Archive for August, 2009

A Note on Carl

Yes, Carl Woolsey is out of the hospital.  We should have noted that sooner. Stay well, Carl!


August 24, 2009 at 5:32 am Leave a comment

Congratulations, Gary!

Gary Kimball has been appointed/annointed as Park City’s Official Old Guy–and in particular, as Park City’s Official Historian.  The Council resolution reads, in part, “Whereas, Ye Official Old Guy has more memory and information regarding significant historic structures and community characters than any other Landmark list, Significant list, non-list list or any other City records…. Whereas, Ye Official Old Guy, for reasons unknown but likely not unrelated to consuming our fortified water since the historic period, is still willing and able to provide support to the Historic Preservation Board; and Whereas, we never really paid him before so we don’t see any issue with taking advantage of his continued expertise as a volunteer, NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED by the City Council of Park City, Utah that….Ye Official Old Guy is hereby appointed as the Official Park City Historian.

See the entire resolution here:

August 24, 2009 at 5:31 am Leave a comment

Farewell and thank you, Jerry

Thoughts (received by email) about Jerry Dunton, who left us bereft of a dear friend on August 19, 2009:

From Barbara Brown:
I am still having a hard time believing that Jerry is gone. What a blow!

I had the privilege of meeting Jerry when we ended up traveling in the same car for my first Westerners field trip a few years ago. He made me feel welcome then and I have enjoyed his friendship ever since. As we all know, Jerry was the kind of person who would help anyone out if he could. A few months ago, when he found out I was studying the Topaz internment camp, he gave me a file full of documents on the subject that he’d collected over the years. It meant a lot to me then, and means even more to me now. Thank you, Jerry. We’ll miss you.

From Gary Kimball:
Jerry was a friend. I’m glad he got to share he childhood home of McGill, NV on our field trip. Although at the time I was in disagreement with him. His childhood memories of McGill conflicted with my memories of in-laws in McGill. I have now formed new memories of McGill and White Pine County. Thanks Jerry! You will be missed.

From Nelson Wadsworth:
I wanted to add some comments on Jerry Dunton. I’ve known Jerry for nearly 50 years, first meeting him when I was a staff writer for the Associated Press in the Salt Lake Bureau in the early 1960s. Our office was in the Tribune Building, and we had to frequently visit the Trib newsroom to develop one-on-one relationships with the editors, my favorite of which was
Jerry. We’ve been friends ever since, and I’ve been delighted to continue that on-going relationship in the Utah Westerners. With Hal, Wally and now Jerry gone, there is not much left of that intriguing era of Utah journalism. I will miss Jerry’s thoughtful insight and calming influence. He had a penetrating mind and always seemed to be in control. I find myself
agreeing wholeheartedly with Steve’s assessment. The Westerners and the whole realm of Utah journalism just won’t be the same without him.

From Steve Gallenson:
This news is a horrible blow to me and and many people. Jerry was such an
enlightened soul who we could always count on. We knew we call Jerry at most
any time of the day and he would be cordial and just great. He was my
favorite curmudgeon on the planet. I will share two of my best Jerry

When Jerry was the president of the UW, I was on his board. One person had
applied for membership and was the next in the Que for consideration. We
board members thought that this person would be a fabulous UW member and we opened it up for discussion. Jerry said he would vote against him becoming a
member. We were really surprised. Jerry explained that just because someone
lectured to us once and had attended two meetings, we should not get all
excited. Jerry said “I don’t think the Utah Westerners should be perceived
as an easy outfit to get into”. Jerry did vote against this person, but the rest of
the board excitedly voted for his becoming a member. It was the first no
vote I had ever witnessed on the board. Subsequently that person never
attended another UW meeting again. Jerry’s cantankerous-nous proved correct.
I really did attempt to look at everything I ever did with the board of
directors and analyse my ideas as to how Jerry would perceive things. When I
could not decide, I would call Jerry and ask. He always surprised me with
his insight.

Among my proudest moments as a Utah Westerner was on the first day of the
2006 Nebraska field trip. Jack Tykal and I took the reigns and ran the trip.
Jerry had been an integral part of so many previous trip, including being
the trail boss and main organizer. Jerry got on the bus in Denver, went to
the very back seat, sat down and folded his arms across his chest and just
smiled. He looked at me and said “this is really nice, I have nothing to do
but enjoy myself”. I made a vow to work really hard so Jerry would not have
to run a field trip again and could just sit back and grin. In 2009 I could
not pull it off and at the last minute I asked Jerry if he could help out on
the trip. Jerry told me “don’t worry about a thing, I will get it done for
you”, and as you all know, it was a trip for the books.

