Downtown Salt Lake City has endured endless ups and downs over the years, but one man never lost faith in the city's ability to reinvent itself. --- Richard Wirick, aka “Mr. Downtown," who operated the Oxford Shoe Shop (65 W. 100 South) for 60 years, died at the age of 82 on Feb. 21, after being struck by a UTA bus.
His frequent handwritten letters to the editor exuded optimism for the city's numerous Downtown Rising projects. City Weekly interviewed Wirick in June 2011, where he said his involvement in six civic organizations was a highlight of his life. He felt that people banding together was crucial to downtown's success. He also planned to operate the store for another 10 years so he could continue his membership in various civic groups. (The interview is here: http://www.cityweekly.net/utah/article-14347-mr-downtown-richard-.html )
Those who passed his shoe store on 100 South were treated to display windows filled not only with high-quality Florsheims but awards and letters of appreciation from city mayors and friends in the community. Downtown has lost a conscience, a booster and a friend in Wirick. Our condolences to his loved ones.