James Moylan spent his entire adult life in politics and public service, his family said, and he was still lobbying at the Capitol days before he died.
Moylan, 84, died Thursday following a stroke.
Most recently he worked as a lobbyist for the Nebraska Licensed Beverage Association and tobacco company R.J. Reynolds, but Moylan also served on the University of Nebraska Board of Regents and was a deputy county attorney and a lobbyist for Douglas County. He was active in state Democratic politics.
He was a native of Bayard, Iowa, and attended Creighton University. His father was Harold T. Moylan, a Nebraska state senator, and one of his brothers was the late Douglas County Judge Joseph Moylan.
“Our father was a one-of-a-kind man and had a great run in life. He was a protector, a provider and a patriarch,” said his son Mike Moylan, an Omaha developer. “He took sincere interest in, and was a true friend to, so many people crossing so many generations.”
James Moylan had a gift for remembering not just everyone’s name, but details about their lives and families, his son said — a trait that served him in politics while displaying his sincerity.
U.S. Rep. Brad Ashford, who represented the same district as Moylan’s father in the Legislature and knew Moylan as a lobbyist, said he was highly ethical and represented often-controversial issues with integrity.
“In a time of vitriol and conflict in politics, there are only a few people I can think of from the old school who could disagree with you with kindness and go from one issue to the next and never hold a grudge,” Ashford said. “Jim Moylan was that kind of person.”
Moylan served on the NU Board of Regents from 1971 to 1989, and was the board’s chairman three times during his tenure. He advocated before and after for bringing then-Kearney State College into the system, which happened in 1991.
Moylan was a veteran of the Korean War.
He is survived by his wife, Lila Fitzgerald; Mike Moylan and five other children; and 15 grandchildren.
Services will be Tuesday at 10 a.m. at Christ the King Catholic Church, 654 S. 86th St.