Jack Gallivan led a lifetime of community service, advocacy
SALT LAKE CITY — A visionary and community icon, Jack Gallivan died Tuesday, but the former Salt Lake Tribune publisher and longtime advocate for the homeless has left behind a legacy of citizenship.
Gallivan, whose efforts led to the establishment of Park City's ski industry, the building of the Salt Palace Convention Center, the growth of cable television and Salt Lake City's tourism industry, as well as increased housing options for the homeless and the News Preservation Act, among many other accomplishments, died from natural causes at age 97.
"Jack and I were friends for more than 50 years," President Thomas S. Monson of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints said Wednesday. "We worked together on countless newspaper matters and numerous community projects. Over the years we became as close as brothers.
"I mourn his passing and will always treasure our friendship."
During his 60-year stead at the Tribune, including 24 years at its helm, Gallivan championed various issues in the city, ranging from political initiatives and government organization to urban renewal and increased presence of the arts and other community events.
In creating the city's Second Century Plan, which paved the way for projects like the Salt Palace, Abravenel Hall, Capitol Theatre and the Cathedral of the Madeleine in the early 1960s, and eventually, the Downtown Rising undertaking, Gallivan hoped for the state's capital city to be the "pride of every Utahn."
"Tourism is the thing that most people know him for, but he did so many more things," said Natalie Gochnour, vice president of policy and communications for the Salt Lake Chamber. She said Gallivan was passionate about combating homelessness even in his later years, and worked with the Downtown Rising project to re-energize the heart of the city.
"His commitment to the community was a high, high bar," Gochnour said, adding that Gallivan's shoes have yet to be filled.
"I think we have a lot of statesmen, a lot of incredible community leaders, but I don't know of someone who is filling Jack's shoes," she said. "He was just a real doer. He had a capacity to envision a better future, whether it was growing our economy or serving people who are in great need, his capacity to see around the corner and see a better future lifted everybody."
Gallivan was born in Park City in 1915, and his mother died when he was 5. He was subsequently raised by his mother's half-sister, the widow of Park City sliver-mining tycoon, Tribune owner and former Utah Senator Thomas Kearns. He grew up in the Kearns home, which now serves as the state's governor's mansion.
As a boy, Gallivan was educated in Utah and California and he later graduated from Notre Dame and was offered a job at the Chicago Tribune. Family allegiances dictated that he return to work for the Salt Lake Tribune, where he stayed, rotating through multiple functions, until concluding as chairman of the board in 1997.
Gallivan rallied behind a 1960s push to bring the Olympics to Utah, albeit boosting attention for "the greatest snow on earth" and bringing much needed life to a then-failing Park City.
"He proved the amazing amount of good one person can accomplish in a lifetime," said Lane Beattie, president and CEO of the Salt Lake Chamber, which awarded Gallivan a "Giant in our City" award in 1981. "We're lucky to have him and honored his legacy will always lead back to the beautiful city he loved."
During the award ceremony, Gallivan was quoted with saying, "Our task is to make all of Utah as beautiful in man-made additions as it is in God-given wonders; beautiful in the maintenance of the good life; beautiful in social equity and justice; beautiful in the brotherhood of mankind."
Gallivan helped to round out previous Tribune negotiations that led to a joint-operation agreement with the Deseret News, sharing publication, circulation and advertising costs through the Newspaper Agency Corporation.
Ellis Ivory, who served as chairman of the board of directors for the Deseret News, said, "Gallivan was a man who really cared about the big picture of not only the community, but also the newspaper business. I do know he had respect for the Deseret News and its ownership. Overall, he had a great desire to see peace in the community and see both newspapers do well."
Gallivan was married to Grace Mary Ivers Gallivan, who died of heart failure in 2000. He later founded an apartment housing complex in her name. The couple had four children — a daughter and three sons — as well as nine grandchildren and three great-grandsons.
He was inducted into the Utah Business Hall of Fame in 2003.
The Gallivan Center, situated prominently in downtown Salt Lake City, fittingly bears his name.
Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker said in a statement that Gallivan was a "model civic leader and outspoken advocate on behalf of those in our community whose struggles are sometimes forgotten."
"I think we can best honor Jack's life by continuing the work to realize his quest to care for the marginalized and make government a more open, responsive and effective institution," Becker said, adding that he plans to "carry Jack's zeal with me in pursuit of those honorable goals."
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