William G. "Bill" Flangas
June 4, 1927 – December 23, 2018
William G. “Bill” Flangas, 91, reposed in the Lord on December 23, 2018, surrounded by his Family. Bill was born in Ely, Nevada on June 4, 1927, to Gust William and Poloxene Flangas, both of whom were Greek immigrants from the area of Thermopoly. Poloxene passed away when Bill was just six months old, and Gust was killed about year later in a tragic accident between his car and a train in the heart of Ely. Bill was raised by his Aunt and Uncle, Alexander J. and Fotene Flangas in Ely, along with their three sons, John, Gus and Ernest Flangas. Bill was a lifetime resident of Nevada, having moved to Las Vegas in 1958 from Ely. Bill proudly served in the United States Navy in World War II, and was part of the initial occupation force in Tokyo. Bill graduated in 1951 from the University of Nevada at Reno with a degree in Metallurgical Engineering, and went to work for the Kennecott Copper Corporation in South America and later in White Pine County, Nevada. In 1958, Bill completed his Engineer of Mines Degree (E.M.), and was recruited and hired by the Reynolds Electric & Engineering Company (“Reeco”), the prime contractor at the Nevada Test Site, Mercury, Nevada. After joining Reeco, Bill led the initial efforts to move the atmospheric nuclear weapons testing program at the Nevada Test Site underground. He led the first reentry teams into the tunnels after detonating an atomic device. One such reentry nearly cost him his life. Bill also led the first ever underground recovery of a ground zero after an atomic blast. Many of Bill’s efforts in moving the testing of atomic weapons underground are memorialized in a book entitled: “Caging the Dragon.” Bill stayed at the Nevada Test Site for 37 years, serving as Tunnel Superintendent and Department Manager, Division Manager, and Vice President. After leaving the Test Site in 1995, Bill became an Underground Mining, Construction & Management Consultant primarily working in Nevada. Bill also served as an underground expert on the Treaty Monitoring Teams for the Threshold Test Ban Treaty (TTBT) and Peaceful Nuclear Explosions Treaty (PNET), and traveled to Russia in that capacity on the U.S. Treaty Teams. He was also involved with the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) efforts. Bill was also very active in the Community. He was instrumental in youth athletics and in developing baseball and basketball leagues that allowed thousands of kids to play ball. In conjunction with these efforts, Bill led the way in having 11 desperately needed baseball fields lit up by putting the process in motion, putting together the volunteer labor force, and getting all the equipment donated that was necessary to dig power lines and set the power poles. Bill also led the way in the construction of a multimillion dollar gym facility, which was completed in 1976. Through his efforts, the gym was constructed using only volunteer labor. In addition, through his efforts all the equipment for construction was donated as well as a vast amount of the construction supplies. The gym was sold to the Boy and Girls Club in 1984 for one dollar, and is known today as the Lied Boys and Girl Club, located on Lindell and Edna in Las Vegas. Bill served as a member, and as Vice Chairman and Chairman of the State Public Works Board from 1964 to 1985. He served on the Mackay School of Mines Advisory Council, whose efforts saved the school’s accreditation and kept Nevada’s only mining school as one of the best in the Country. He served on the UNLV Athletic Commission, and on the Board of Directors for the Boys and Girls Club of Las Vegas. He was a Trustee for the University Medical Center Foundation which raised over six million dollars for the Medical Center. Foundation Projects included Southern Nevada’s sponsorship of the Children’s Miracle Network. He was also instrumental in establishing a monument in Ely to honor those from White Pine County who perished while serving their Country in the Armed Forces going back to 1898. He was appointed by Governor Kenny Guinn to serve as a member of the State Ethics Commission and served as its Vice Chairman. He was the Nevada Engineer of the Year in 1976. He received the Las Vegas Exchange Club Book of Golden Deeds Award in 1979. He received the TV-3 Spirit Award in 