Some people are saying Mary Brown Malouf is dead. But that is not possible. It is not a thing that can be believed. Any minute now, she’ll flounce on in, bangled arms jangling, launch that black hole of a handbag into the corner, plop down at her desk and make a big ’ol sigh.

’Cept she won’t. And that, as she herself would say, is “all just so awful.”

Mary entered our magazine lives in 2007, like a Texas tornado, wrapped in a package of talent, joy, love and laughter. Her reputation as a feared food critic preceded her but it was her keen mind and her crackling writing that is why she became the longest-serving editor in Salt Lake magazine’s 30-plus-year history. Mary saw things, really saw them and loved the brain-tease of stacking those observations into tidy sentences that tickled her.

She respected food and the people who make it; she understood the life of a chef and the language of service. Her work defined and championed our city’s culture. A city needs someone to tell its stories and Mary’s no-bullshit sensibility filled that need.

For Mary, there was no such thing as work-life balance, it was all just life. Her living room was Salt Lake’s salon. Artists, journalists, historians, chefs, bartenders, politicos and sommeliers mingled in a lively mess of joy, poorly played trumpets and a couch that was always open to crash on. We were all the strays and misfits that she took in and were forever welcome. Her late husband Glen Warchol, whose death is also not to be believed, told me, “Once you’re in with Mary, you’re in. There’s no getting out. She won’t let you.”

Our city will never have another Mary. She was a real dame. A love child of Raymond Chandler and Janis Joplin who lived, truly lived and touched everyone she met with her love.

Plus, she would think getting swept off a pier by a random wave was funny as hell.


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