Of the thousands of Utahns who walk through Gallivan Plaza or pass it on a TRAX train in downtown Salt Lake City every day, only a comparative handful ever met the man for whom it is named. More's the pity, because John W. "Jack" Gallivan, publisher emeritus of The Salt Lake Tribune, was a delightful guy. He had a sparkling wit and a gift for storytelling. The Tribune staff called him Mr. Gallivan, not out of formality but out of respect.
Those are not the reasons a downtown block was named for him, however, though they are among the reasons that his longtime associates at The Tribune will cherish his memory. Gallivan, who died Tuesday at 97, was a community mover and shaker whose vision, energy and advocacy helped to transform downtown and Utah.
Among the many projects he championed was the building of the Salt Palace Convention Center, Abravanel Hall, the Salt Lake Art Center and the restoration of the Capitol Theatre. He was knee-deep in the creation of Park City as a ski resort and Salt Lake City's first, and admittedly quixotic, 1966 bid for the '72 Winter Olympics. He pioneered The Tribune's partnership in cable television systems in Utah and other states.