Judge Ralph E. Tyson

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"For I have fought a good fight, I have finished the race and I have remained faithful. And now the prize awaits me - the Crown of Righteousness." II Timothy 4:7-8 (NLT). U.S. Chief District Court Judge Ralph E. Tyson, a lifelong resident of Baton Rouge, died Monday, July 18, 2011. He was surrounded by family in passing as in life. He was 62. Visiting at Wesley United Methodist Church on Friday, July 22, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Visiting at First United Methodist Church on Saturday, July 23, from 8 a.m. until religious service at 10 a.m., conducted by the Rev. Dr. Joe Connelly, pastor of Wesley United Methodist Church. Interment in Southern Memorial Gardens. He is survived by his devoted wife, Patricia Jordan Tyson; three sons, Christopher Jordan Tyson and wife Dr. Gia Landry Tyson, and Todd Michael Tyson, all of Baton Rouge, and Ralph Eric Tyson Jr., of Washington, D.C.; a daughter, Cara Elizabeth Tyson, of Baton Rouge; mother, Mrs. Theresa Davis Tyson; uncles, Ulysses G. Davis and Johnny R. Davis, and an aunt, Dorothy Early Davis, all of Baton Rouge; and nephews, Troy Allen Tyson and wife Brandy Alexander Tyson, of Dallas, and Patrick Brian Tyson, of Baton Rouge. He was preceded in death by his father, Julio Tyson; his brother, Gregory Ray Tyson; sister-in-law, Josie G. Tyson; maternal grandparents, Johnny R. Davis and Eliza S. Davis; paternal grandfather, Saul Tyson; paternal grandmother, Mary E. "Cooter" Hardnett; mother-in-law, Lula S. Williams; father-in-law, Felton Jordan; and uncles and aunts, William and Thelma Davis Parham, Robert Rowe and Betty Davis Rowe, and Thelma Davis. He was a 1966 graduate of Southern University Laboratory School, a 1970 graduate of LSU and a 1973 graduate of the Paul M. Hebert Law Center at LSU. He was the assistant district attorney for East Baton Rouge Parish, then chief city prosecutor for the city of Baton Rouge, a position he held for more than nine years. He also was engaged in private law practice for more than 15 years, first with the firm of Pitcher and Tyson and later with the firm of Tyson, Avery & Cunningham. In 1988, he was elected to Division B of Baton Rouge City Court, then Division B of 19th Judicial District Court in 1993. From July 1997 to June 1998, he served as the chief criminal judge of 19th Judicial District Court. He also served as judge pro tempore on the Louisiana 1st Circuit Court of Appeal by special appointment of the Louisiana Supreme Court from May 1997 to October 1997. On April 2, 1998, upon the recommendation of former U.S. Sen. John Breaux and current U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu, former President Bill Clinton nominated him to a newly created judgeship in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Louisiana in Baton Rouge, making him the first African-American judge of that court. The nomination was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on July 31, 1998, and he received his commission on Aug. 3, 1998. Tyson became chief judge of the Middle District on Sept. 1, 2005. The family has established the Ralph E. Tyson Memorial Scholarship at the LSU Law Center. Donations to the fund may be made payable to: LSU Foundation, notation line - Ralph E. Tyson Memorial Scholarship. Mail to LSU Law Center, Office of Alumni Relations, Suite 400, Baton Rouge, LA 70803. Gifts to support the scholarship may also be made by visiting the LSU Foundation site www.lsufoundation.org/contribute.php. Arrangements by Deselle Funeral Home.
Published in TheAdvocate.com from July 21 to July 22, 2011