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Scott Milne Matheson Jr. (January 8, 1929 – October 7, 1990) was an American politician who served as the 12th Governor of Utah from 1977 to 1985. He is the most recent Democrat to serve in that position.

Scott Matheson
Scott Matheson speaking at the commissioning ceremony of the USS Salt Lake City, May 12, 1984.JPEG
12th Governor of Utah
In office
January 3, 1977 – January 7, 1985
LieutenantDavid S. Monson
Preceded byCal Rampton
Succeeded byNorm Bangerter
Chair of the National Governors Association
In office
August 10, 1982 – August 2, 1983
Preceded byRichard Snelling
Succeeded byJim Thompson
Personal details
Scott Milne Matheson, Jr.

(1929-01-08)January 8, 1929
Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
DiedOctober 7, 1990(1990-10-07) (aged 61)
Salt Lake City, Utah, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
Spouse(s)Norma Warenski
Children4 (including Scott and Jim)
EducationUniversity of Utah (BA)
Stanford University (LLB)

Matheson was born on January 8, 1929, in Chicago to Latter-day Saint parents Scott Milne and Adele Adams Matheson. Soon after his birth, the family moved to Utah, settling first in Parowan, before moving to Salt Lake City, when his father became a federal prosecutor.

Matheson graduated from Salt Lake City's East High School in 1946, earned a bachelor's degree in political science from the University of Utah in 1950, and a law degree from Stanford University in 1952. He operated a private law practice in Iron County, Utah, for five years before taking a position with Union Pacific Railroad in 1958. At the railroad he rose to the position of general counsel before making his 1976 run for governor.

In 1998, the Utah Supreme Court was moved into the Scott M. Matheson Courthouse building.

During his term as governor, Matheson was named the defendant in the U.S. Supreme Court case of H. L. v. Matheson, which upheld state law requiring parental consent for a teenage girl to obtain an abortion.

In 1951, he married Norma Louise Warenski, and the couple had four children. One is former U.S. Congressman Jim Matheson. Another son, Scott Matheson Jr., was the 2004 Democratic nominee for Governor of Utah, and was appointed as a federal judge in 2010.

On October 7, 1990, Matheson died of multiple myeloma, a rare form of cancer; he was buried in Parowan City Cemetery in Parowan, Utah.


  • Fowler, Glenn (October 8, 1990), "Scott Matheson, 61, Ex-Governor And Leading Democrat in Utah", The New York Times: D10
  • McCormick, John (1994), "Matheson, Scott M.", in Powell, Allan Kent (ed.), Utah History Encyclopedia, Salt Lake City, Utah: University of Utah Press, ISBN 0874804256, OCLC 30473917

External linksEdit

  Media related to Scott M. Matheson at Wikimedia Commons

Party political offices
Preceded by
Cal Rampton
Democratic nominee for Governor of Utah
1976, 1980
Succeeded by
Wayne Owens
Preceded by
John Y. Brown Jr.
Chair of the Democratic Governors Association
Succeeded by
Chuck Robb
Political offices
Preceded by
Cal Rampton
Governor of Utah
Succeeded by
Norm Bangerter
Preceded by
Richard Snelling
Chair of the National Governors Association
Succeeded by
Jim Thompson