Archive for March, 2017

March Announcement for the Utah Westerners

“The Long Memory:

Tales from the Utah Westerners’ First Fifty Years”

On our fiftieth anniversary, some of our long-standing “Old Westerners” will recall their long memories of the Utah Westerners. They invite the audience to pitch in as Greg Thompson, Floyd O’Neil, Oscar Olson, Gibbs Smith, and Verne Gorzitze (with Will Bagley moderating) share their combined 236 years of recollections about a few of our outfit’s most revered traditions, best laughs, colorful characters (such as Hal, Nate, Bud, Jerry, and many Daves), perilous adventures, and the long battle to accept women members.

The panel will be moderated by Will Bagley (1987)* who has written more than twenty books on overland emigration, frontier violence, railroads, mining, the invention of digital search technology, and the Mormons. Born in Utah, he attended Brigham Young University and was a President’s Scholar at the University of California at Santa Cruz, where he studied writing with Page Stegner and history with John Dizikes.  Most may not know that he has rafted down the Mississippi River, performed country music from Wyoming to Nevada, and in 1979 recorded an album, “The Legend of Jesse James.” Between 2000 and 2004, the Sunday Salt Lake Tribune published more than 200 of his columns and articles. For his many books he has won many major awards.

Gibbs Smith (1974) was invited to speak to the Westerners on Joe Hill, and shortly thereafter, joined. Gibbs is a historian by training, attending both at the University of Utah, and the University of California Santa Barbara. He said: “I have learned a lot from Utah Westerner members by sitting by them at dinner and visiting during our fieldtrips.”

Gregory C. Thompson (1970) is the Associate Dean of the University of Utah’s J. Willard Marriott Library for Special Collections and an Adjunct Assistant Professor of History. He received his BS from Colorado State University, BA from Fort Lewis College, and his MS and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Utah. Greg served on the staff of the University of Utah’s American West Center where his research focused on the Ute tribes of Colorado and Utah and he served as a consultant to the San Juan County School District (Utah) and the Southern Ute Tribe of Ignacio, Colorado. Greg has published several monographs on the Ute tribe including Southern Ute Lands, 1848-1899: The Creation of a Reservation; The Southern Utes: A Tribal History; and edited, with Floyd A. O’Neil, A History of the Indians of the United States: A Syllabus.

Oscar Olson (1980) has a passion for southern Utah and its history which began with a float trip down the Glen Canyon in 1962 before Lake Powell was formed. He saw firsthand where John Wesley Powell and his men journeyed down the Colorado, the Dominguez-Escalante Trail, where miners had worked, and the Hole-in-the-Rock Trail. Thus began his lifetime of exploring the many trails and running the rivers of southern Utah.  He has explored probably 98% of the Hole-in-the-Rock Trail by boat, air, and foot.   Oscar knows us well, as he was the driver on the first three Utah Westerners field trips in the 1960s and has been on 29+ field trips, probably half of them as the driver. He has spent virtually his entire lifetime reading about and exploring the American West.

Floyd O’Neil (1969) spent his childhood in the Uintah Basin. He attended Carbon College before moving on to the University of Utah, where he was awarded a B.S. in History and a Ph.D. in History.  He served as director of the American West Center from 1986 to 1996, and is currently Director Emeritus of that organization.

Vern Gorzitze (1970) was born in Salt Lake City, to German emigrant parents. He graduated from West High School and the University of Utah with a BA in Modern Languages (German Literature).  He was drafted into the Army and discharged after two years and was stationed at Ft. Carson, Colorado and Ft. Lewis, Washington. His schooling was interrupted, by being called to “Sell an intangible product” – “door to door” in West Germany. His career was in construction related areas doing Contract Bid Estimating for a multitude of Interior Finishes.  Most recently Vern was granted Emeritus status by Utah Westerners.

*Year joined Utah Westerners.

March 15, 2017 at 9:38 pm Leave a comment


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