I really, really loved this man. His type is rare. I came to know Jerry as a
renaissance man. The world got lonelier today.

God bless you Dunton. You made me a better person.

From Walter Jones
Please know and let others know in our Westerners’ group that I feel very sad about Jerry. We have lost a fine colleague, mentor and friend!

From Bud Rusho
Hi All: As one who has seen most of it in Utah Westerners, I would like to share my perspective on the death of our dear friend, Jerry Dunton. I compare the impact of his demise to that of Harold Schindler, almost exactly ten years ago. But Harold and Jerry were as different as night and day. Harold, a bit aloof , highly respected and a real history scholar, could take ten minutes just asking a question. Jerry, a fellow employee with Harold at the Salt Lake Tribune, didn’t become a Westerners until 1984, after pestering Harold for two years to invite him to a meeting. Jerry took a few years to make himself known. He never claimed to be a history scholar, but his active mind and curiosity eventually made him one of our most knowledgeable members, particularly about Western trails and Utah pioneers.

He was active not only in Westerners, but in OCTA and in Lincoln Highway Association, where he assumed roles of leadership. In the Westerners he was elected to membership in the Board of Directors, then Secretary (when he posted monthly notices), then was made President. But it didn’t matter what his official role he had, Jerry was always helping, wherever help was needed. Over the years he planned and led many field trips, but even when he was not in charge, he was always there, calling ahead for reservations, loading water on the bus, or whatever.

Nowhere was his talent and energy more apparent that in the recent 2009 field trip to the Great Basin, when he planned and directed the entire operation. Long before and during the trip he was forever worried about each detail and whether we could make everything on schedule. The success of his efforts were witnessed by the acclaim and kudos of those who participated.

I only knew Jerry after he joined the Westerners, but I did see and talk with him frequently, as we were both attendees at a three times a week coffee group (all UW’s). No doubt he was devoted to his sons, Jim and Bob, to Bob’s son, and very much so to Jerry’s partner, Carolyn, who usually went on trips with him. Jerry, in fact, was looking forward to his annual September trip with Carolyn to Sonoma, , where they participate in the Wine Festival. For many years Jerry brought back bottles of “Two-Buck Chuck”, a cheap, but fairly good, wine for several of us to share.

Alas, no more Two-Buck Chuck.

Jerry’s sense of humor was contagious. He would often tell (sometime retell) stories about himself, and we would always laugh. Jerry would sometimes almost double up with laughter at someone jokes or stories. He also loved to talk about Western history, trails, commemoration events, or even mundane topics such as yard work. But one of our favorite subjects were computers and grown-men’s toys–also known as electronic gadgets.

Schindler used to say that the word “unique” has no qualifications, and I suppose he was right. And yet, it seems that the word “unique” is not enough for Jerry. He is indeed irreplaceable. But what I have experienced in the Utah Westerners is the resilience and willingness of both old and new members to maintain our strong vitality far into the future. I am very happy to still belong to such a fine organization.

From Will Bagley:
I’m at OCTA, still trying to figure out how to express what the loss of Jerry means to me and all of us. I know my fellow OCTAonians miss him: I’ve had to let many know he was gone. You’ve all said it better than I could. But as Nate would say and say it all: Jerry was a mensch. I loved the guy. Some say if you want to know how irreplaceable you are, pull your hand out of a bucket of water. Well, the bucket just got smaller.

From Pat Hearty:

Bud and Will, what a beautiful tribute.  You certainly described the guy I knew.  Jerry is both unforgettable and irreplaceable, and when I think of the loss of friends and associates like Jerry, I often think of the old George Jones song, “Who’s gonna fill their shoes?”  Damn big shoes in this case.  Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

From Gibbs Smith:
I was very saddened to hear of Jerry’s passing. He was a very good companion for years at the Westerners and a good friend. We will all miss him.

From Steve Berlin:
Aw, nuts. I don’t cry much, but Jerry? Awful.

RIP, my friend. You’re a great guy. Thank you for everything.

From Kristen Rogers:
How could you be gone? You were a tremendous person–as I learned even more firmly on the Nevada field trip. We are all so sad…

August 23, 2009 at 12:44 pm Leave a comment

Osher Institute’s fall classes

You can see what the Osher Institute (at the U of U) offers at
Remember too, they are looking for history instructors. (See the earlier post)

August 11, 2009 at 9:58 am Leave a comment

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