1983. He was honored as the 1984 Distinguished Nevadan by the University of Nevada Board of Regents. He received the Award of Excellence in Support of Nuclear Weapons Testing Program in 1992. He received an Honorary Associate of Arts Degree in Human Letters from the Community College of Southern Nevada in 1999, and was honored as the Mackay School of Earth Sciences and Engineering Alumnus of the Year in 2007. Bill was a member of St. John the Baptist Greek Orthodox Church for almost 60 years, serving over the years on the Church Parish Council, Building Committee and Audit Committee, and working on many other projects. Bill was an intensely devoted and loving family man. He is survived by his wonderful wife of over 62 years, Marilyn Flangas, his sons, Gus “Billy” (Tamara) Flangas and Gary (Amanda) Flangas, and his 10 grandchildren. He was preceded in death by son, Albert (Trudi) Flangas. He is also survived by his brothers, John (Carmen) Flangas and Ernest Flangas, and many other relatives and Godchildren. There will be a Viewing at 4 p.m. Friday, January 4th, with a Trisagion following at 5 p.m. Funeral services will be at 11 a.m. on Saturday, January 5th. The viewing, Trisagion and Funeral will all be at St. John the Baptist Greek Orthodox Church, 5300 El Camino Road (located on W. Hacienda Ave between Torrey Pines and Jones). At Bill’s request, burial will be in Ely, Nevada on Monday, January 7th at noon. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in his honor to the St. John Building Fund. May his memory be eternal.
- Visitation Friday, January 4, 2019
- Trisagion Friday, January 4, 2019
- Funeral Service Saturday, January 5, 2019
- Graveside Service Monday, January 7, 2019
William G. "Bill" Flangas
January 16, 2019
As a reporter for United Press International I had a lot to learn about the NTS and nuclear testing. Bill always was willing to help me and other reporters " get it right". I remember his cool good humor and consideration in turbulent situations.
January 4, 2019
Many years of great memories as neighbors and friends. Our thoughts and prayers to the family. Alan Tinney and family.
Dr. Leonard Kreisler
December 30, 2018
It was a real privilege to have known , worked and socialized with Bill and his friends and family. I met him in 1973 at the Nevada Test Site. Bill was the king of the one-liners. A favorite of mine was if someone asked him if aliens actually lived in Area 51. His reply was "of course, why do you ask?" The answer would be "where are they". At this point-Bill would look at that person with deep sincerity and reply "We sent them to Congress of course". Rest in peace, Bill. Or as the Hebrews say TIKKUN OLAM - "Make the World a better place" which you certainly did.
The UMC Foundation would not have existed without Bill Flangas' hard work and influence. I was Chief of Staff there when this was accomplished.
Real friends are rare in this world and I am so proud to have called Bill, my friend.
Len Kreisler, MD - Medical Director- NTS
December 30, 2018
I was the Chief RN at the Nevada Test Site and interfaced with Bill professionally for many years. He contributed so much to the NTS and cared for each and every one of his employees. If an accident occurred, Bill would stay all night to assist or support the families and the medical department.
I never met a man more dedicated to his family than Bill Flangas-Marilyn and his sons- Gus, Gary and Albert. As important as he was, he included everyone in his circle. Bill used to run with me on the race track in his dress shoes. He was funny and a lot of fun. Nevada Days were shared with Dr.Kreisler, Bill , Marilyn and John Mathis (deceased).
A wonderful life-full of accomplishments- he remained a nice, kind, caring man. Safe in the arms of the Lord for eternity. May the memories of his special life comfort his beloved family at this sad time.
December 28, 2018
Marilyn, This is Debbie Minerva's daughter. Kostas advised me of Bill's death this past week and I wanted to express our sympathy. I haven't told Mom about her cousin's passing because of her dementia. She talks about her Ely days with all the boys and how they visit her. Mom's dementia is in Stage 7 so I'm afraid she's going to be very upset. Please know you and the family are in our prayers. We lost an icon of the family. May his memory be eternal 🙏