Former Governor Scott M. Matheson died from complications arising from multiple myeloma cancer on Sunday, October 7, 1990.
He was born on January 8, 1929, in Chicago, where his father was attending law school. His parents, both deceased, were Scott and Adele Adams Matheson. Governor Matheson attended public schools in Salt Lake City but spent much of his youth in Parowan, Utah, where his family is rooted. He received his B.S. in political science from the University of Utah, and his law degree from Stanford University. Governor Matheson's legal career included a wide range of positions: law clerk to a federal judge, Deputy Salt Lake County Attorney, Parowan City Attorney, Deputy Iron County Attorney, Assistant General Counsel for the Anaconda Company, General Solicitor for the Union Pacific Railroad Company, and senior partner at the law firm of Parsons, Behle & Latimer. His service to the legal profession was equally substantial and varied, including: Utah State Bar Commissioner, youngest President of the Utah State Bar, Chairman of the ABA Committee on Youth Education for Citizenship, Board of Trustees of Utah Legal Services, and many others. Before becoming a lawyer, Governor Matheson held many different positions, including grocery bagger at Safeway, surveyor for the Bureau of Land Management, and sheepherder in the meadows around Parowan. He was elected Governor in 1976 and re-elected in 1980. In 1982 he was elected Chairman of the National Governor's Association. Governor Matheson held many other significant positions during his years in office. As Governor, he was dedicated to the public interest of the State of Utah, and worked tirelessly to protect the State's land and water resources, to force the federal government to disclose information about the radiation health risks of the open air nuclear testing program affecting southern Utah, to block the basing of the MX missile in Utah, to fund education, to foster economic development, and to help those in need. Throughout his career, he believed deeply in public service and hard work. He brought those commitments to his Chairmanship of the Democratic National Policy Commission, membership on the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, and many other activities. Governor Matheson published a book in 1986 entitled Out of Balance, a treatise on public management based on his years in office, and he authored many articles appearing in law reviews and other publications. He served as an adjunct faculty member teaching political science courses at the University of Utah. Governor Matheson was awarded honorary degrees from the University of Utah, Brigham Young University, Weber State College, and Southern Utah State College.He loved to play tennis, wear cowboy boots, and stay at his Aunt Carol's house in Parowan ("the jewel of the West"). He cherished his Scottish heritage. Above all, he loved and valued his family. He and Norma Warenski were married in 1951, and they were close partners in parenting, politics, and public service. Norma will miss him more deeply than words can express, as will his children, Scott Jr. (and Robyn), Lu Sweeney (and Ed), Jim (and Amy Herbener), and Tom, and his grandchildren, of whom he was so proud, Heather, Scotty, Briggs, and Sarah Grace. Bonnie Anderson, Alan, and Steve--his sister and brothers--will continue to treasure the life they have had with him.
On Wednesday, October 10, 1990, from 4:00 p.m.-9:00 p.m., Governor Matheson will lie in state at the State Capitol, and the public is invited to attend. He wished to join his parents in the Parowan City Cemetery, where he will be buried in a private ceremony. There will be a memorial service for Governor Matheson, Saturday, October 13, 1990, beginning at 12:00 noon, at Symphony Hall in Salt Lake City.
The Matheson family suggests that, in lieu of flowers, contributions be made to the Matheson Leadership Forum, University of Utah, 253 Orson Spencer Hall, Salt Lake City, Utah 84112, or to a charity of the donor's choice.
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