Revered jurists and lawyers. Leaders in business and government. Writers and actors. Advocates for Utah veterans, Korean War casualties and the Pacific Islander community. Inspirational coaches from many levels of the game. Former star athletes and a rising football sensation. A woman who blazed trails on the ski slopes, and a woman who defended polygamy, though it meant losing her children.
The notable Utahns who died in 2020 came from various walks of life and had widely different effects on the world, and the state, that they left behind.
They were joined by more than 1,200 people, most of them unknown to most of the state, who died from COVID-19, and at least 53 homeless Utahns who died this year.
Here are the names of prominent Utahns who left their mark.
Fred C. Adams • A co-founder of the Utah Shakespeare Festival, Adams grew it into a globally recognized, Tony Award-winning regional theater. Adams died Feb. 6, at age 89, from cancer.
Kenneth Allen • A first lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force, Allen died June 15, at age 27, after his F-15C Eagle crashed into the North Sea during a training flight.
Dee Benson • A federal judge appointed by President George H.W. Bush in 1991, Benson also was chief of staff for Sen. Orrin Hatch and a U.S. attorney, and counted future Sen. Mike Lee as one of his clerks. Benson died Nov. 30, at age 72, after being diagnosed with brain cancer.
Vera Black • The plural wife who allowed the state of Utah to take seven of her children rather than teach them polygamy was wrong. Black died May 11, at age 102, in Colorado City, Ariz.
Glen Blakley • A noted ceramic artist and longtime art professor at Dixie State University, Blakley was the founding director of the St. George Arts Festival. Blakley died Dec. 31, at age 78, of complications from COVID-19, in St. George.
Maxine Bounous • One of the first female graduates of Brigham Young University and one of the first American ski instructors — of any gender — Bounous died June 23, at age 94.
R.D. Call • An Ogden-born actor who played tough guys in films such as “48 Hrs.” and “Waterworld,” Call died Feb. 27 in Layton, at age 70, after complications from back surgery.
Clayton M. Christensen • The Salt Lake City native was a business theorist and consultant who framed the concept of “disruptive innovation.” Christensen died Jan. 23, at age 67, in the Boston area, from leukemia.
William Christoffersen • An Army soldier during World War II, Christoffersen returned to Utah to serve in national posts with the American Legion and be an advocate for veterans. Christoffersen contracted COVID-19 at the Salt Lake City veterans home named for him, and died there May 31 at age of 93.
Connie Coyne • The crusty, boisterous journalist came to Utah in 1993, spending 17 years at The Salt Lake Tribune as desk editor and reader advocate — and, in retirement, mentored and supported young journalists. Coyne died Nov. 10 or 11, at age 76.
John Cummins • A Salt Lake Tribune staffer for three decades, starting in 1966, as a reporter, editor, promotions manager and the paper’s first reader advocate. Cummins died Oct. 8 at age 85.
Ed Firmage • The prominent civil rights lawyer and law professor famously — and successfully — lobbied top leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to oppose the MX missile plan during the Cold War. Firmage died Oct. 3, at age 85.
Peter Freed • With his four brothers, Freed, in 1946, reopened the shuttered Lagoon amusement park and turned it into a favorite Utah playground. Freed died Aug. 29, at age 99.
Allyson Gamble • Gamble, who worked for the Capitol Preservation Board from 2002 and was its executive director since 2010, oversaw day-to-day operations of the Utah Capitol — and was involved in the building’s massive restoration from 2004 to 2008. She died Dec. 4, at age 52, after a stroke.
Bob Garff • A prominent auto dealer — chairman of Ken Garff Automotive Group, founded by his father — as well as one-time Utah House speaker (1985-1987) and an organizer of the 2002 Winter Olympics. He died March 29, at age 77, one of the first Utahns to die from COVID-19.
David Goode • The owner of the Ogden-based company Goode Ski Technologies died Jan. 15, at age 64, when his small plane crashed into a Roy neighborhood.
Lee Grosscup • Credited with inventing the shovel pass, in which a quarterback throws or flips the football to a receiver in front of him, Grosscup played for the University of Utah during the 1957 and 1958 seasons. He died June 1, at age 83.
Krystal Hazlett • A victim advocate who lobbied the state to clear its backlog of rape kits, Hazlett died July 20, at age 42, in Taylorsville, from heart failure.
James E. “Jim” Hogle Jr. • Longtime chairman of the board of Utah’s Hogle Zoo, built on the land his grandfather donated to the city. He died Oct. 5, at age 83, of liver cancer.
