William G. “Bill” Flangas, 91, reposed in the Lord December 23, 2018, surrounded by his Family. Bill was born June 4, 1927, in Ely, to Gust William and Poloxene Flangas, both of whom were Greek immigrants from the area of Thermopoly. Poloxene passed away when Bill was just six months old, and Gust was killed about year later in a tragic accident between his car and a train in the heart of Ely. Bill was raised by his Aunt and Uncle, Alexander J. and Fotene Flangas in Ely, along with their three sons, John, Gus and Ernest Flangas. Bill was a lifetime resident of Nevada, having moved to Las Vegas in 1958 from Ely. Bill proudly served in the U.S. Navy in World War II, and was part of the initial occupation force in Tokyo. Bill graduated in 1951 from the University of Nevada at Reno with a degree in Metallurgical Engineering, and went to work for the Kennecott Copper Corporation in South America and later in White Pine County. In 1958, Bill completed his Engineer of Mines Degree (E.M.), and was recruited and hired by the Reynolds Electric & Engineering Company (“Reeco”), the prime contractor at the Nevada Test Site in Mercury. After joining Reeco, Bill led the initial efforts to move the atmospheric nuclear weapons testing program at the Nevada Test Site underground. He led the first reentry teams into the tunnels after detonating an atomic device. One such reentry nearly cost him his life. Bill also led the first ever underground recovery of a ground zero after an atomic blast. Many of Bill’s efforts in moving the testing of atomic weapons underground are memorialized in a book entitled: “Caging the Dragon.” Bill stayed at the Nevada Test Site for 37 years, serving as Tunnel Superintendent and Department Manager, Division Manager, and Vice President. After leaving the Test Site in 1995, Bill became an Underground Mining, Construction & Management Consultant primarily working in Nevada. Bill also served as an underground expert on the Treaty Monitoring Teams for the Threshold Test Ban Treaty (TTBT) and Peaceful Nuclear Explosions Treaty (PNET), and traveled to Russia in that capacity on the U.S. Treaty Teams. He was also involved with the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) efforts. Bill was also very active in the Community. He was instrumental in youth athletics and in developing baseball and basketball leagues that allowed thousands of kids to play ball. In conjunction with these efforts, Bill led the way in having 11 desperately needed baseball fields lit up by putting the process in motion, putting together the volunteer labor force, and getting all the equipment donated that was necessary to dig power lines and set the power poles. Bill also led the way in the construction of a multimillion dollar gym facility, which was completed in 1976. Through his efforts, the gym was constructed using only volunteer labor. In addition, through his efforts all the equipment for construction was donated as well as a vast amount of the construction supplies. The gym was sold to the Boy and Girls Club in 1984 for one dollar, and is known today as the Lied Boys and Girl Club, located on Lindell and Edna in Las Vegas. Bill served as a member, and as Vice Chairman and Chairman of the State Public Works Board from 1964 to 1985. He served on the Mackay School of Mines Advisory Council, whose efforts saved the school’s accreditation and kept Nevada’s only mining school as one of the best in the Country. He served on the UNLV Athletic Commission, and on the Board of Directors for the Boys and Girls Club of Las Vegas. He was a Trustee for the University Medical Center Foundation which raised over six million dollars for the Medical Center. Foundation Projects included Southern Nevada’s sponsorship of the Children’s Miracle Network. He was also instrumental in establishing a monument in Ely to honor those from White Pine County who perished while serving their Country in the Armed Forces going back to 1898. He was appointed by Governor Kenny Guinn to serve as a member of the State Ethics Commission and served as its Vice Chairman. He was the Nevada Engineer of the Year in 1976. He received the Las Vegas Exchange Club Book of Golden Deeds Award in 1979. He received the TV-3 Spirit Award in 1983. He was honored as the 1984 Distinguished Nevadan by the University Of Nevada Board Of Regents. He received the Award of Excellence in Support of Nuclear Weapons Testing Program in 1992. He received an Honorary Associate of Arts Degree in Human Letters from the Community College of Southern Nevada in 1999, and was honored as the Mackay School of Earth Sciences and Engineering Alumnus of the Year in 2007. Bill was a member of St. John the Baptist Greek Orthodox Church for almost 60 years, serving over the years on the Church Parish Council, Building Committee and Audit Committee, and working on many other projects. Bill was an intensely devoted and loving family man. He was preceded in death by son, Albert (Trudi) Flangas. Bill is survived by his wonderful wife, of over 62 years, Marilyn Flangas; his sons, Gus “Billy” (Tamara) Flangas and Gary (Amanda) Flangas; his 10 grandchildren; his brothers, John (Carmen) Flangas and Ernest Flangas; and many other relatives and godchildren. Visitation will be Fri., Jan. 4, at 4 p.m. with a Trisagion following at 5 p.m. Services will be at 11 a.m. Sat., Jan. 5, all at St. John the Baptist Greek Orthodox Church, 5300 El Camino Rd., Las Vegas, NV 89118. At Bill’s request, burial will at noon Mon. Jan. 7, in Ely. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in his honor to the St. John Building Fund. May his memory be eternal.
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