Kopf: Judge Laurie Smith Camp is Dead

Judge Laurie Smith Camp died in her sleep this past week. She was only 66 and so far as anyone knew, healthy. An honors graduate of Stanford and Editor in Chief of the Nebraska Law Review, she was brilliant and likely our best Chief Judge. But so much more important to me was the person I knew and came to love like a sister.

Social intelligence, kindness, class, sensitivity and graciousness was her essence. Most of you don’t remember Grace Kelly, but Laurie and I would. So, I will end with photos of these two women who radiated a pure goodness that I cannot adequately express.[1] You will understand then why tears run down my checks as these photos stare back at us.

Grace Kelly

Laurie Smith Camp

Richard G. Kopf
Senior United States District Judge (Nebraska)

[1] If you think this is sexist, then you don’t understand Laurie or me.

17 thoughts on “Kopf: Judge Laurie Smith Camp is Dead

  1. jeffrey gamso


    In the past month, three retired judges in Toledo, men I practiced before with pleasure (mostly) and respect (always) – good judges and good men, men – died. Health, life, death, these have been focal issues for me this year since well before the coronavirus.

    I can do no more than offer my sincere sympathy.

    Let those tears flow freely.

    1. Richard Kopf



      You captured what I attempted with photos. Unsurprisingly, you did so far better than my feeble effort. Thank you.

      All the best.


      PS Although I am not religious, “Amazing Grace” is my favorite of all songs religious or secular. Judy Collins’ voice is angelic. Ethereal. Her rendition is the best.

      Truly, I have played your version over and over and tears swell up each time. Perhaps that is because I crave such grace in a world that is graceless save for my dear departed and steadfast friend and a few, very few others.

      1. Keith

        My condolences on your loss (and the loss of all those that won’t have her here in the future).
        In my faith, the prayer one says upon hearing of a death translates as: Blessed is the true judge.

        Perhaps, it has additional meaning here.

        Be well and may her memories always be a blessing.

  2. Marilou Auer

    I’m so sorry for the loss of your beloved friend. I’m positive she loves you as you do her. May her memory be a blessing.

  3. Andy Fox

    Judge Laurie had just given an Awesome presentation on the history of Omaha and her family connection with it, to our Golden K. Kiwanis club on Tuesday. She was riveting and elegant. The heart of our club breaks for the loss of such a wonderful leader and human being. God bless Judge Laurie

  4. Stephen L. King

    May she set sail on the sunrise boat
    May she return to port on the sunset boat
    May she sail among the heavenly stars
    May she ride the boat of a million years

  5. Lorraine Boyd

    Judge Knopf, I too am grieving at the loss of our wonderful Laurie. I feel I know well your pain; I feel it too. I Have cried many tears, something I have not done at the loss of others very close to me. I am still trying to make sense of why this loss was so sharp, so painful. It must be because I (we) always felt loved and important and special when we were in her presence. And now we’ve lost that. She had that special gift. I will now try even harder to be like her — to appreciate everyone I meet. Pay it forward so to speak. Maybe that’s how we can best honor her memory.
    I am so sorry for your loss. May your memories help ease the pain.


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