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Bob Wells was in the thick of things as Park City struggled as a little mining town in turbulent times to finally emerge as a world-class destination.

He was the soft-spoken guy who made sense, always seasoned with humor and a smile.

Wells died Sunday at the age of 72, after a two-year battle with cancer.

"He is one of the finest people I've met in my entire life," said longtime acquaintance Jim Doilney, who served with Wells on the Park City Council in the early 1980s. "He was always thoughtful and reserved, but in the end he would put in the final word. I never remember him losing a vote on the City Council."

A Mississippi native, Wells arrived in Park City in 1971 after a stint at the accounting firm of Arthur Anderson, where he had met Edgar Stern. Stern's company, Royal Street, had acquired a small rustic resort then called the Park City Ski Area.

In addition to helping transform Park City into a major resort, Wells played a pivotal role in the development of Deer Valley for Royal Street. At the time of his death, he was vice president of Deer Valley.

Through his 45 years in Park City, Wells found time to act as president of the Park City Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Bureau; served two terms on the City Council; and held a post on the city Planning Commission. And he was a founding member of the Mountainlands Community Housing Trust.

Not least, he was instrumental in formulating Peace House, a safe haven for victims of domestic violence.

Longtime Park City resident Helen Alvarez recalls Wells' steadiness when she took a seat on the City Council in the early 1980s.

"It was a turbulent time," she said. "Bob was very patient and calm in teaching us how to be good council members."

Among other things, Wells was able to cobble together various real-estate parcels that became Deer Valley Drive. It was a major breakthrough for the town and the coming of Deer Valley.

"We wanted to name the street after him," Alvarez said. "But he wouldn't hear of it. That was the type of guy he was, working quietly and effectively."

Through his work in business, local government and nonprofits, Wells helped shape what Park City is today, Doilney said.

"Bob did good by doing well," he said. "By doing good in the businesses he worked for in Park City, he did wonderful things for the community."

Bob Wheaton, the president and general manager of Deer Valley worked closely with Wells for more than 30 years.

"He was a gentleman in the truest since of the word," he said, noting his friend's dry wit.

Wells had a clear crystal ball in the early days that helped guide Park City's development and economy, Wheaton noted. At the same time, he was interested in people and their welfare.

"Peace House was Bob's baby," Wheaton said. "He reached down to people in need."

Wells also liked fun. He was an avid golfer and liked to take boating trips with his family to Lake Powell.

Six or seven years ago when Wells talked of retiring, Wheaton persuaded him to stay at Deer Valley.

"We talked, and I said, 'Buddy, you can't do that. We need you,' " Wheaton recalled.

Wells did, however, rearrange his schedule to take more time off, but kept working at Deer Valley until just recently.

A funeral Mass will be held at 1 p.m. Friday at St. Mary's Catholic Church, 1505 White Pine Canyon Road in Park City.

A celebration of Wells' life will be held Tuesday from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the Silver Lake Lodge in Deer Valley.