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Longtime Utah Capitol director Allyson Gamble has died unexpectedly

The 52-year-old had previously received multiple heart transplants.

(Al Hartmann | Tribune file photo) Gov. Gary Herbert, center, with Allyson Gamble, executive director of the Capitol Preservation Board, and other state officials as seen in the Capitol Rontunda on 2017. Gamble has died unexpectedly, Herbert and others announced on Saturday.

Allyson Gamble was remembered Saturday as a cheerful and passionate advocate for the Utah Capitol, known as The People’s House.

The executive director of the Capitol Preservation Board for nearly 19 years died unexpectedly Friday. Utah Gov. Gary Herbert announced her death Saturday, saying in a statement that Gamble “was beloved by everyone!”

“Our state Capitol is a magnificent building,” Herbert said, “made all the more beautiful and welcoming to the public because of her dedication and professionalism in managing this tremendous asset.”

The 52-year-old Gamble was a well-known figure among Utah’s political class in charge of overseeing day-to-day operations of the 104-year-old Capitol and its grounds. Echoing dozens of comments, Herbert called her “enthusiastic, warmhearted and kind.”

“The Capitol building will be a little less bright in her absence,” the Republican governor said.

Herbert’s elected successor, Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox, said Saturday on Twitter that Gamble — a recipient of multiple heart transplants — had died of a stroke.

“She will forever be part of this magnificent building,” Cox wrote. “She was brave and fierce and kind.”

Like many others, Michael Mower, a deputy chief of staff to Herbert and longtime Utah political operative, said he’d worked with Gamble over the years coordinating everything from presidential visits and inaugurations to protests on Capitol Hill.

“I am so sad to learn of the passing of my dear friend,” Mower wrote on Twitter.

Gamble was publicly honored in 2013 as part of Herbert’s annual State of the State address, two years after she received a heart donation from the family of Gabriela Caballero, a young woman from Paraguay who died in a 2011 car accident in Park City.

In his speech, Herbert called Gamble “the remarkable survivor of two heart transplants” adding that those assembled for his speech “are so grateful Allyson is here today.”

Utah House Speaker Brad Wilson said Gamble had also been instrumental in a 2004 remodeling and seismic retrofit of the Capital, helping to ensure the Capitol campus was “safe and would meet the needs of our growing state.”

“Her work touched the lives of many public officials, school groups, and thousands of visitors every year who come to the Capitol to enjoy its beauty,” Wilson, R-Kaysville, wrote on Twitter.

“Allyson was a wonderful and caring member of our Capitol family,” he said, “and she will be greatly missed.”

Michael Rapich, colonel of the Utah Highway Patrol, which often provides Capitol security, called Gamble “an incredible leader, a constant example to all who knew her, and just an amazing person.”

Said Rapich: “We have lost our dear friend and champion.”

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