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Champion of the Utah Symphony passes away

“Huck” Gregory left a legacy, following the retirement of Maurice Abravanel.

First Published Jun 29 2014 02:14 pm • Last Updated Jun 29 2014 09:20 pm

Herold LaMar "Huck" Gregory was not a man to take credit for his accomplishments, but earlier this month, Utah lost a prominent champion of its musical arts.

Gregory, 90, died June 18. Thanks to him, the Utah Symphony’s musicians went around the world, started recording their beautiful notes and reached out to children across the state, free of charge.

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"Maurice Abravanel is given appropriate dues for everything he did for the Utah Symphony in its early days of performances and recordings. Next to him was Huck," a statement from the Utah Symphony reads, "who shared his vision for creating and promoting a symphony that could match the fame and abilities of those on the East Coast."

Gregory, born in Farmington, spent his early adult years fighting the Nazis in France, Germany and Austria. When he came back from war, he went on a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and married his college sweetheart, actress Mary Ethel Eccles, in the Salt Lake Temple.

He is remembered as a proud father, loving husband, and a devoted member of his Mormon faith, according to his obituary. And for many, he left a legacy as a longtime executive director of the Utah Symphony — helming it for almost 30 years — from 1957 to 1986. He was also the Utah Symphony Board secretary for 42 years.

Gregory’s efforts kept the symphony prospering after Abravanel’s retirement, in large part due to Gregory’s decision to start recording their work, according to a statement from Utah Symphony.

Despite the budget growing 30 times in size, Gregory kept the symphony in the black with rising ticket sales. And under his tenure, the musical group became the first full-time symphony with a year-round schedule west of the Mississippi, according to the statement.

Gregory also expanded the symphony’s tours, taking them on their first international run in 1966, and reaching out to Utah schools with free concerts throughout the state.

Despite his accomplishments, he never took credit, "preferring instead to keep the spotlight on the musicians, their conductor and unpaid volunteers," the symphony’s statement reads.

Funeral services are scheduled for 11:30 a.m. Tuesday at Salt Lake City’s Monument Park Chapel, 2795 E. Crestview Drive (1010 South). Gregory is survived by his sister, three children, five grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

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In lieu of flowers, his family suggests donating to the Perpetual Education Fund of the LDS Church.


Twitter: @mikeypanda

Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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