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Longtime Salt Lake Classical Music And Theater Booster Gene Pack Dies

From left to right, former jazz announcer Joe Losi, current All Things Considered host Bob Nelson, and classical hosts Gene Pack and Ricklen Nobis in 1979.

Longtime KUER classical music host and Salt Lake City actor Gene Pack died over the weekend. Many called the 86-year-old Pack an icon in the local arts community.

“Gene loved classical music and he loved sharing his love of music with the people of Utah,” said Rick Nobis, classical pianist and former music host at KUER.

Pack and Nobis shared morning and afternoon hosting duties for 26 years. Pack hosted for over four decades, during which time he unearthed the stories and personalities behind the music he played.

“Gene was one of those great arts interviewers who not only supported what you were doing but knew a lot about it and he didn’t throw softball questions at you,” says former Pioneer Theater Company artistic director Charles Morey.

Pack was an omnivorous arts consumer, regularly attending theater, music and film, often with longtime friend Mary Dickson, host of KUED’s arts television show, Contact.

“He knew all the musicians and promoted them and went to everything. [He] Loved life, loved the arts and really was just a huge center of culture here,” Dickson said.

Pack stayed at KUER until the controversial 2001 decision to drop classical programming. But he continued acting at Pioneer Theater Company, Salt Lake Acting Company and others.

“He was known and loved by so many people through the music world, but also through theater. He was a good dramatic actor and he was a wonderful comedic actor,” said longtime friend and fellow actor Anne Cullimore Decker, with whom he shared the stage for years.

Gene Pack died on Sunday. According to friends, he was suffering from dementia.

Correction 2:02 p.m. 3/6/19:A previous version of this story stated that Mary Dickson no longer hosted KUED's contact. Dickson is still the host of the show.

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