Las Vegas Sun

September 15, 2014

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Prominent attorney Rittenhouse dies

Former U.S. attorney for Nevada and longtime Clark County lawyer Franklin "Pete" Rittenhouse died Friday at a local hospital. He was 72.

Born Oct. 25, 1926, in Wheeling, W.Va., and raised in Waynesburg, Pa., Rittenhouse came to Las Vegas to join his parents after serving in the Navy during World War II.

His father, George Flint Rittenhouse, was the city engineer at the time.

Rittenhouse attended the University of Nevada, Reno, where he graduated in 1948 with degrees in history and accounting.

He graduated from Stanford University law school in 1951 before returning to Las Vegas, where he became a member of the Nevada State Bar Association.

From 1951 to 1954 he was a partner of the law firm Bonner & Rittenhouse with John Bonner.

Rittenhouse and his wife, Natalie, were married in 1953.

Rittenhouse became an assistant U.S. attorney in 1954 and was the U.S. attorney from 1955-1958, after which he spent 20 years as a partner in McNamee, McNamee & Rittenhouse. Founded in 1913, it was one of the oldest law firms in Las Vegas.

He loved the state and was dedicated to the bar, Natalie Rittenhouse said, adding that he mostly enjoyed mining and water law.

In 1978 Rittenhouse became probate commissioner for Clark County, overseeing estates and trusts of the deceased for 13 years. He retired at 65.

He served on the board of Secret Witness, working with Metro Police until his death.

During his retirement, he and Natalie traveled extensively to Mexico and Guatemala.

"We enjoyed the study of our Indian culture here, then went on to pre-Columbian cultures of Mexico and South America," she said. "He finally found out that people were supposed to take vacations -- something he hadn't realized in private practice."

Rittenhouse also was past president of the Clark County Bar Association, served two terms on the Board of Governors for the Nevada State Bar Association and was a member of the Board of Visitors of the Stanford University School of Law.

In addition to his wife, he is survived by his daughter, Allison Hayward, and his sister, Ann McNamee of Las Vegas; his granddaughter, Winston Hayward of Arlington, Va.; and several nieces and nephews.

Services will be private. The family asks contributions be made to the Nevada State Museum and Historical Society.

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