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Las Vegas, NV 89101
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1927 - 2015 Obituary Condolences
RALPH LAMB Ralph Lamb, 88, a towering figure in the history of modern Las Vegas, passed away July 3, 2015, at Mountain View Hospital, while surrounded by family and loved ones. Lamb was born April 10, 1927, on a ranch in Alamo, one of 11 children. The family was dirt poor, but close-knit, and the Lambs all learned the value of hard work. Ralph served in the military around the end of World War II, returned to Nevada, and began a career in law enforcement. He was assigned to patrol the toughest neighborhoods of the Las Vegas Valley and earned a reputation as a fair and fearless deputy. He quickly rose through the ranks, became Chief of Detectives and left the force to start a private detective agency. Then, in 1961, he was appointed to be Clark County Sheriff, a job he always wanted. Lamb was elected to the position four times and held it for 18 years, longer than anyone. During that time, he led the effort to consolidate local law enforcement with the creation of the Metropolitan Police Department. He modernized the force, created a series of police substations along with the first SWAT team. Additionally, he supported the racial integration of Metro, and instituted a work card program that became a key enforcement tool during one of the wildest periods in Las Vegas history. The two-fisted sheriff was known for facing down bad men eye-to-eye, including mobsters, biker gangs, and killers-for-hire. He was on a first name basis with several presidents, movie stars, and Strip entertainers, but never lost the common touch. Ralph Lamb battled multiple health issues in recent years, but greatly enjoyed a resurrection of interest in his colorful career, including the CBS television series "Vegas," inspired by his true-life adventures. He was honored in 2015 when Metro named its central headquarters the Ralph Lamb Building, and with an exhibit in the Museum of Law Enforcement and Organized Crime. He will be widely remembered as one of the greatest western lawmen of the 20th century. He was preceded in death by nine sisters and brothers. He is survived by his wife, Rae Lamb; brother, Darwin; sons, Cliff (Leslie) Lamb and Clint (Grace) Lamb; daughter, Valerie (Alfred "Bub") Bowen; three grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren. There will be a celebration of his life at 1 p.m. Friday, July 10, at the LDS Church, 10550 W. Alta Drive (Town Center and Alta).
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