In Memoriam

J. Gerald BryneJ. Gerald “Gerry” Byrne, professor emeritus and former chair of the Department of Metallurgical Engineering, died July 10 from complications following surgery. He was 79.

Joseph Gerald Byrne was born July 15, 1930, in Bronx, New York. He attended Mount Saint Michael High School and Stevens Institute of Technology, where he received an M.E. (mechanical engineer, 1953) and a master’s of science (1957) in metallurgy. He went on to obtain a doctorate in metallurgy from Northwestern University in 1960. He was a professor at Stevens Institute of Technology and then became a full professor at the University of Utah, where he was appointed Ivor D. Thomas Professor of Physical Metallurgy in the Department of Metallurgical Engineering (1987) and was also a professor in the Department of Materials Science & Engineering. He was a distinguished teacher and research scientist with over 145 articles and a book to his name. Some of his many accomplishments and awards included helping establish a department of Materials Science at the Universidad Central de Venezuela in Caracas in 1972, being appointed to the National Materials Advisory Board Panel (1972), becoming a Fellow of the American Society of Metals (1982), being appointed associate editor of the Materials Science and Engineering Journal (1988), and receiving the Eminent Engineer Award from Tau Beta Pi (1989). His teaching awards included the University of Utah Student Choice Award for Excellence in Teaching (1992-93) and the College of Mines and Earth Science Outstanding Teacher Award (1992-93). He stepped down as department chair in 1997 and retired in 2000, receiving professor emeritus status.

An avid reader, Gerry continued to pursue his love of learning by auditing one to three classes each semester until his death. Gerry also had a passion for skiing that he encouraged in many others by becoming a part-time ski instructor at Park West (now The Canyons), Snowbird, and ultimately at Alta, fulfilling one of his dreams. He loved traveling both for business and pleasure and had seen much of the world, and he had a great sense of humor, marked especially by his dry wit.

Gerry Byrne was preceded in death by his wife Joan Lorraine Byrne of 41 years, Linda Heinonen Byrne of five years, and most recently, his companion Renee Dec Reilly. He is survived by his four children and their spouses, Beth Kucharski (Joseph), Maura Hashiguchi (Mark), Dan Byrne (Christine Davison), and Noreen Parry (Douglas); seven grandchildren: Timothy (Kate Vigour), Michael, and Ann Kucharski, Lauren, Shannon, and Patrick Hashiguchi, and Courtney Parry; and step-grandchild Kim Davison. In lieu of flowers, family suggests contributions to the American Cancer Society.

Edited from the notice published in The Salt Lake Tribune from 7/14-7/15/2010.


Arnold FribergArnold Friberg, a painter noted for his religious and patriotic works, died in Salt Lake City on July 1. He was 96.

Friberg is perhaps best known for his 1975 painting The Prayer at Valley Forge, a depiction of George Washington praying at Valley Forge. He is also well known for his 15 “pre-visualization” paintings for the Cecil B. DeMille film The Ten Commandments, which were used to promote the film worldwide and for which he received an Academy Award nomination. Friberg was also commissioned to paint portraits of the British royal family, including Prince Charles and Queen Elizabeth II. A member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, he was also known for his paintings of scenes from the Book of Mormon.

Friberg was born December 21, 1913, in Winnetka, Illinois. The family moved to Arizona when he was 3 and converted to the LDS Church when he was 7, by which time Friberg had begun drawing cartoons. As a teen, he made extra money painting signs for local businesses and perfected his skills as an illustrator by continuing to draw his own comic strips. He eventually studied art at the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts and later alongside fellow student Norman Rockwell at the Grand Central School of Art. Friberg also served in the U.S. Army during World War II.
After marriage, Friberg worked in San Francisco before moving in 1950 to Utah, where he taught art at the University of Utah. A short time later, Friberg briefly lived in Hollywood while creating his paintings for The Ten Commandments. Friberg continued painting in his Salt Lake City studio late into his life. The Utah Cultural Arts Foundation will purchase all of the artwork Friberg possessed at the time of his death for a planned Arnold Friberg Museum of Art, which will be at a Utah location that is yet to be determined.

