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Being tethered to an oxygen tank was not about to keep a weak-voiced Dick Bass from having a few things to say Wednesday.

And why not? It was, after all, Dick Bass Day — by proclamation of, check this list, Gov. Gary Herbert, the Utah House and Senate, Salt Lake County, Sandy, Cottonwood Heights and the Town of Alta.

That much official recognition on one day "has never happened before and probably never will again," said Sandy Councilman Chris McCandless, an organizer of Wednesday's ceremony in the Capitol Rotunda.

Elected officials heaped praise on the 84-year-old Texas oilman for having helped open Snowbird Ski & Summer Resort in December 1971, contributing mightily to Utah's reputation as a bastion of good skiing and providing employment through the decades to tens of thousands of Utahns.

Sandy Mayor Tom Dolan called him "a true Renaissance man."

House Speaker Becky Lockhart, R-Provo, pointed to Bass as a symbol of Utah's transition from a mining and agriculture state to a future dominated by recreation and tourism, "following in the ski tracks" of the Engen brothers (Alf, Corey and Sverre), who helped inaugurate skiing in Little Cottonwood Canyon.

"You're a pioneer," she said. "You just didn't come in a covered wagon."

This public veneration occurred a month after Bass announced he was selling majority interest in Snowbird to businessman Ian Cumming for an undisclosed price.

Bass, who in his younger years scaled the highest peaks on each of the seven continents, acknowledged then that a debilitating disease had robbed his lungs of the ability to breathe at Snowbird's 8,100-foot elevation.

He came into Wednesday's ceremony in a wheelchair, but stood repeatedly to exchange hugs and handshakes with various speakers when they came over to deliver gifts — an oversized key to Sandy, an honorary colonel's police badge and framed copies of the resolutions saluting him.

Cumming, who attended the ceremony, declined comment afterward.

But Bass, as is customary, was not at a loss for words.

He sang a short ditty from the musical "H.M.S. Pinafore," explained lake-effect storms and compelled Snowbird President Bob Bonar to make several forays onto the stage with an oversized hook to try to get Bass to stop.

But, in a more serious moment, Bass said he felt blessed to have developed Snowbird "in a fantastic piece of God's creation" and to be passing it along to Cumming.

"Everyone would like to have something meaningful in their life, something to leave their fellow man."

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