Lloyd George, namesake of Vegas federal building, dies at 90

LAS VEGAS (AP) — A longtime U.S. district judge who became a living legend as he continued for years to hear court cases in a Las Vegas federal building named in his honor has died at age 90.

Lloyd D. George’s death was announced by the U.S. District Court of Nevada with a Wednesday statement calling him “a judges’ judge and a mentor to all of us on the federal bench.” It said flags at U.S. courthouses in Nevada would fly at half-staff through Thursday.

George was a revered jurist and Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints leader who hosted international delegations, led citizenship naturalization ceremonies and relished telling stories of attending schools he could see from his courthouse office. He flew Cold War missions in the U.S. Air Force and traveled and taught court structure in the former Soviet Union's republics.

He was born in February 1930, in Montpelier, Idaho, but moved to Las Vegas at a young age. He graduated from Brigham Young University and was an Air Force pilot from 1954 to 1958. He earned his law degree at the University of California, Berkeley School of Law and was admitted to the Nevada bar in 1961. He had a private law practice before being appointed as a U.S. bankruptcy judge in 1974.

He was named in 1984 to his lifetime position by President Ronald Reagan, became chief judge in the Nevada district in 1992 and continued to work after taking senior judge status in 1997.

He represented the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on the Judicial Conference of the United States and served on the International Judicial Relations Committee through 2015, lecturing on constitutional issues, court structure and the rule of law. He hosted frequent visits by judges from other countries.

In a 2008 tribute entered into the congressional record, former U.S. Sen. John Ensign, R-Nevada, praised George and his wife, LaPrele, for their contributions to the Las Vegas community.

The State Bar of Nevada’s Professionalism Award is named for Lloyd George, along with a moot bankruptcy court competition at the William S. Boyd School of Law at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

The Lloyd D. George U.S. Courthouse and Federal Building opened in 2002. When Congress approved the name in 1998, then-U.S. Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nevada, summarized George's acclaim.

“No one on the bench in Nevada has received more praise for his work and sense of fairness than Chief Judge George,” he said.