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Longtime Nebraska federal judge Warren K. Urbom was known for his honor, dignity and grace, daughter Joy Taylor said Monday.

Urbom, who was appointed to the federal bench in 1970, was recognized for his 44 years of service with a number of awards. 

When he retired in 2014, former Nebraska Gov. Bob Kerrey said, "No one has meted out justice with more wisdom, wit and seriousness of purpose."

Urbom died Friday at the age of 91.

He was born in Atlanta, Nebraska, and grew up in Arapahoe. He served as a technical sergeant during World War II, then attended Nebraska Wesleyan University. He received his law degree from the University of Michigan Law School.

Taylor remembers her father often working late when she was a child. He would sit in his chair and pore over case notes, reading briefs or writing opinions. He'd also stay awake late into the night to write sermons or lessons for his Sunday school classes at Trinity United Methodist Church.

Urbom and his wife, Joyce Crawford Urbom, were members of the church for more than 50 years. Taylor said the whole family would sit together in the pews every Wednesday night and every weekend. 

The church, Taylor said, was one of her father's favorite places and he was involved in countless committees, often taking large roles or even leading the group.

Urbom also served in leadership roles at NWU, where he met Joyce during class and fell in love. He was chairman of the Board of Governors, was on the Board of Trustees and a Life Governor.

Taylor remembers how, despite the heavy workload, Urbom always made time for family. He'd sit down every night over dinner with his wife and four children to talk about their days.

If the children had a question or wanted to know what a word meant, Urbom would leap out of his chair and head to the dictionary.

"Everything was a teaching moment," Taylor said.

For 11 years, Urbom used that skill to guide students at the University of Nebraska College of Law, where he worked as an adjunct instructor in trial advocacy.

Two of his children, Taylor and Randall Urbom, pursued careers in law, a decision that Taylor said was influenced by her father's career.

"He had such a passion for law," she said. "He loved every bit of being a judge."

Though her love for the law came from her father, the most important thing he taught her was to "treat everyone with dignity and honor, to be humble, fair and impeccable in your words and in your actions."

Memorial services will be Tuesday at 11 a.m. at Trinity United Methodist Church, 7130 Kentwell Lane. Visitation begins at 10 a.m. 

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