For six decades, Richard Wirick—or "Mr. Downtown," as he was known throughout the Salt Lake community—was a steady and prominent voice and face of the city's central district. Wirick, 82, died Tuesday when he was struck by a bus as he made his way across the intersection of 400 South and 200 East to attend a city meeting.
The owner of the 60-year-old Oxford Shop shoe store at 65 W. 100 South, Wirick was given the nickname “Mr. Downtown” because of his prominence within the business community and his contributions to the well-being of the city.
When the news of his death reached our office, we were both shocked and saddened. Only weeks ago, we spoke with Wirick about the changes taking place downtown, and his comments are featured in Salt Lake magazine's March/April issue under the article “Out With the Old, In With the New SLC.”
Wirick took pride in his activity with the revitalization of downtown. He looked forward to the completion of City Creek and called the addition of the new mall a dream come true.
“We’re renewing the spirit of downtown,” he said in an interview with Salt Lake magazine Managing Editor Marcie Young Cancio earlier this year. “It’s not just the new mall, but condos and a grocery store. The people living here might never leave downtown – they won’t have to.”