Kent James • Born in Ogden and raised in Logan, James became a gay punk rock star — under the pseudonym Nick Name — in Los Angeles. James died July 3, at age 56, in Palm Springs, Calif.
Ty Jordan • The Utah Utes’ freshman running back had an outstanding year — running for 597 yards and six touchdowns in the pandemic-shortened season — and was on track to be a star. Jordan died on Christmas, in Denton, Texas, at age 19, from an accidental self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Collin Kartchner • The Pleasant Grove activist and Instagram videographer launched the Save the Kids campaign, telling parents they should get their kids off of social media to preserve their self-esteem and mental health. Kartchner died Oct. 20, at age 40.
Max Knudson • A veteran journalist, Knudson was business editor at the Deseret News from 1980 to 2002. Knudson died Oct. 28, at age 80, of complications from a brain tumor.
Phil Krueger • Krueger was head coach of Utah State University’s football team from 1973 to 1975, then became an assistant coach and general manager of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Krueger died June 22, at age 90, in Pembroke Pines, Fla.
Jerry Larrabee • Larrabee, who worked as a real estate appraiser, was mayor of Woods Cross from 1994 to 2006. He died Nov. 19, at age 79.
John Lauck • As CEO of Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, Lauck raised billions of dollars to help sick children nationwide. He died Feb. 7, at age 63, hit by a car while cycling in the Wasatch foothills.
Sunny Lee • The Seoul-born Lee helped families whose soldiers fought in the Korean War go visit old battlegrounds and receive citations. Lee died Aug. 7, at age 67, from a brain hemorrhage suffered at her home in Springdale.
Mary Brown Malouf • Malouf worked in Utah journalism for decades, notably as executive editor of Salt Lake Magazine, whose annual dining awards made her beloved by Utah’s restaurants, chefs and food producers. Malouf died Dec. 7, at age 66, hit by a rogue wave while walking along the Pacific coast in Northern California.
Bill Marcroft • “The voice of the Utes,” Marcroft — a longtime sportscaster for KUTV — called play-by-play for University of Utah football games from 1968 to 2004 (after two years as a color commentator), and U. men’s basketball games from 1969 to 2004. Marcroft died Nov. 15, at age 89, from prostate cancer.
Armand Mauss • One of the most prominent scholars of Mormonism, Mauss conducted groundbreaking sociological research on the Utah-based faith and mentored generations of academics. A Salt Lake City native, he spent most of his life on the West Coast until he died Aug. 1, at age 92, at his home in Irvine, Calif.
Oscar McConkie Jr. • The prominent lawyer co-founded Kirton McConkie, the Utah law firm that represents The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and was a notable Democrat who was John F. Kennedy’s point man in Utah during the 1960 presidential election. McConkie died Nov. 2, at age 94, from complications of COVID-19.
Monroe G. McKay • Born in Hunstville to a family of sheepherders, McKay served on the U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeals from 1977 until his death on March 28 at his daughter’s home in Orem. McKay was 91.
Calvin E. Monson • Monson, a Provo real estate agent, was one of the “Mormon Yankees,” a basketball team of Latter-day Saint missionaries in Australia in the 1950s — who won over the locals by playing the Australian national team as a warmup for the 1956 Melbourne Olympics. Monson died Nov. 11, at age 87.
Robert Murray • The coal baron was founder and CEO of Murray Energy, which owned the Crandall Canyon Mine in Emery County — where, in 2007, six miners and three rescuers were killed in a series of mine collapses. Murray blamed the collapses on earthquakes, denying that his company’s dangerous mining practices and opposition to safety regulations were to blame. Murray died Oct. 25, at age 80, in his home in Ohio.
Howard Nielson • The Brigham Young University math professor represented Utah in Congress for four terms. Nielson died May 20 at age 95.
William O’Neal • The Sandy police chief, known as “Bill,” died Jan. 12 at age 48, after “an unfortunate medical event,” a department news release said.
John Pingree • While leading the Utah Transit Authority from 1977 to 1997, the agency expanded from three to six counties, nearly doubled the number of buses it operated and laid the groundwork for a light rail system. Pingree died March 5, at age 80, from cancer..
Carole Peterson • The longtime chief clerk of the Utah House died March 22, at age 78, after several years of Alzheimer’s disease.
Howard Peterson • After moving to Utah to run the U.S. Ski Association, Peterson lobbied for the Winter Olympics to come to the state and helped preserve the games’ venues. Peterson died May 11, at age 69, in Heber City.
