TOPEKA — Former Kansas Supreme Court Justice Tyler Lockett died after contracting COVID-19, officials said Wednesday.
Lockett, 87, died Saturday. He was appointed to the state’s highest court in 1983 by Democratic Gov. John Carlin and the justice retired in 2003. He had been a district court judge in Sedgwick County and worked as a private practice attorney before the appointment.
“Even as we are saddened by Justice Lockett’s passing, we are honored by his long and outstanding service to the people of Kansas as a trial court judge and Supreme Court justice,” said Marla Lucker, chief justice of the Kansas Supreme Court.
Lockett was born in Corpus Christi, Texas, and grew up in Wichita. He graduated from Washburn University and served four years in the U.S. Navy as a pilot. He returned to Topeka and graduated from Washburn’s law school in 1962. He served in the U.S. Naval Reserves until retiring as captain in 1986.
Former Chief Justice Lawton Nuss said the two met when Nuss joined the Supreme Court in 2002.
“We soon hit it off, perhaps when I learned he had been a Navy aviator like my father,” Nuss said. “Justice Lockett’s many years in the U.S. military and an almost equal number of years in the Kansas judiciary show just how devoted he was to serving others. He was a good man and a good colleague, and he helped teach me what it takes to be both.”