ralph_tyson.jpgBATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Ralph Tyson, the chief judge and first black judge appointed to the U.S. District Court of Louisiana's Middle District, died Monday. He was 62 years old.

In its announcement of his death, the Baton Rouge-based federal court described Tyson as “a wonderful person, a dedicated public servant and a wonderful leader and friend to all of us.” 
Born in Baton Rouge, Tyson was nominated to the court in 1998 by then President Bill Clinton and served as the Middle District's chief judge since 2005.

“A loving father and husband, respected teacher and fair judge, Ralph Tyson was a selfless public servant who made Louisiana better each day. Although he is no longer with us, he will always be a part of Louisiana's history and remembered as a dear friend,'' Democratic U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu said in a statement.

Tyson graduated in 1973 from the Louisiana State University Paul M. Hebert Law Center and worked in private practice until 1988.

He served as a Baton Rouge city court judge from 1988 to 1993 and as a state district judge from 1993 until his appointment to the federal court by Clinton. He also taught law classes for a decade.

Tyson was named the 2009 Distinguished Alumnus of the Year for the LSU law school.