E. Keith Eddington, self-portrait

E. Keith Eddington, one of Salt Lake's most capable graphic designers, as well as one of its finest portrait painters, died Sunday in his home. He was 84.

A student of Arnold Friberg and Alvin Gittins, Mr. Eddington graduated with an MFA from the University of Utah in 1950. Two years later he joined the U.'s art-department faculty, eventually becoming the lead commercial-art instructor.

"When Arnold wanted a portrait of his wife painted," said Mr. Eddington's son-in-law, Mel Young, "he came to Keith and said, 'Will you do this? You're better than I am.' That's the kind of respect people had for him in the art community."

During his two-decade tenure at the U., he also found time to pursue a highly successful career as a local designer. In addition, he was a partner in Circuit and Eddington, and eventually head of Keith Eddington and Associates, one of the area's most respected graphic-design firms.

In the 1980s, Mr. Eddington became a member of Brigham Young University's design faculty, helping the institution to get the new department up and running.

As a young man, he fought in World War II. Assigned to military intelligence, Mr. Eddington drew maps and designed other publications that assisted military personnel in their assignments in Europe and the Pacific.

A few of his noted portraits include "Father Escalante" (Utah State Historical Society), Gov. Norman Bangerter (Utah State Capitol), and his 6-by-9-foot painting of the risen Lord in the Joseph Smith Memorial Building. "President Hinckley asked him to do it," said Young. "It's at the entrance to the Legacy Theater."

Services for Mr. Eddington are scheduled for Monday; check weekend obituary notices for time and location.