Lonnie Hammargren was something of a flamboyant figure. Which can be especially saying something when referring to a resident of the State of Nevada. Of which Hammargren was at one point the lieutenant governor.

But his political career might not even be what he's best known for in his state. Hammargren would lead an eclectic, and at times, eccentric lifestyle over the years. His legacy and impact have become a particular point of discussion now.

Passed away on June 13, 2023

Lonnie Hammargren has died. He was 85. A cause of death had not originally been released.

But KLAS-TV indicates that the Clark County, Nevada Coroner's Office determined that it was a subdural hematoma.

Hammargren had also evidently been suffering from other conditions. Including cardiovascular disease and dementia. Among those issuing statements of mourning was Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman, an Independent. "A true genius," Goodman said in part about Hammargren. She also remarked that he had "a wonderful sense of humor" and was "a great friend."

Hammargren was a member of the Republican Party. His electoral career began with the Nevada System of Higher Education Board of Regents. He became a member of the institution in 1988. Six years later, he was elected as the next lieutenant governor of Nevada.

Incumbent Sue Wagner, also a Republican, was not running for re-election. Wagner had tragically become paralyzed as a result of a plane crash.

In 1998, Hammargren opted for running for governor over re-election as lieutenant governor. But he would finish in a distant third place in the Republican primary. The nomination was won by Kenny Guinn, former president of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

Guinn would go on to win the general election.

Hammargren tried reclaiming the lieutenant governor's office in 2006. For a second time, he finished in third place in the race for the Republican nomination. First place went to State Treasurer Brian Krolicki, who also emerged victorious in the general election.

Aside from politics, Hammargren gained notoriety for his varied and voluminous assortment of collections.

So much so that he eventually opened up his private residence in Las Vegas as a museum.

His activities did draw the concern of some, however leading to his appearance on the A&E series "Hoarders".

He was a highly-decorated U.S. military officer

Lonnie Hammargren was a native of Harris, Minnesota in the Twin Cities region. He graduated from high school in nearby Rush City and later from what is now the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities.

With the outbreak of the Vietnam War, Hammargren volunteered for military service. He completed his training at the United States Air Force School of Aerospace Medicine as an honor graduate.

Hammargren served in the war as a Special Forces paratrooper and flight surgeon.

Decorations he received included the Bronze Star Medal and five Air Medals.

At one point, Hammargren had designs on becoming an astronaut. He did get close, even becoming a NASA flight surgeon. But his eyesight without corrective lenses did not meet standards for spaceflight.

Eventually, he became a longtime practicing neurosurgeon. Patients Hammargren operated on several high-profile names. Among them were stunt motorcyclist Gary Wells and boxer Kim Duk-koo.