowa State College on a track scholarship and graduated in 1960 He graduated the same year from Drake Law School and returned to Spencer to join his father's law firm. Pocahontas lawyer Rosemary Shaw had first remembered meeting Bill at a Young Republicans convention in Des Moines in 1958, where he was named vice-chairman. It wasn't until 1964 that they were setup on a date and were married the same year. Rosemary joined Bill and Wilbur in the Sackett Law Firm. Bill and Rosemary practiced together for twenty years, while raising five children, until she was appointed as a judge to the Iowa Courts of Appeals in 1983. Bill's practice included time as Clay County Attorney, city attorney for Spencer, Peterson, Sioux Rapids and Okoboji. Bill loved being a lawyer and held the title with great pride and respect for the rule and spirit of the law. His career as a lawyer lasted 50 years. Many of his clients became life long friends.
     Bill's other great passion was his community, as an active civic leader he was member of the Board of Governors of the Iowa State Bar Association, Clay County Bar Association, the Iowa Bar Foundation, President Sacred Heart School Board, President Spencer Hy Noon Kiwanis, Milford Kiwanis, Farmers Savings Bank Board of Directors, Commodore Okoboji Yacht Club, President Dickinson County Tax Payers Association, Parker Historical Society, Iowa Student Loan Liquidity Corporation, Board of Counselors of Drake University Law School, President University of Iowa Parents Board and many more through out the years. He was a devout Catholic and a third degree Knight of Columbus. He never missed any of his children's sporting events. Bill could be heard cheering on his children's teams from all corners of the events.
     Bill was drawn to the waters of Lake Okoboji and his love endured as was exemplified by his service as a long-term treasurer and board member of the Okoboji Protection Association. He was president of the Okoboji Yacht Club Sailing School and had a primary role in the establishment of the current facility. Bill sailed in the weekend races with his friends into his late 70s and instilled the same love of the lake in his children and grandchildren.
     Bill is survived by Rosemary, his wife of over 51 years, his five children and eleven grandchildren: Murphy Sackett (wife Leslie and child Maggie) of San Diego, CA; Morgan Sackett (wife Lara, children Sam and Sophie) of Los Angeles, CA; Barry Sackett (wife JoAnne, children Kwanele, Nokubonga, Tahoe and Venice) of Okoboji, IA; Frank Sackett (wife Kris, children Luna and Sadie) of Santa Monica, CA; and Mary Sackett (husband Shawn Hartje, children Albert and Sara) of San Rafael, CA. He is survived by his three sisters Elizabeth Fleming of Bloomington, MN; Sally Eick of Traverse City, MI; and Mary Carson of Scottsdale, AZ. His brother John died of the flu in early childhood.

