The Lord called Merlyn Hoyt home on January 23, 2016. Merlyn lived a long, full and blessed life and most people know him as “the Judge.” He is survived by his wife Carol Lamphere Hoyt (married 56 years). He is also survived by four children Michael Hoyt, Las Vegas, NV, Barbara (Scott) Mccraw, Lexington, SC, Tracy (Brad) Lewis, Lake Oswego, OR and Paul (Celina) Hoyt, Keller, TX. There are nine grandchildren: Michael Hoyt, Nicholas Hoyt, (CO), Travis (Grace Ann) Hoyt, Jamee Cobb, Jaedyn Swails, (SC), Kellen, Kally and Kaden Lewis, (OR), Brooklyn Hoyt, (TX) and one great grandchild Hailee Cobb, (SC). Merlyn was predeceased by his parents Harold and Hazel Hoyt, his sister Connie Cota and brother Phil Hoyt.
Merlyn was born June 13, 1933 in Ely, Nevada. He lived most of his life in Ely graduating from White Pine High School in 1951. In high school he played football and basketball and was named to the 1951 all state team in football. He attended the University of Nevada in Reno and graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration. He is a lifetime member of Lambda Chi Alpha. Upon graduation in January 1957 he was hired by Ralph Crosser, Comptroller for Kennecott Copper Nevada Mines Division as a cost accountant at McGill, Nevada.
He met his wife Carol in Ely, NV and they married in 1959. In 1960 Merlyn decided to attend Law School. This was encouraged by Senator Alan Bible, who helped Merlyn & Carol find employment in Washington D.C. Carol worked full time (to help Merlyn through law school) at the United States Senate for the Senate District of Columbia Committee, of which Senator Bible was Chairman. Merlyn also worked part time at the Georgetown Public Library, attended summer school, and finished law school in two and a half years (January 1963). Merlyn went from law school straight to an attorney position in the Department of Interior, National Parks and Monuments. The following summer he passed bar examinations in Washington D.C. and in Nevada and was admitted to both Bars. While he worked in the Interior Department he was asked to research the legality of the Great Civil Rights March of 1963. He researched the March and submitted his work. On the day of the Great Civil Rights March, Merlyn went to observe and was invited to join the Great March. He gladly marched all the way to the Lincoln Memorial and heard the Great Speech of Martin Luther King who spoke about his dream of equality in America. He left the Interior Department to take the position of Assistant United States Attorney in the Department of Justice stationed in Reno, Nevada. He was appointed by the Attorney General of the United States, Nicholas De B. Katzenbach. He prosecuted crime and defended the Government in civil actions. Merlyn learned from working with the FBI, other Federal agents and outstanding Federal Judge Bruce Thompson. Two years later he left the Federal job to return home to Ely, Nevada. Merlyn then ran for the office of District Attorney of White Pine County where he was elected and then re-elected four years later. After serving seven years in the District Attorneys office an opening occurred in the District Judges office and he was appointed by Governor Mike O’Callahan to finish the year left on the term. Merlyn then ran and was elected and re-elected District Judge five times. He ultimately retired mid-term after 27 years on the bench. This was ten years longer than anyone else in the 7th Judicial District – Eureka, Lincoln and White Pine Counties. In 1968 he was a delegate to the Democratic National Convention in Chicago. He was selected once for Who’s Who in American Politics and later Who’s Who in American Law.
Judge Hoyt loved eastern Nevada. He called it the last of the old State of Nevada. Merlyn often spoke of Ely’s beautiful sky, mountains and streams. He fished, hunted and camped from the Ruby Marshes to Mt. Wheeler. Merlyn took great pride in Ely and was proud of living in one of America’s most beautiful places with the purest water and cleanest air.
Merlyn believed the best attributes of his Nevada were the people. The Americans who loved their country and state Westerners, who are fiercely proud and independent. They took care of themselves, believed in multiple use of the land, water and always share and took good care of it. They supported and stood behind the Law. They were neighbors, friends and companions. Merlyn was honored to serve them in public office for 34 years and felt a special responsibility to deal with family problems and violent criminals as a prosecutor and a Judge.
Merlyn took a special interest in children. He followed every local youth activity, coached little league baseball and served as the little leagues President. For years Merlyn drove to Las Vegas with a group of friends to attend football and especially basketball games at UNLV. He also tried to help and protect children in his Court and had little use for those who failed the child or children. He often pointed out that many had helped him in his life and he wanted to do the same in return.
Merlyn trained seventeen law clerks and had special pride in each and every one. His law clerks were loyal to him as a Judge in State and Federal Courts.
The most important part of Merlyn’s life was his wife, children and grandchildren. He had a wonderful wife and marriage. Carol always supported and helped him. They ultimately shared 57 years of love and happiness. He was very proud of each child and grandchild and kept track of each of their lives.
Merlyn often said “the Lord will let me know when its time for me to go home”. And it’s finally time! Merlyn has gone home and was loved, admired and will be missed by many. It was his hope, that in some small way he helped make the world a better place.
The family will be hosting a Celebration of Life ceremony in honor of Judge Hoyt on Saturday, February 27th from 3pm-6pm. The location is the Bristlecone Convention Center. 150 Sixth Street Ely, Nevada.
In lieu of flowers, please cosider a donation on Merlyn Hoyt’s behalf to the Three Square food bank at threesquare.org.