Joe Shell, Kern County's elder statesman and civic leader, dies at 89

Joe Shell, Kern County's elder statesman and civic leader, dies at 89 »Play Video
One of Kern County's elder statesman and civic leaders has died. Joe Shell was 89 years old.

Joe Shell was a very well known political figure not just here in Kern County but throughout California as well. He was the man involved in other issued than just politics. He took on Richard Nixon in 1962. Shell lost the gubernatorial primary against his fellow republican but he did not let that loss dissuade him from continuing to serve in other capacities.

Prior to running for governor, Joe Shell served in the State Assembly representing the Wilshire District in Los Angles in 1953. And he was married to another well known local political figure and former Bakersfield Mayor, Mary K. Shell.

Those who knew the man closely say Joe Shell may disagree with you, but he was always respectful.

Stan Harper, Political Consultant, "He had the ability to work with people that were of like philosophy. And he wasn't an in-your-face type of politician.
If he philosophically disagreed with you, that was OK. But he got his point across to you in a very civil manner, as compared to some politicians who it's either their way or the highway."

Joe Shell never ran for public office after his loss to Richard Nixon, But he continued to stay involved in civic matters as an independent oil man working as a lobbyist for the oil industry.