Every single person is unique and notable in many ways. This particular group was selected for their remarkable stories."
-- Notable Commissions --
William R. and Erlyn J Gould
Gould Auditorium, University of Utah
William Gould grew up "on the wrong side of the tracks," quite literally. His father was a train engineer and he not only felt different from kids at school, he had a severe stutter.
Despite this handicap, he was the first in his family to go on to higher education. He studied engineering at the University of Utah and post graduate work in the United States Navy. He met his wife, Erlyn at the "U" and he often said that she believed in him when no one else would. When they met he could barely talk. Severe stuttering portended a menial career of mediocre attainment, but Erlyn believed in him and encouraged him.
Following seven years of service in the Navy as an engineering officer, he joined Southern California Edison, where he ascended to the position of president in 1978 and chairman of the board and CEO in 1980. He has been honored for his contributions to alternative and renewable sources of energy, his commitment to the environment and the advancement of technology.
Dr. Thomas L. Martin
Dean of the College of Agriculture, BYU
Dr Thomas L Martin was Dean of the College of Agriculture at Brigham Young University until his death in 1958. This portrait was painted posthumously in 1985 at the request of Brigham Young University. It hangs permanently in the Martin Building on campus, dedicated to it's namesake.
Dr Martin grew up in Lancashire England in very poor circumstances. Four of his older siblings died of malnutrition and "Tommy" was so sick as a child, he didn't walk until he was 6 years old. Coming to America at the age of 17 he took his studies seriously, graduating from high school at the age of 23. He went on to study at Cornell University and obtained his doctorate degree in soil technology, plant physiology and bacteriology.
He was hired by BYU where he became a member of the Agricultural Department and was part of BYU's faculty for 37 years. In 1927 he became the president of Utah Academy of Sciences, and a few years later, the Dean of the College of Applied Sciences.
Dr.Martin was awarded the BYU Distinguished Services Award and the Karl G Maeser Distinguished Teaching Award.
Lynne Leonard Orhn
International Ford Model, New York, Paris
Lynne Leonard Ohrn modeled professionally for the International Ford Modeling Agency. She worked out of Paris and New York. Among her many television commercials she was an Aqua Velva girl and a Fresca Blizzard girl.
She was a cover girl on Life, French Vogue, and Elle Magazines
She is currently CEO of her own Real-estate firm, Lynne Leonard Realty, LLC in Connecticut.
Janie Thompson has been referred to as the "tornado who energized BYU's performing arts program." She was a singer and musician who accompanied herself on the piano while standing up - her radiant smile turned to the audience.
She was a performer during the Big Band Era with Ike Carpenter and Tony Bennett and she toured Europe during WWII performing for the troops.
Janie was hired in 1952 to develop the Program Bureau at BYU. She created several groups and directed thousands of performances. She had a powerful influence on her "Kids" as she called them helping many into professional careers.
I was so touched in my heart I could hardly stand it. It was beautiful and so artistic. I thought, "I've just seen myself resurrected! Susan Comish is truly a brilliant artist to be able to make me look so nice!"
Dr. D.H. McNamara
Astrophysicist, Premier Scientist for NASA
When Dr. McNamara was hired by NASA in 1961 Pres. Kennedy had recently challenged the nation to win the Space Race to the Moon.
Dr. McNamara was hired for his research on Polaris, the North Star having discovered the star's age, properties and distance. His job description for NASA was to find "True North."
NASA was working on missiles, satellites and spaceships that would carry future astronauts into outer space. "Mac's" expertise was crucial for calculating an accurate trajectory not only to send them up, but even more important, to bring them home again with accurate landings within the ocean territories of the US.
After his years with NASA he returned to his research in discovering the ages, evolution and makeup of binary, pulsating, and blue straggler stars located in the outer-most reaches of our galaxy. He observed and collected data with some of the largest telescopes in the Nation and the Cerro Tololo International Observatory in Chile. He received many honors and awards for his extensive work.
with Max, Gabby, & Phele
Three Award-winning Show Dogs and their owner, Philis Evans.
This is one of the most memorable portrait commissions I have worked on. These large dogs were so beautiful with their long fur, and large paws. The younger dog just wanted to play. The older one wanted to sleep. The third managed to hold still long enough for me to see one eye behind all that fur. The whole scene was beautiful with Philis Evans, owner and trainer.
The portrait provides pleasure that seems to grow and grow. It is impossible for me to pass through the room area without glancing up.
Owner, Snowbird Ski Resort
Richard D Bass was the first man to climb the "Seven Summits" --- the tallest mountain on each continent. He was also the first man to conceive the idea of the 7 Summits.
He achieved this great accomplishment on April 30, 1985 when he also became the oldest climber at the time to reach the top of Mt. Everest at age 55.
Dick was an American businessman, rancher and mountaineer with an oil business in Texas, owner of Snowbird Ski Resort in Utah, and coal interests in Alaska.
The seven summits:
- Aconcagua in South America,
- Everest in Asia
- McKinley in North America,
- Kilimanjaro in Africa,
- Elbrus in Europe,
- Vinson Massif in Antarctica
- Kosciusko in Australia
Mrs. Montana, Entertainer
Brenda Williams, living in Montana - a state with only a 2% black population - was a standout beauty winning the title of Mrs Montana in1985. At the nationals, Brenda competed against 52 state winners, winning the 2nd runner up title holder to Mrs. America.
