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For week ended October 24, 1999 Posted 31 Oct 1999

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Longtime Las Vegas attorney Robert Callister dies at 77

Summarized by Eric Bunker

Longtime Las Vegas attorney Robert Callister dies at 77
Las Vegas NV Sun 19Oct99 P2
By Ed Koch: Las Vegas Sun

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA -- Las Vegas attorney Robert Callister, 77, the son of a former prominent Salt Lake City criminal defense attorney, Norval Callister, died a few weeks ago just one day before his 52nd wedding anniversary. He was married to and survived by the former Marco Christensen, the youngest child of prominent Las Vegas businessman M.J. Christensen and five children, sons Matt, Daniel and Tracy Callister, and daughters Christene Reynolds and Mara Meservy, and 26 grandchildren.

Although born in 1921 in Washington D.C., Bro. Callister was raised in Southern California and Utah. After graduating from high school in Salt Lake City, he attended the University of Utah but chose to interrupt his education to serve a mission in the South in the early 1940's

However, because of the demand for solders, he left his mission early to enlist in the Army during World War II, attending officers training school. Thankfully, the war ended before he was shipped overseas.

Returning to the University of Utah, he graduated in 1947. Considering his prospects better elsewhere, he and moved to Las Vegas where he walked up and down Fremont Street stopping at law firms and asking for a job as a law clerk, where he was hired by the firm Morse and Graves.

A few days after coming to town, Robert met fellow U of U graduate Marco. They married Oct. 17, 1947, in Salt Lake Temple, but lived all their married life in Las Vegas.

Callister, who's father and three uncles were also lawyers, passed the Nevada bar in March 1948 and joined the firm of Ruyman and Gregory, which later became Gregory and Callister. In the early 1950s, Callister opened his own firm, which later became Callister and Reynolds twenty-five years ago when he included his son-in-law, Ronald Reynolds as a partner. Today his son Matt is also a partner.

Another son, Daniel, is a Washington D.C., attorney, and his other son, Tracy, is a cardiologist in Tennessee. His daughters live in Las Vegas with their families

Although he practiced criminal law early on as did his father, he did not specializing in that area. Instead, he became involved in divorce law and handled personal injury cases for many years. At one point was co-counsel on two Las Vegas personal injury cases with nationally prominent attorney Melvin Belli. Later he practiced federal and state credit law. The Nevada League of Credit Unions was among his many clients.

As lifelong Republican, father Robert wasn't too happy about his son Matt's venture into politics. Matt is a former state assemblyman, state senator and Las Vegas City councilman. It first rankled him because his son was a Democrat and second because it brought Matt squarely into the public spotlight from which he the dad had long shied.

"Dad had a keen intellect and had high expectations for those he loved," Matt said. "But he also was a very private man who avoided publicity."

About the practice of law his son Matt commented, "Dad would say that when you write a brief, tell a story and get the key information on the front page. He said a judge doesn't have time to muddle through several pages of a brief to get to the point you are trying to get across."

Bro, Callister also loved the game of golf. He played every course in the Las Vegas area and read most everything on the subject he could get his hands on. In his prime, he had a single-digit handicap.

Copyright 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001 Kent Larsen · Privacy Information