Justice Ellis J. Staley Jr. was born in Albany on September 12, 1914. He graduated from Albany Academy in 1932, from Yale University in 1936, and from Albany Law School in 1939. He was admitted to the Bar in September 1939. From 1944 to 1961, he was a member of the law firm of Browne, Staley, Sanford & Forner. He was an associate professor of law teaching Federal and State taxation at Albany Law School from 1945 to 1956. He was elected to the Supreme Court in 1960 and re-elected in 1975. From April 1964 to April 1967, Gov. Rockefeller temporarily assigned him as a Justice of the Appellate Division, First Department. He was designated to the Appellate Division, Third Department, by Gov. Rockefeller on May 16, 1966, and remained on the Court until he voluntarily retired on October 16, 1980. For a time, Justice Staley's name appears on decisions rendered by both Departments. He died at his home in Loudonville in January 1981. Justice Staley's father, Ellis J. Staley Sr., held numerous public offices, sequentially including deputy Attorney General, counsel to the Forest, Fish and Game Department of New York State, Albany County Attorney, Albany County Surrogate, New York State Conservation Commissioner, Chairman of the first Water Power Commission, and Justice of the Supreme Court for the Third Judicial District (beginning in 1922). Justice Staley Sr., while Albany County Attorney, was very involved in the planning and construction of the Albany County Courthouse. Judge Bergan has observed that he "was really the father of [the Albany County Courthouse]. He planned it, he arranged for its financing; in fact, he almost designed it point by point, and in many respects it is a monument to his memory." Staley family ancestors emigrated to America in the 1600s from Switzerland and southern Germany and settled around Albany and westward into Schoharie County.