Timothy J. Pugh
December 22, 1945 – May 17, 2021
On May 17, the world lost a great man. Tim was a wonderful and loving husband, father, grandfather, and friend. The youngest child and only boy, he was born in St. Paul, Minnesota to Thomas and Florence Pugh with two older sisters, Mary Virginia (“Ginny”) and Patricia. He liked to brag that he won the Most Beautiful baby contest.
When he was nine years old, Tim and his family moved to Omaha. He attended Holy Cross Catholic School and Creighton Prep High School. During this time, he developed strong friendships which remain to this day.
At Creighton Prep, Tim was an outstanding basketball player known for his rebounding, hustle, and left-handed sky-hook. He helped lead his team to the State championship finals in his senior year ultimately falling to Omaha Tech. Tim moved on to play collegiate basketball for Creighton University. He continued to be known for his rebounding and hustle plays – although his coaches probably complained that he was more interested in shooting. Despite his affinity for playing Bridge (and persuading others to skip class to play with him), he graduated from Creighton University and went onto Creighton Law School. In 1970, Tim graduated from Creighton Law School and was admitted to the Nebraska Bar Association.
Tim practiced law at the same law firm, McGrath North, for over 40 years. While that firm merged and changed names throughout the years, it was the same firm he joined in 1970. He was a well-respected and experienced litigator handling over 100 trials in his first three years of practice. He was admitted to the U.S. Supreme Court and argued before the Nebraska Supreme Court and Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals.
In addition to his career as an attorney, he had an adventurous curiosity, loved history museums, and had a well-known desire to learn. Among other things, he learned photography, accounting, woodworking, scuba diving, golf, fishing, skiing, piano, gourmet cooking, and to ride a motorcycle and fly a plane. He would pour his heart and time into mastering a subject – which, of course, included acquiring every possible gadget that he could find. After he reached a level of mastery in his mind, he moved on to a new subject.
Tim is also known for his terrible puns/jokes, his quick wit, and the ability to change the lyrics of songs to his liking (although we can’t be sure that he just didn’t know the correct lyrics). His were the definition of “dad” jokes and he loved it. He would often send a terrible pun or joke to his friends and family. We laughed harder envisioning him chuckling quietly to himself than we laughed at the jokes. He also enjoyed entertaining us with humorous stories and useless trivia.
Tim was a loyal and devoted friend. He developed strong friendships – primarily founded on playing cards, eating his favorite foods, and drinking good wine. He had a standing appointment for lunch with a group of friends every Wednesday. He had breakfast with friends on Saturdays. He met friends for a “safety meeting” and drinks on Thursday evening. He regularly played card games with his friends complete with trophies and accusations of card counting. He could always be relied upon to support and entertain his friends and family.
While at Creighton Law School, Tim met a fiery, tall, red-headed girl. He immediately swept her off her feet – mainly because he was the only one taller than her. And, even though she had to leap into his decrepit moving car when going on a date, she stayed with him. That fiery red-head became his wife, and they were married for 52 years until his death. Together Tim and Jan have had triumphs, heart-break, and utter joy. They played games and sports and developed friendships together. They raised three children, Rebecca, T.J., and Patrick. They argued zealously, loved deeply, and believed in their family. They taught their children to work hard and to be passionate and caring. They knew what each other were thinking and could communicate using words like “whatchamacallit” or “thingy” to the amazement and amusement of their children. They shared a lifetime of love – the true definition of soul mates.
Tim adored and was adored by his children and grandchildren. He showed them how to work hard, be inquisitive and intelligent, care for each other, laugh, and enjoy life. He sang odd lyrics to songs, quizzed them on state capitals, and made them laugh every day. He taught them how to listen and to be loyal. He attended every game and theatre play from 1st grade bunch-ball to the NCAA tournament. During the COVID pandemic, he watched his grandchildren’s games and concerts from home via their parents’ live-streams. He regularly praised their athletic abilities (regardless of their actual ability, aptitude, or interest). He even praised his eight-year-old granddaughter who proclaimed, “I do not run” by responding, “Me neither!” His children and grandchildren made him extremely proud.
While he will be sorely missed, he will always be in our hearts and minds and leaves a prominent legacy. He is preceded in death by his parents (Thomas and Florence) and his sister (Ginny). He is survived by his loving wife (Janet), his three children (Rebecca, T.J., and Patrick), his six grandchildren (Charlie, Rian, Mason, MacKenzie, Thomas, and Emily), his sister (Patricia), and many nieces and nephews and grand nieces and nephews.
A Celebration of Life will be held from 2:00pm to 5:00pm on Sunday, May 30th at the Creighton Prep Sullivan Center (west side entrance).
In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to the American Cancer Society and/or Creighton Prep High School.