Warner Funeral Homes & Crematory

Judge Rosemary Shaw Sackett

Honorable Judge Rosemary Shaw Sackett was born on January 17, 1940, to Frank William Shaw and Irene Catherine Shaw (ne Rafferty) in Fort Dodge, Iowa. She was raised in Pocahontas and called Iowa home for the rest of her life.
     An exceptional student, she graduated from Pocahontas high school in three years and continued her education at Buena Vista College, where she graduated cum laude in three years while being a National Collegiate Debater. At the age of 19, as the only woman in her class, Rosemary entered law school at Drake University. She was the only woman to take and pass the Iowa Bar Exam in 1963. At the age of 22 she started her law career in the Shaw Law Office in Pocahontas with her father, Frank Shaw, becoming the fourth generation of Shaws to practice as an Iowa attorney.
     During the Young Republicans State Convention in 1958, Rosemary met Robert W. "Bill" Sackett, the delegate from Spencer, Iowa. She would become acquainted with Bill again in 1964 when the West Law Book salesman set them up on a date. It was a successful match, and they married the same year. She joined Bill and his father Wilbur Sackett as an attorney in Spencer. She stopped practicing after their son Murphy was born, until her dear friend, Maxine Bussy, offered to care for Murphy and eventually all of their children, allowing Rosemary to return to work. She practiced law for twenty years in Northwest Iowa, and for 19 of those years, she was the only woman attorney in Spencer. She served as County Attorney, in Bar Association Leadership, and as a State of Iowa appointee on multiple commissions.
     In 1983, at the age of 43, she was appointed by Governor Terry Brandstad to the Iowa Court of Appeals. In 1999 she was elected by her peers as Chief Judge of the court, a position that she held until mandatory retirement at age 72. She remained with the court for 5 additional years as a Senior Judge. She authored more than 2,400 majority opinions with many dissents and concurrences. Serving for over 28 years, she is the longest serving judge in the history of the Iowa Court of Appeals.
     As the chief judge, she led the court by example, as a prolific writer and hard worker. She was known as a staunch advocate for parental rights in an effort to keep families together. In one opinion she wrote "A few hours of cleaning service would have cost the state less than the fees spent to litigate the adequacy of this woman's housekeeping skills through the state's appellate courts. And, most importantly, the child would not have suffered the trauma of removal and the insecurities that come in foster care. Houses can be cleaned, but the trauma a child experiences when he or she is removed from the only parental home he or she has ever known can cause emotional scars that can last a lifetime." Rosemary was not afraid to share her opinion or address societal issues and was often quoted in the press. In 1986 she spoke out about the need for more women and minorities in the Iowa judiciary. While her speaking out may have hurt her chances for advancement, the number of female judges appointed in Iowa increased dramatically. "Mrs. Sackett recalls getting letters from prospective employers saying they did not hire women. That was during the days when it wasn't illegal to do so, and few people thought such a policy was wrong. Despite these experiences, she does not consider herself a leader of the women's movement. 'I feel that if you want to work hard to do a job, whether you're a man or a woman makes no difference. If you are doing the right things, you will eventually be accepted. I've always felt I could do more for women by helping to create a good image for them and in helping recognize their potential.'" (Record Democrat, August 18, 1983)
     In 1990 she earned a Master of Law from the University of Virginia. Her dissertation defended the parental rights of the disabled. In 2006, she received an Honorary Doctorate in Public Service from Buena Vista College. A collection of Judge Sackett's papers are housed at the Iowa Women's Archives at the University of Iowa Library.
     In addition to her work on the bench, she visited the Country of Bahrain's Ministry of Justice to advise them on ways to improve their appellate system and make it more equitable. Her passion for the legal system led her to judicial conferences around the country expanding her knowledge and leading national judicial organizations. She was the first woman president of the Council of Chief Judges of State Courts of Appeal and is a past chair of the Appellate Judges Conference of the American Bar Association. She always said yes to an opportunity to further her education, collaborate with colleagues, share her wisdom, and support her community. She was a long-time member of Great Lakes Rotary, St. Mary's Catholic Church, Okoboji Yacht Club and Okoboji Protective Association. She coached middle school and high school Mock Trial and Debate teams. She mentored and encouraged young people, in particular women and girls, to seek professional careers.
     She and Bill had five children who were the source of incredible pride (and a few gray hairs). They raised their children on the shores of Okoboji- sailing, swimming, and spending time with friends. She wrote children's books, novels, and poems, many set in Okoboji. Rosemary and Bill attended all of their children's activities and loved spending time with their ten grandchildren. In a 1997 Des Moines Register article she was quoted as saying, "Young minds need to be nurtured. Young minds need environments where they're allowed to think for themselves, to clear their own path, to be guided, not directed. Most importantly they need to be respected." Okoboji was that place for the Sackett family. She instilled in her children the value of hard work, something she spoke of frequently and showed them every day. She led by example and showed you don't have to speak the loudest or use the most words to be heard. Her sense of humor was sharp and used to make a point or lighten a situation. While Rosemary resided in Iowa her entire life, a thirst for new experiences led to trips and study programs around the world.
     The world lost a great mind and a great leader on September 2nd, 2022, when Rosemary passed with her family by her side. A graveside service will take place at 11:30 am on Saturday, September 24th at St. Margaret's Cemetery, 13971 240th Ave, Spirit Lake, IA 51360. Following the service, a reception and luncheon will be held at The Roof Garden in Arnolds Park, 91 Lake St, Arnolds Park, IA 51331 from 1:00 pm until 4:00pm. Arrangements through Schuchert-Lentz Funeral Home in Spirit Lake. Online condolences may be left at
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be sent to the Okoboji Protection Association or the mentorship program of your choosing.
     Rosemary was preceded in death by her husband Robert "Bill" Sackett who passed on November 6, 2015, after they celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary. She is survived by her younger brother and fellow attorney William (Debra) Shaw of Beverly Hills, CA and his two daughters Catherine and Genevieve, both attorneys. Rosemary and Bill have five children: Murphy (Leslie) Sackett, a Boat Captain of San Diego, CA; Morgan (Lara) Sackett, a TV and Film Producer of Los Angeles, CA; Barry (JoAnne) Sackett, a partner in Goosmann Law Firm of Sioux Falls SD and Okoboji, IA; Frank (Kris) Sackett, a TV and Film Producer of Santa Monica, CA; and Mary (Shawn Hartje) Sackett, attorney and newly elected Marin County Supervisor of San Rafael, CA. She is also survived by her beloved Grandchildren: Maggie (Murphy); Sam and Sophie (Morgan); Tahoe, Venice and Kwanele (Barry); Luna and Sadie (Frank); and Albert and Sara (Mary). The family thanks those close friends who provided Rosemary with care and companionship, friendship, grace and compassion in her final years: Jan Myers, Annie Hartje and Sherri Akers.

—Published by Robinson Funeral Home on Sep. 7, 2022.

 Notes & Citations

  1. "Iowa, Birth Records, 1856–1944" (Ancestry image), "Sackett, Robert Wilson, b. Spencer, Clay County, Iowa, 20 Nov 1933, father Wilbur W Sackett, age 34, b. Carrol, Iowa, lawyer, mother Edith Murphy, age 31, b. Dubuque, Iowa, housekeeper, res. Spencer, Ia."
  2. Obituary.
  3. Find a Grave.
  4. "Minnesota, Marriage Index, 1958–2001" (Ancestry image), "24 Sep 1960, Hennepin, MN, Robert W Sackett, 26, & Julianne E Read, 25."
  5. The Des Moines Register, Des Moines, Iowa ( image), 25 Sep 1960.
  6. Marriage record.
  7. Gravestone.
  8. "Iowa, Birth Records, 1856–1944", (Ancestry image), "Shaw, Rosemary, b. Ft Dodge, Webster County, Iowa, 17 Jan 1940, father Frank W Shaw, 30, of Pocahontas, Iowa, b. Pocahontas, lawyer, mother Irene C P Rafferty, 27, b. Clermont, Iowa."
Sackett line10th great-grandson of Thomas Sackett the elder of St Peter in Thanet
ChartsLine 3a (American)
Last Edited8 Dec 2022

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