Utah lost a great jurist and community activist this week with the passing of J. Allen Crockett.

He served for 30 years on the Utah Supreme Court, longer than anyone in state history. During that time he had a profound influence on how the interpretation of Utah's laws developed.Crockett's service on the court reflected the level of popularity and trust he enjoyed among state residents. In those days, state Supreme Court justices were elected by the people, and Crockett campaigned successfully for his first term in 1950.

Before serving on the high court, he was a 3rd District judge, counsel to the Public Service Commission and deputy Salt Lake County attorney.

But Crockett also will be remembered for his years of community service with various organizations. He chaired the March of Dimes, as well as the executive committee of Salt Lake County for the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis and the Legal Aid and Family Service Societies. He also chaired the boards of the Utah Symphony and the Utah State Institute of Fine Arts.

As a Supreme Court justice, he was known as the court's philosopher, always more than happy to share his own ideas about government and the law. He had the innate ability to memorize poetry, quotes and phrases to use at the right moments. His memory also helped make him an effective jurist, giving him the ability to remember the names and facts of many of the thousands of cases he heard.

The state will long benefit from his service.