On the evening of May 1, 2013, during a freak snowstorm, the Robert Van Pelt American Inn of Court, in Lincoln, Nebraska, awarded its mentoring award to one of my federal district judge colleagues, Lyle Strom. Glenda Pierce, the Associate Dean of the University of Nebraska College of Law, made the award to Lyle.
Before his appointment, when Lyle was one of Nebraska’s premier trial lawyers, he had taken Glenda under his wing. At that time, she was a paralegal. He watched with pride as she later became a lawyer, a litigator and ultimately a law teacher and administrator.
Lyle responded to Glenda’s warm remarks in his characteristic manner. He thanked her for reading the speech he had prepared. Everyone laughed. Lyle sat down.
I walked out of the restaurant with Lyle. He had to drive back to Omaha, about 60 miles or so–in open country. The snow and the sleet were coming sideways by then and thick ice was beginning to form on the car windows. It was getting dark.
I asked Lyle if he wanted to stay at my house rather than making the long drive home in the awful high plains weather. He thanked me, but declined. He said he had criminal cases to handle the next morning, and he wouldn’t be able to sleep if he had to worry about being late. He drove off and into the awful night.
Lyle is 88 years old.