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Posted 12 Mar 2001   For week ended February 16, 2001
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Sent on Mormon-News: 16Feb01

By Kent Larsen

Article on Restaurant Recalls LDS Businessman Thomas Dee

OGDEN, UTAH -- A recent Ogden Standard-Examiner article tells the history of GrayCliff Lodge, now a restaurant in Odgen Canyon, but once the home of the family of LDS businessman Thomas D. Dee. The Dee name lives in Odgen's landmark McKay-Dee Hospital and in Weber State University's Dee Events Center, but only the hospital's website tells the story of the beloved businessman and philanthropist, for whose funeral the city schools were closed.

Dee was born in South Wales in 1844 and came to the US in 1850 with his parents, who had joined the Mormon church. After living in Winter Quarters for a decade, the family made the trek to Salt Lake City, where Thomas became a carpenter. In 1871 he married Annie Taylor and moved to Ogden.

There, Thomas Dee became a pillar of the community and a successful businessman. He served the city as the president of its first library, as a tax assessor and collector, as a city councilman and police court judge. For 35 years he served on the city's school board, and was its president for eight years. He also served the state on the Utah State Board of Equalization and as a member of the state tax commission.

But it was in business that Dee soon made his mark. Dee's success came, at least in part, from his friendship and partnership with fellow Mormon businessman David Eccles. The two men formed a partnership to provide lumber in Baker, Oregon, forming a business now known as Anderson Lumber Company. Together, they went on to start two sugar companies (the nucleus of Amalgamated Sugar) and Ogden's First National Bank, which survied under the management of the Eccles family as First Security Corp., recently merged into Wells Fargo Bank.

In the early 1900s, Dee started and became the first president of the Utah Construction Company (later Utah International) and with Eccles and others purchased the Ogden City Water Works from "Eastern capitalists" who had left the system in disrepair. This led to his death in July, 1905, after he fell into the South Fork of the Ogden River while scouting for additional water supplies. Dee caught pneumonia from the chill in the water, and died shortly after he returned home.

His death shocked the city of Ogden and led to a funeral held in the Odgen Tabernacle. The city's school's were closed for the day in recognition for his long service to education in the city, and the children lined the city's streets leading to the Tabernacle to watch his funeral procession.

For his wife, Annie Taylor Dee, his death was the second family tragedy, after the death from a burst appendix of the couple's first son, Thomas Reese Dee, in 1894 at age 21. Annie Dee felt that both deaths could have been prevented with proper medical care, and in 1910 she established the Thomas D. Dee Hospital as a memorial to her husband. The institution later became part of the LDS Church's hospital system, and was renamed McKay-Dee (in honor of then-LDS Church President David O. McKay) when its current building was built in the late 1960s. The LDS Church transferred its hospitals to what is now Intermountain Health Care in 1974.

Before Dee died, however, the family had started building GrayCliff Lodge and continued its construction as a home for Annie Taylor Dee. Completed in 1912, the family also used the home as haven from the city until they sold it in 1932. The Greenwell family purchased the home then, and moved across the street in 1945, opening the home as a restaurant then. The current owners, Neal and Lois Sniggs, bought the restaurant/home in 1965.


Visitors don't stay past dinner at 'Lodge'
Ogden UT Standard-Examiner 12Feb01 B2
By JaNae Francis: Standard-Examiner staff

Philanthropists: Servants of the Community: Thomas Duncombe Dee
Utah Education Network Lesson Plan

A Family Remembers A Tradition of Caring, Chapter 1: McKay-Dee Hospital Center Website


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