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Gale Dick, the co-founder of Save Our Canyons, was best known as an advocate for Utah wilderness.
But on Sunday during a public memorial service, he was remembered for his multi-dimensional qualities, a man who loved music and culture, had a "wicked wit" and a legendary ability to make a friend.
"My dad had this gift," Robin Berg, Dick's daughter, told several hundred people gathered at Libby Gardner Hall. "Everyone who met him, he made them feel like the most fascinating person on Earth."Bill Gray called his friend who died in July at the age of 88, after living for several years with cardiomyopathy "a fully civilized man."
"He loved every aspect of human culture: music, art, poetry, literature and science. He loved Wagner as much as Gilbert and Sullivan; and he had a tremendous range of respect for others."
In addition to his environmental advocacy, Dick found time for music and community service. He was a violinist in various chamber music groups and was one of the founders of the Chamber Music Society of Salt Lake City.
During the two-hour tribute, Salt Lake County Councilman Jim Bradley read a proclamation declaring Sunday "Gale Dick" day. Bradley also announced that the recently improved Mt. Olympus trailhead will be named the Gale Dick, Mt. Olympus trailhead
Born on June 12, 1926, Dick was raised in Portland Ore., and served two years in the U.S. Navy. He studied mathematics at the University of Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar and earned a Ph.D. in physics at Cornell University. In 1969, he became a member of the U.'s Physics Department, where he served as a teacher, researcher, department chairman and dean of the graduate school until his retirement in 2001.
He and Alexis Kelner co-founded Save Our Canyons in 1972. Among the group's many successes are designating Lone Peak as Utah's first wilderness area, keeping the 2002 Winter Olympic venues out of the Cottonwood Canyons, the passage of the 1989 Wasatch Canyons master plan and the elimination of commercial flight paths over much of the range.
"I shudder to think what the Wasatch would be like without Gale's devotion and persistence," said friend and local photographer Howie Garber.
Carl Fisher, the executive director of Save Our Canyons, said Dick taught him "to believe in the good in people.""He taught me how to listen. How to be a friend and respectfully disagree with people," he said. "He always had the utmost respect of the person on the other side of the argument."