Arnold Friberg was preceded in death by his first wife, Hedve Mae Baxter, in 1986. He is survived by his second wife, Heidi Groskopf Friberg of Salt Lake City; two children from his first marriage, Frank Friberg and Patricia Friberg; two stepsons, Peter and Izzie Dominy; 10 grandchildren; and 13 great-grandchildren.

Edited from numerous published sources.


Richard MovitzRichard “Dick” Movitz BS’49, a University of Utah ski champion and Olympic skier, died on May 13. He was 84.

Richard D. Movitz was born in Salt Lake City on December 10, 1925, to Samuel and Edith Movitz. After graduation from East High School, he attended the University of Utah, where he was a member of the 1947 team that won the NCAA championship. He competed in the Olympics in 1948 and later went on to become a member of a U.S. Team that competed in the world ski championships. As a result of his accomplishments, Movitz was inducted into the U.S. Ski Hall Of Fame in 1970 and into the Utah Sports Hall Of Fame in 1975. He served as the chair on the International Competition committee and as a member of the Olympic Ski Committee as well.

Movitz also served in the U.S. Air Force, and his family business, Movitz Company, was a local wholesale costume jewelry and intermountain Seiko distributor. Movitz married Eileen Rogers on September 14, 1960, and the two spent almost 50 “happy, adventurous years” together.

Dick is survived by his wife, Eileen, three children, Marci Willey (Jim), Tina Ranney (Roger), and David Movitz; five grandchildren; and seven great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by grandson Jeffery Willey.

Edited from the notice and an article published in The Salt Lake Tribune on May 18.


John PetersJohn M. Peters BS’57 MD’60, a pioneering epidemiologist who played a crucial role in demonstrating the short- and long-term effects of air pollutants on the health of children, died of pancreatic cancer May 6 at his home in San Marino, Calif. He was 75.

Peters was the driving force in creating the Children’s Health Study, which has followed nearly 1,800 Southern California children since 1993 to determine how their health was affected by varying levels of air pollution. Among other findings, the study showed that short-term exposure to pollutants increases asthma and absences from school, that children living and studying near freeways suffer the worst effects from air pollution, and that long-term exposure stunts the growth of the lungs, leading to breathing impairments and other problems in adulthood.

John Milton Peters was born April 24, 1935, in Brigham City, Utah. He received a bachelor’s degree in biology and his medical degree from the University of Utah. After a one-year surgical residency at Johns Hopkins University, he was drafted and spent two years as a captain in the Army at Ft. Belvoir, Va. Although he had originally planned to become a surgeon, the Army sent him to care for military workers at the North and South poles and other remote locations, where he began to appreciate that workplaces themselves could create health risks. That led to a change in career course, and he received a master’s in public health and a doctorate from Harvard University. For his doctoral thesis, he showed that the health effects of smoking on Harvard undergraduates could appear in just a few years. He served on the faculty at Harvard until 1980, when he moved to USC and founded the division of environmental health in the department of preventive medicine. He designed and implemented the Children’s Health Study and directed it for 10 years.

A member of his college golf team, he was a lifelong aficionado and was described as fiercely competitive, not only in golf but in everything. He was a master of crossword puzzles and an avid fan of the Boston Red Sox and the Celtics.

Peters’ first marriage, to Carolyn Widtsoe Durham, ended in divorce. He is survived by his second wife, the former Ruth Kloepfer; a sister, Jody King of New York; three sons, John of Iowa City, Iowa, Philip of Piedmont, Calif., and Charles of Orlando, Fla.; a daughter, Susa Brush of Salt Lake City; six grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren.

Edited from the May 14 article in the Los Angeles Times.

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