Millie Peterson • Elected in 1990 as a Democrat to represent west Salt Lake County in the Utah Senate, Peterson was the only woman in the chamber for part of her 12 years in office. Peterson died March 30, at age 75.
Joe Redburn • A longtime talk-radio host, and founder of two iconic Salt Lake City gay bars — The Sun and The Trapp — Redburn died Sept. 22, at age 82, in a homeless shelter in South Salt Lake.
James Redford • Documentary filmmaker, environmental activist and son of Robert Redford. James Redford, who spent some of his childhood years growing up at his dad’s Sundance resort, died Oct. 16, at age 58, at his home in Marin County, Calif.
Philip Russell • A legendary basketball coach who guided Ogden High School’s girls team to five championships and the most wins for a Utah coach at the same school. Russell died Nov. 3, at age 75, of complications from COVID-19.
Margarita Satini • The chair of the Utah Pacific Islander Civic Engagement Coalition, Satini fought tirelessly for the Pacific Islander community, particularly helping them navigate the challenges brought by the coronavirus pandemic. Satini died Oct. 27, at age 50, of complications from COVID-19.
JoAnn Seghini • The first female mayor of Midvale, Seghini led that city from 1998 to 2017 — always winning election with at least 60% of the vote. Seghini died June 19, at age 82, in her Midvale home.
LaWanna “Lou” Shurtliff • A schoolteacher and the only Democrat outside of Salt Lake County sitting in the Utah Legislature, Shurtliff represented Ogden from 1999 to 2008, and returned to the House in 2018. Shurtliff died Dec. 30, at age 85, from pneumonia.
Jerry Sloan • In coaching of the Utah Jazz for 23 seasons, Sloan became the fourth-winningest coach in NBA history and a Hall of Famer. Sloan died May 22, at age 78, after being diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease and a form of dementia.
Bill Spencer • The Utah-raised athlete competed for the United States in the biathlon — the sport that combines cross-country skiing and target shooting — in the 1964 and 1968 Winter Olympics, and was inducted into the U.S. Biathlon Hall of Fame in 2000 and the Utah Sports Hall of Fame in 2003. Spencer died Dec. 3, at age 84, from natural causes.
Barbara L. Tanner • Using her family’s jewelry fortune, Tanner supported human rights and was a patron of the arts. Tanner died April 30, at age 103, from heart failure.
Ron Titcomb • A pioneering field engineer for public TV station KUED, public radio station KUER and the Utah Education and Telehealth Network (UETN), Titcomb helped bring public broadcasting and education to rural parts of the Intermountain West. He died Nov. 19, at age 62, from COVID-19.
John “Jack” Ulibarri • The first Latino elected to the Utah Legislature (1977-79), he was a lifelong educator in the Ogden area. He died Dec. 12, in South Ogden, at age 81, after a long struggle with Parkinson’s disease.
David Wall • The thrill-seeking Wall grew up in the Salt Lake Valley in a household that worshipped in the polygamous Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, but he left home at 16 — eventually traveling the world to pursue skydiving, wingsuit flying, big air snowboarding and auto racing. Wall died Sept. 10, at age 34, in a crash on a wingsuit flight in Switzerland’s Churfirsten mountain range.
Kim White • Charting her six-year battle with cancer on Instagram, White, of Kaysville, developed a worldwide following and a friendship with Chris Harrison, the host of “The Bachelor” franchise. White died Feb. 14, at age 32, from cancer.
Nancy Workman • Salt Lake County’s first mayor, whose one term ended with a successful court battle against charges she misused public funds. She died May 3, in St. George, at age 79, in St. George.
Larry Wilson • A seventh-round draft pick from the University of Utah, Wilson went on to a Hall of Fame pro career as a safety for the Cardinals, followed by 30 years as an executive in the Cardinals organization. He died Sept. 17, at age 82.
Jim Yerkovich • In 44 seasons coaching boy’s basketball at Judge Memorial High School, Yerkovich set the state record for wins at any one school and won three class 3A championships. Yerkovich, who had Parkinson’s disease, died June 10, at age 77, at his Poulsbo, Wash., home.
John Ziouras • An immigrant from Greece who moved to Utah in 1982, Ziouras founded Utah’s Apollo Burger restaurant chain two years later; the chain now boasts 13 locations along the Wasatch Front. Ziouras died Oct. 24, at age 76, at his Salt Lake City home.