Honorable Lyle E. Strom
January 6, 1925 – December 1, 2023
Judge Lyle E. Strom was born in Omaha, Nebraska on January 6, 1925. He and his twin brother, Louis, were the first babies born in Omaha that year and had their picture in the Omaha World Herald. Louis and their sister, Myrna Madelen, both predeceased him. Lyle was married to Regina Kelly Strom (dec’d) and they raised seven children: Mary (Jim), Susan (dec’d), Amy, Cassie (Dan), David (Sylvia), Molly (Martin), and Bryan (Liz). They have ten grandchildren: Kim, Jenn, Scott, Nathan (dec’d), Richard, Drew, Timo, Toby, Alex, and Lucas; five great grandchildren and four great, great grandchildren.
Lyle served in the United States Merchant Marines as a Radio Operator during World War II. He graduated from Creighton University in 1950 and from Creighton Law School, with distinction, in 1953. He was widely respected as one of the premier trial lawyers in the state of Nebraska during his career in private practice. He shared his knowledge by teaching trial advocacy at Creighton Law School for 33 years and served as a director of its law student internship program from 1996 to 2005. His expertise in legal writing and analysis benefited the bench and bar through his drafting of Nebraska Model Jury Instructions and Nebraska Rules of Evidence. Lyle served as a fellow in the American College of Trial Lawyers, a fellow in the International Academy of Trial Lawyers, a Bronze Fellow in the Nebraska State Bar Foundation, President of the Omaha Rotary Club, Chairman of the Mid-America Council, Boy Scouts of America, and President of the Omaha and Nebraska Bar Associations. Lyle was extremely community spirited and gave freely of his time to many projects throughout his life.
On November 1, 1985, President Ronald Reagan appointed him to the United States District Court bench. Lyle often noted with pride that his appointment coincided with All Saints’ Day. Judge Strom was renowned for leading by example and promoting collegiality, civility, professionalism, and good humor. He was among the first federal judges to note the disparate racial impact of the federal sentencing guidelines related to crimes involving powder cocaine vis a vis crack cocaine, and he testified before Congress and support of amendments to the guidelines to address that disparate impact. Lyle sat at the proceedings for the high school mock trials in Omaha, he believed in providing the best experience to young people. As a result of his drive and energy, the Nebraska Bar Foundation’s High School Mock Trial Competition was named in his honor and in recognition of his many years of leadership in that competition at the state and national levels. The America Council of the Boy Scouts of America, honored Lyle for service to scouting by bestowing him with its Frontier District Award of Merit, the Silver Beaver Award, the William Spurgeon Boy Scout Explorer Award, and the Hall of Fame Lifetime Achievement Award. He was most proud when a campsite at Camp Cedars was named after him.
Playing and travel were important parts of the Stroms’ family life. Lyle was an avid golfer and visited most major golf courses in the U.S. Many times his children were invited along and instructed on the importance and value of “mulligans” (plural is intentional). Sledding, ice skating, swimming, water skiing, snow skiing, hiking, camping, canoeing, and singing (off-tune of course) were all regular activities for the Stroms. There was no bigger kid during these activities than Lyle. After he retired, he embarked on a round-the world trip with his children. It was a once in a lifetime adventure that took him to Taroko Gorge National Park in Taiwan, the Great Wall in China, Lake Baikal in Russia, and the Vatican in Rome (where he thoroughly enjoyed being introduced to gelato).
His life was long and blessed with rich experiences. Lyle Strom influenced the lives of those around him in a positive way, with a legacy in law that will continue to inspire generations to come.
VISITATION: Thursday, December 14th from 4pm to 7pm at the West Center Chapel. MASS OF CHRISTIAN BURIAL: Friday, December 15th at 10am, St. Mary Catholic Church, 2302 Crawford St., Bellevue. Interment, Bellevue Cemetery with Military Honors. In lieu of flowers, memorials are suggested to a charity of your choice.
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