- Associated Press - Tuesday, April 21, 2015

LAS VEGAS (AP) - Another prolific creator of some of the Las Vegas Strip’s most recognizable neon signs has died.

Family and longtime co-workers confirmed Brian “Buzz” Leming died Sunday, the same day Las Vegas lost 91-year-old Betty Willis who designed the famed “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas” sign.

“Buzz was a friend of mine, and Betty was a hero of mine,” said Danielle Kelly, executive director of The Neon Museum near downtown Las Vegas where retired neon signs are displayed and where one of Leming’s last works, a sign for the museum itself, still stands.

Both were among the premier artists of Las Vegas’ neon age.

“There must be signs in heaven, and the good Lord needed some new designs,” said Ken Moultray, a longtime co-worker at Federal Heath Sign Co. and friend of Leming’s.

The 74-year-old Leming is credited with designing a number of Las Vegas neon signs including Barbary Coast signage for the casino-hotel, now The Cromwell, and for a remodeled Stardust.

His signage for the Las Vegas Club on downtown Fremont Street still stands.

Leming had just moved back to Arkansas where he died, after living most of his life in Las Vegas, Moultray said. He retired from the sign designing business three years ago.

For fans of retro Vegas, neon sign designers had their own rock-star status as of late.

“Buzzy never looked at himself that way,” Moultray said. As for designing signs, “he didn’t care if they were the great big ones or the itty bitty ones.”

His son Brian “Red” Leming, a sign installer, said Tuesday that his father would often draft his designs with watercolors and oils. “He was one of the great designers of an era that does not exist anymore,” he said in an email.


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