In Memoriam

In Memoriam: Pat Denner

On September 25th, 2011 Utah artist and illustrator Pat Denner passed away at the age of 87. Denner was a fixture along Salt Lake’s Broadway district, where he was immediately recognizable in his fedora hat and yellow cadillac.

In the October 2011 edition of 15 Bytes we remember the creator of Vegas Vic, Wendover Will and KFC’s Colonel Sanders.

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  1. My name is Kristen Cowburn Ruth. I will remember my g uncle Pat as a very sweet and loving man. He grew up in a wonderful family & from a very young age I am sure he was introduced to the art world by his mother, Margaret Buller Denner, and his aunt who is my g grandmother, Theresa Buller Cowburn. My grandfather, Donald Patrick Cowburn, was his first cousin and they were the very best of friends. Their grandfather, Peter M. Buller, was the owner of The Utah Brewery, and also P. Buller & Grove, which closed during the Prohibition. They were very privileged children and were able to travel all over the USA and other countries as well. They both had their own cameras as little children and took hundreds of pictures which I am so lucky to have since I am the family genealogist. When my father, Martin Henry Cowburn was a little boy, my grandfather and grandmother were going through many financial burdens due to my grandma’s illnesses. My Uncle Pat got my dad & his brother Barry modeling jobs with Auerback’s Dept.Store, and so even though they lived in a family potato chip factory and were very poor, they were always the very best dressed little boys and nobody would have imagined that they were in a desperate situation. I remember as a child being fascinated by his art shop on Broadway, there were paintings of Jesus,tons of movie stars,Utah Scenery, Cowboys & all sorts of naked ladies (he appreciated the female form and captured it so beautifully). He will be so greatly missed, but he will live on as a Great American Icon. He made Colonel Sanders, as well as those wonderful mechanical cowboys, Vegas Vic and Wendover Will. I love you uncle Pat!!!!!

    • Dear Ms. Ruth,

      I am deeply saddened by the death of your uncle, Pat Denner, and have been a fan of his work for many years, always going to have him paint a portrait for me. Sadly, my pocket book was never where I wanted it to be, and I have waited too long!

      I also offered him $400 for a portrait of (Princess) Diana Spencer wearing a blue denim shirt about two years ago, which he accepted, but I did not try to contact him because I did not have the money until recently.

      Do you know what has become of that painting, and/ or his other works, or if I could still buy it?

      Many thanks for the courtesy of a reply.
      Very sorry for your/our loss.
      Your friend,

      Richard D M Barnes
      1520 West 800 North
      Salt Lake City, UT 84116


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