OGDEN -- You sort of had to be there.
Bill Daines lying on the floor of the courtroom, delivering his closing arguments on his back.
"He was giving the jury the point of view of the murder victim," said Kristine Knowlton, who spent 16 years with Daines at the Weber County Attorney's Office. "The jurors would have to lean over the jury bar and focus solely on him."
Daines' upright bombast is legendary at the Ogden 2nd District Courthouse. Regulars there agreed that moving his trials to the Dee Events Center would generate ticket sales. The booming voice, antic mannerisms, the restless energy pacing courtrooms for 38 years.
"When he was thinking under pressure, he would do this 'lobster claw' thing with his hand," said Knowlton, now head of the Child Protection Division of the Utah Attorney General's Office. "When any of us saw the 'claw,' we knew somebody was going to lose an argument, and it wasn't going to be Bill."
Passion was only matched by his preparation.
"I can't think of the words that would do justice in describing Bill in the court room," said Shane Minor, an investigator with 28 years of working with Daines at the County Attorney's Office. "His knowledge of the law, his ability to communicate with the court and juries, to anticipate every legal process that was occurring was amazing."
Avid fly fisherman and hunter, Daines recently, at age 69, joined a mountain man club. Last winter he took up snowmobiling.
During lunch breaks, he would fly fish on the Ogden River by the Dinosaur Park, grab some co-workers and put on waders over slacks and white shirts.
His 38 years with the WCAO made him likely the longest practicing prosecutor in the state.
William Fred Daines died suddenly Friday of a brain aneurysm, shocking Weber's legal community.
He went to work Wednesday with a headache, checked into a hospital the next day, July 4, according to family, and the aneurysm spread fatally.
He passed at 12:09 p.m. Friday surrounded by family, friends and co-workers at McKay-Dee Hospital.
A memorial gathering is set for today from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Old Post Office, 298 24th Stt.
No funeral is planned, said Preston Flannary, funeral director for the Ogden Lindquist Mortuary. Cremation is scheduled. Opting for privacy, the family is releasing no photos.
The accolades are pouring in.
Weber County Attorney Dee Smith, Daines' boss and protege -- words Smith agrees go together -- says, "I can't imagine that there is another individual who has done more for this community over the last four decades than Bill Daines.
"He has been a selfless public servant who has helped thousands of victims receive justice. He set a standard in the County Attorney's Office of hard work and preparation that will benefit it for decades."
Rob Parrish and Bob Stott, veterans of the Utah Attorney General's Office, were similarly awestruck.
Parrish's earliest professional memories in his career include hearing Daines lead a trial strategy seminar at a Statewide Association of Prosecutors conference. He still uses the practical advice of that day to date, "amplified over and over again as our careers interlaced ... His mentoring of all of us as prosecutors will have an effect through multiple generations."
"Bill was the epitome of what a prosecutor should be -- dedicated, determined and fair," Stott said.
While he found Daines possessed of a great sense of humor and able to laugh at himself, Stott said when Daines walked into a courtroom "his opponents knew that they were in for a battle. As great as he was as a prosecutor, Bill was even a greater human being."
"Billy D, Willie, William, Willie Fred, Fred, Sweet William, Billy the Kid, Elder W. Fred Daines, Wild Bill," said colleague Chris Shaw of the County Attorney's office in listing his nicknames.
"Along with several too profane to mention here. As they say, people without nicknames aren't very well-liked. As you can see, Bill was very well-liked."
"When I hired on in Ogden in 1978," said Chris Zimmerman of his 10 years working with Daines, "Bill was an experienced prosecutor who was looked upon as the person to go to when you needed advice."
Daines was the go-to prosecutor, said Zimmerman, also a former Roy police chief and chief deputy Weber County sheriff, now director of the Weber School Foundation.
"Bill is still looked upon as the best and was still looked to for advice from the younger detectives. He has taught over three generations of detectives to be their best."
"I know of no one who had a greater impact on the criminal justice system in Weber County than Bill," said Paula Carr, who retired as trial court executive over 2nd District Court in Ogden in 2006 to set up the Ogden Justice Court. A longtime friend of Daines, she said, "The phrase 'one of a kind' is over-used, except when talking about Bill."
"Bill was my mentor, co-worker and good friend of 30 years," said Chief Deputy Weber County Attorney Gary Heward. "Bill provided four decades of public service to the citizens of Weber County and prosecuted thousands of cases, vigorously representing crime victims and law enforcement ... We will all miss him."
"A quicker wit has not lived," Shaw said. "Few minds are as sharp and creative ... I could go on and on. I already miss him more than words can explain."
"He was tough, but there was never a mean side to him," Knowlton said. "He would never have retired, because he loved what he did. He loved where he worked.
"He has had the greatest positive impact for the longest time on each and every one of us who knew him."
"Bill's influence will long be felt in Weber County," said Mike King, an investigator in the County Attorney's Office for 15 years with Daines before a similar run with the Attorney General's Office, and now a police consultant.
"God bless you, Bill, and family. May your skies be full of ducks and your rivers filled with trout."