Former Nev. legislator Jack Vergiels dies at 72 |

Former Nev. legislator Jack Vergiels dies at 72

(AP) – Jack Vergiels, a longtime Nevada educator and legislator who served as both Senate majority leader and Assembly speaker, died Wednesday after a long illness. He was 72.

According to the Legislative Counsel Bureau, Vergiels was the only lawmaker in Nevada history to have held the top leadership posts of both chambers.

The Las Vegas Democrat served in the Assembly from 1973 to 1984, and was speaker in 1983. He served in the Senate from 1985 through 1992, where he was majority leader in 1991.

Vergiels was a close ally of then-Gov. Mike O’Callaghan and then-Lt. Gov. Harry Reid in the early 1970s, Reid said in a statement.

“I was saddened to hear of his passing,” said Reid, now the majority leader in the U.S. Senate. “Throughout Jack’s long career serving our state, he was a true leader that Nevadans could always depend on.”

Sue Lowden, who defeated Vergiels for the state Senate in 1992, said she was saddened by the death of her once political rival.

“Sen. Vergiels demonstrated his commitment to public service and to our great state. He will be missed,” Lowden said in a statement.

Vergiels grew up on Ohio, and received his bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate degrees in education from the University of Toledo.

After coming to Nevada, he taught at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. In 1998 he was honored as Professor of Education Emeritus by the University and Community College System of Nevada.

In 2007, Vergiels was inducted into the Nevada Senate Hall of Fame.

Funeral arrangements were pending.