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Fred Hightower Dies--A Familiar Figure On The Park City Stage And Its Ski Slopes In The 80's.

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Fred Hightower, a former Park City businessman and a familiar face in the town’s community theater in the 1980’s, has died.   He was 78.   

Hightower’s obituary, published in Salt Lake newspapers this weekend, said he was born in 1941 in Los Angeles to a single mother.

He served in the U.S. Air Force from 1960-64, in Texas and Spain.    Afterward, he was involved in the Vietnam resistance, and represented young men legally appealing their induction into the service.

The obit added he was a believer in organized labor, as a former member of the United Farm Workers, and he thought Bob Dylan was the greatest poet of the 20th Century.

Hightower first came to Utah in 1980 to work at the Park City Resort’s Mid-Mountain Lodge where he was “facilities manager, head chef and chief bottle washer.”

He also became involved in local theater.  In an e-mail to KPCW, former Park City Performances director Don Gomes told us that Hightower caught the performing bug after appearing in “Harvey.”          Gomes recalled that Fred was perfect casting as Alfred P. Doolittle in their production of “My Fair Lady” and as Mr. Smee in “Peter Pan.”

He even helped in casting.   According to Gomes, Hightower found a sheepdog as an on-stage mascot in “Camelot.”    And when the theater presented “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” and needed someone to play Chief Broom, Hightower recommended a guy from San Diego who was working for him for the winter.   The performer, named George Miramontes, was tall, with long black hair, and half-American Indian.

Gomes said of Hightower, “He was one of a kind.”

Hightower was married for 28 years to attorney Mary Corporon.

His obit says he was frustrated that younger acquaintances saw his feeble health in recent years.   It says he wanted them to know “that he used to scream down Jupiter Bowl with fresh powder splashing his face, and one day soon they will be on walkers.”

The obituary says Hightower was cremated.   “He apologizes for this carbon load to the planet, but our legislature does not allow human composting, his first choice”

Known for getting all the facts right, as well as his distinctive sign-off, Rick covers Summit County meetings and issues. KPCW snagged him from The Park Record in the '80s, and he's been on air and covering the entire county ever since. He produces the Week In Review podcast, as well a heads the Friday Film Review team.