PARK CITY (AP) -- The man chosen last year to represent the spirit of Park City has died at the age of 85.

James Ivers III, the third generation of a pioneer mining family, died Sunday after a long illness. As president of United Park City mines, he led the company's transition from mining to skiing.Last Labor Day, Park City officials unveiled a bronze statue of Ivers -- whom a committee selected as the person who best embodied the city's spirit -- in a new park on Main Street.

"He was a very well-respected person in Park City," said Hank Rothwell, current chief executive of United Park City Mines, who credited Ivers with anticipating the area's emergence as an upscale ski destination.

Ivers' grandfather was an original participant in the Silver King Mining Co. in the 1880s. His father was president of Silver King when it merged with the Judge Mining Properties to form United Park City Mines in 1951.

Ivers, who was born in Salt Lake City, started hauling silver ore by horse team at the age of 14. He became a chief engineer and mine superintendent after earning bachelor's and master's degrees in mining engineering at Columbia University.

He left the Silver King mine in 1941 to join the U.S. Army Air Corps, flying missions out of England and Africa under Gen. George S. Patton.

In the 1950s, Ivers supervised the Hanna Iron Mines in northern Michigan and worked on a mineral inventory commission for the Department of the Interior.

He returned to Utah to co-manage a team of chemists whose research on the Great Salt Lake led to the area's magnesium industry.

A vigil service is planned Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. at Neil O'Donnell Mortuary in Salt Lake City, followed by visitation. Funeral Mass will be held Thursday at noon at St. Mary's of the Assumption Church in Snyderville, with burial to follow in Mount Calvary Catholic Cemetery in Salt Lake City.