SALT LAKE CITY — John William "Jack" Gallivan, 97, died at his home in Snyderville on Oct. 2, 2012.
Gallivan was instrumental in both the exterior and interior renovations of the Cathedral of the Madeleine. The Order of Saint Gregory the Great, the highest honor for a layman in the Catholic Church, was conferred upon him on Dec. 4, 1988, partially in recognition of his work on the renovation committees and also for his many other endeavors.
Gallivan had a knack for networking and was an unofficial ambassador for the Utah Catholic Church in the greater community, said the Most Rev. William K. Weigand, seventh Bishop of Salt Lake City, who applied for the papal recognition of Gallivan. "He was solidly Catholic – feisty, in fact – but he had a wonderful rapport with everyone else. He was just an incredible community kind of person who just couldn’t do it any other way."
Although "fiercely attached to and proud of the Cathedral," Gallivan suggested that his co-chairmen for the restoration effort be prominent Utah businessmen John Huntsman Sr. and Ian Cummings, making "it a Cathedral project for the whole community," Bishop Weigand said. "He was the liaison between many community endeavors and the Catholic Church, much of it on his own initiative."
Gallivan was born June 28, 1915 in Salt Lake City to Frances Wilson Gallivan and Daniel J. Gallivan. His mother died when he was 5; he was raised by his mother’s half-sister, Jennie Judge Kearns, widow of Utah Senator Thomas Kearns, who was owner of The Salt Lake Tribune. He also was raised by Kearns’ cousin Katherine Driscoll, in California. He was a graduate of Bellarmine College Preparatory in San Jose, Calif., and a 1937 graduate of the University of Notre Dame.
He returned to Utah and on June 30, 1938, married Grace Mary Ivers, whom he had pushed into a fountain during his fifth birthday party.
Gallivan worked for The Salt Lake Tribune for 60 years, was the former chairman of the Kearns Corp., helping to found KALL and KUTV, and a pioneer of cable television in the United States. He was extremely active in the civic community: leading campaigns to build the Salt Palace and the Bicentennial Arts Complex, promoting public issues such as urban renewal, light rail and the 2002 Olympic Winter Games. He also was one of the founders of the Utah Chapter of the National Conference of Christians and Jews, co-founder of the original "Bleacher Utes" at the University of Utah, and served as chairman of the National Citizens Conference on State Legislatures, president of the Utah Symphony, lifetime honorary director of the Salt Lake Chamber of Commerce and was elected to the David Eccles School of Business Hall of Fame.
The Gallivan Center in downtown Salt Lake City was named in his honor, partially in recognition of his work as co-organizer of the Downtown Planning Association and the city’s Second Century Plan. At the dedication in 1993, then-Mayor Deedee Corradini described him as "our community’s conscience, cheerleader, visionary, perspective, common sense counselor, humorist and friend" for 70 years.
Gallivan was "one of the most exemplary lay leaders in the Utah Catholic community," said Monsignor Colin F. Bircumshaw, Diocese of Salt Lake City vicar general. "He was a humble, self-effacing but effective proponent of the best that Utah has to offer both the local community and the world. His close friendship with people like Governor Cal Rampton, President David O. McKay, and Bishop Joseph Lennox Federal assured that he was always the center of whatever was afoot, civically, religiously, or politically. Personally, I remember his assistance with pulling off the first diocesan-wide Mass at the Salt Palace for the Bicentennial Celebration in 1976. For me, he was the epitome of a good and faithful Catholic lay leader, and that was his outstanding contribution to the Diocese of Salt Lake City."
Gallivan is survived by his children: Grace Mary (Ned) McDonough, John W. Gallivan, Jr. (Stephanie Selbert), Michael D. Gallivan (Sharee Jack) all of Salt Lake City, and Timothy Gallivan (Pamela Kray) of New York City; eight grandchildren, three great-grandchildren and many nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his wife; two sisters, Mariann Dunne and Jane Gallivan; and a grandson, J.W. Gallivan III.
At the vigil service Oct. 5, Molly Gallivan said her grandfather impacted many of the choices she has made. "Through watching ‘Poppa Jack’ I have learned the power of kindness. I have realized that there should be nothing more important to me than my relationships, whether it be with my family or my co-workers or my clients or my friends, and I have learned the value of forgiveness, and humility."
Monsignor Terence Moore, pastor of Saint John the Baptist Parish, presided at the vigil.
"Jack has been given many accolades: Giant of our City, Champion of our State, Conscience of our Community, a vivacious visionary – and all so well deserved," Msgr. Moore said, adding that when he arrived in Utah from Ireland in 1967, Gallivan and his wife invited him to their home for Sunday dinners, "as they did so many young Irish priests, out of comfort and sympathy for sure, for us displaced religious expatriates. I felt such a warm welcome in their home.... I will always be eternally grateful to the Gallivan family for easing my transition as a permanent missionary to this Land of Zion."
Later, Msgr. Moore served at Catholic Community Services and worked with Gallivan on the Crusade for the Homeless, "a project that has had lasting value for the hundreds of homeless in our community who found a comfortable apartment on their way to a self sufficient life – all inspired by Jack’s vision and indefatigable spirit," said Msgr. Moore, pointing out that Gallivan died on the Feast of the Guardian Angels. "Perhaps they were calling him to his permanent home where he can now watch out for all of us with his gentle, benevolent, Irish smile."
Concelebrating the funeral Mass on Oct. 6 with Msgr. Moore were Father Eleazar Silva, parochial vicar of the Cathedral of the Madeleine; Father John Norman, pastor of Saint Vincent de Paul Parish; Monsignor M. Francis Mannion, St. Vincent de Paul pastor emeritus; Father Andrew Skrzypiec, pastor of Saint Ambrose Parish, Father Stanislaw Herba, pastor of Saint Mary of the Assumption Parish; and Father John Hart, retired.
During the homily, Deacon Lynn Johnson conveyed Bishop John C. Wester’s sincere regrets at his absence. Bishop Wester was in Tanzania as part of his duties with Catholic Relief Services.
"He also asked me to convey to the family that he held your father in the highest regard," Deacon Johnson said, adding that the bishop considered Gallivan "a fine Catholic gentleman whose Gospel witness was exemplary, and his legacy will continue for many, many generations."
Gathering in the cathedral to pray for Gallivan was fitting, Deacon Johnson said, because "the very walls of this cathedral are permeated with the prayers and memories of this family. In fact, this cathedral is so inextricably linked to this family, that Jack often told the story that during the fund drive to restore the cathedral, a parishioner at St. Francis Xavier in Kearns said, ‘Jack, why don’t you pay for the restoration? It sounds like you and your family wore the place out!’"
At the age of 1 week, Gallivan was baptized in the Cathedral; where he also received his first Holy Communion, was confirmed and married.
Citing an abbreviated list of Gallivan’s many accomplishments, Deacon Johnson said, "He leaves behind a trail of bright lights – lighting a path for all of us to follow. Since Jack’s passing, I have found myself asking him, ‘What would you like me to say at your funeral?’ If he were standing in my place today, I believe he would say to all of us: ‘Live boldly. Live a whole life. Make a difference whenever and wherever you can.’"