Edward Wilbur Clyde

Edward Clyde was a “guiding force behind the $2 billion Central Utah Project.”

Edward Wilbur “Ed” Clyde was born November 23, 1917, in Heber City to L. Dean and Ardell Buhler Clyde. He was raised with a comprehension of the importance of land and water in semiarid Utah that a son of a farmer (and later a cattle rancher himself) fully understands. He graduated from Brigham Young University in 1939 with a degree in speech and economics and from the University of Utah where in 1942 he earned his law degree and was honored as the top student in his class. Within a few years Clyde, a distant relative of a distinguished water engineer and governor, George D. Clyde, was recognized in Utah and the Intermountain West as a legal authority on natural resources.

In 1941 Clyde married Betha (Betty) Jensen, and they became the parents of four children: Steven E., Thomas E., Carolyn, and Susan.

In 1949 Clyde was appointed to the National Rivers and Harbors Advisory Group to aid Congress and the president in developing laws to govern the nation’s waterways and harbors. Shortly after this the Utah attorney general appointed him as a special assistant attorney general to help with the complex legal negotiations for the Upper Colorado River Compact. His quick legal mind assured Utah of its fair share of Colorado River water. As these negotiations progressed Clyde also became involved in the legal planning for the Central Utah Project (CUP). He later served as attorney for the Salt Lake County Water Conservancy District and the Central Utah Water Conservancy District, two key organizations in the development and eventual operation and management of this important water reclamation project.

His legal expertise was not limited to water reclamation. In 1962 Clyde was appointed to the National Advisory Council for Public Lands to review existing federal land laws. Then, with the beginning of rapid growth at the Salt Lake International Airport, Salt Lake City hired him to settle a complex land problem to allow expansion.

Committed to the values of higher education, Clyde served in various capacities at the University of Utah, including lecturer in the College of Law from 1945 to 1960. He was appointed to the university’s Board of Regents in 1964 and in 1969 was elected president of the new Institutional Council which oversaw the school’s growth. Later he served on the University of Utah Hospital board.

Because of his years of service to the university Phi Delta Kappa honored him in 1973 as Man of the Year in Education, and in 1981 he received an Honorary Doctor of Laws Degree from the U. The Utah State Bar gave him its Lawyer of the Year Award in 1985, and in 1988 the U.S. Department of the Interior gave him its Citizen’s Award.

In the 1970s Clyde accepted appointment to the state’s Constitutional Revision Commission and later succeeded Neal A. Maxwell as chair. The commission’s objectives were to review the state constitution and make specific recommendations to streamline it and improve state government.

Clyde did not aspire to political office, although he once served as chair of the State Democratic Convention. Rather, he worked behind the scenes to help revise state government, to provide direction for an expanding state university and hospital, and to render legal counsel and direction for Utah’s biggest reclamation project in its history.

Ed Clyde died of cancer on July 17, 1991.