Brenda is a dynamic singer and actress now living in Indiana. She has been the opening act for headliners such as Ray Charles, The Beach Boys, Lee Greenwood, Chuck Mangione and Meryl Streep.
Notable in her career were her award-winning performances for three United States Presidents.
Gulf War Coordinator of NBC's War Desk
Leslie Worked for Saudi TV and radio as an on-site coordinator of NBC's war desk during the Gulf War. She kept track of journalists and U.S. Troop movements and gave assistance to several of the young men and women who were stationed there.
We had Saddam Hussein launching his Scud missiles, and the Patriot missiles would be shot by American troops to intercept the Scuds. The ground would shake and there would be this huge ‘ka-boom, boom, boom!’ It was earthshaking and so loud.” She remembers the sky “filled with flaming debris.”
During the Salt Lake Olympics in 2002, she again worked with NBC's News bureaus setting up and coordinating communication between events.
She is a singer and performer, having toured with the original BYU Young Ambassadors.
Hilton Hotels Corporation
As a teenager, Barron Hilton parked cars for hotel guests. He joined the Navy at age 17 serving at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii. Mr. Hilton began a successful 20-year career as an entrepreneur. Based on his growing success, his father invited him to join the Hilton Hotels Corporation in 1954 as vice president. He continued to manage his outside business interests.
He eventually succeeded his father as president and chief executive officer in 1966. For the next 30 years he was known for creating shareholder value, expanding real estate transactions and moving into the Las Vegas gaming market.
Baron Hilton was an American business magnate, philanthropist and sportsman.
Marianne Bales Thompson won the title of Miss Utah in 1986 with her beauty, personality, and amazing dancing abilities. She is stunning on stage thanks in part to her boyfriend at the time of her running, Joey Thompson. He went with her to Nationals as her personal hair and makeup stylist.
At the end of her year as Miss Utah and just before passing her duties on stage to the next winner, Joey presented her with red roses and an engagement ring. Together they created one of the most elegant salons in the Provo-Orem area.
Insurance and Real Estate Business Man
Peter Yeagen is a legend throughout the Yellowstone County area. His family owned and developed much of the land and contributed a great deal to the building up of the city of Billings. His influence is still felt and many properties carry his name.
Mr Yeagen's portrait now hangs in the Peter Yeagen Jr. Insurance and Realty offices in downtown Billings, Montana.
Beate Feustel Comish
Beate started piano lessons at the age of 4 in East Berlin, with an 80 year old teacher who used a ruler to smack the hands of her students if they made a mistake. Beate's parents, recognizing the talent she had at such a young age, sent her to the Falkensee Music School where every year she was tested in front of the faculty. Failing meant she could no longer study at the school. Consistently high scores for the 12 years she attended insured her acceptance to the famous Franz Liszt Music Academy in Weimar, a 6 hour train ride each week from her home in Berlin (which would have been a half an hour without the Berlin Wall).
The Weimar Music Academy was established in 1848 by the famous Franz Listz who was music director for the court of the grand duke. The palace became a great music center who's reputation today exceeds that of Juliard in New York. Acceptance is extremely difficult. Beate received her degree in Piano Instruction and went on to achieve an academic title as Solo Concert Pianist.
Beate has taught students at the Weimar Music Academy, the Falkensee Music School and, after the Berlin Wall came down, at Brigham Young University where she received her Masters in Piano Performance. She is always in demand giving concerts in some of the most beautiful historical castles in Germany with large audiences who love her. Beate has influenced hundreds of students and helped them into music careers.
Dr. Reid Nibley
Concert Pianist, Composer, and Professor
When Dr. Nibley was six years old he told his family that someday he would take an axe and smash all the pianos in the world. Although that never happened, as a young man, Reid did deliver some smashing blows to the keyboard with the Glendale Symphony at age 13 and the Los Angeles Philharmonic at age 17, followed quickly by appearances with the NBC Standard Symphony Hour and later the National Radio Symphony of Vienna. He has accompanied famous artists such as Spivakovsky, George Zukennan, the Paganini Quartet, and the Roth Quartet. Mr. Nibley received a doctor of music degree and headed the piano department at the prestigious University of Michigan School of Music and taught at Interlochen Center for the Arts. After leaving Michigan he taught at the University of Utah, the University of Southern California, and—for 16 years—Brigham Young University. As official pianist with the Utah Symphony under maestro Maurice Abravanel, he appeared as soloist over 30 times.
Professional Dancer, Rockettes, World of Disney
Gina began dance training with Colleen Collins Smith School of Performing Arts. She became a member of The Company at age 15, dancing the lead in Swan Lake, Carmen, Nutcracker, and Jekyll and Hyde. Gina was the recipient of the William F. Christensen scholarship to the University of Utah, graduating with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in addition to teaching at the University for two years.
Her professional accomplishments include:
- Performing with Ballet West, under the direction of Willam F Christensen, founder of Ballet West and the San Francisco Ballet Companies.
- Rockette with the Radio City Rockettes for many seasons performing in their fabulous Christmas Spectacular
- Principal role in many productions with Walt Disney World Entertainment
- Principal role in Orlando's Sea World's production, Allure
- Universal Studios Grinchmas Show
- Choreographer for Universal Studios SUPERSTAR Parade
Gina continues to perform, choreograph and teach, passing on her love of dance and her expertise to so many other aspiring dancers.