Summarized by Kent Larsen
Former Mission President and US Congressman Gunn McKay Dies at 75
HUNTSVILLE, UTAH -- K. Gunn McKay, a Democrat who represented Utah in
the US Congress from 1970 to 1980, and who then served as an LDS
Mission President in Scotland, died Friday at his home in Huntsville,
Utah from cancer. He was 75.
McKay was born in Huntsville in 1925, son of James Gunn McKay and
Elizabeth (Bessie) Peterson McKay. His father was a cousin of David
O. McKay, later LDS Church president.
After serving an LDS mission in England following World War II, McKay
returned home to work his family's dairy farm and to own and operate
an Ogden delicatessen. He also obtained an education degree from USU
in 1962, which he used to teach history in the public schools.
McKay was first elected to the Utah State House of Representatives in
1962, serving from 1963 to 1967. He was then a legislative aid to
then Utah Governor Calvin L. Rampton until 1970, when he was elected
to the US Congress from Utah's 1st District.
As a freshman congressman, McKay won appointment to the House
Appropriations Committee, a coveted spot that often takes 10 years to
earn. He gained a reputation as a conservative Democrat, opposing
abortion, favoring a balanced budget and supporting many military
But in 1980 McKay was defeated by current Utah representative Jim
Hansen in the Reagan revolution, and the LDS Church soon tapped him
to serve as a Mission President in Scotland and Northern Ireland from
1981 to 1984. In 1986, McKay tried to win back his seat in Congress
from Hansen, but was unsuccessful. He and his wife later served LDS
missions in Kenya, Singapore, Malaysia and in Pakistan, from the last
of which he returned early due to illness.
McKay's contributions to state and to the Church were praised during
the weekend, including a statement from his congressional foe,
Representative Hansen, who said, "I think Gunn McKay was an
exceptional human being. He was very dedicated to his family, his
party and his church. . . . He was a great American and decent
person. In 19 elections, of all the opponents I have faced there is
no question that he was the strongest and toughest," said Hanson. "He
was the best opponent they (the Democrats) have ever come up with."
K. Gunn McKay, 75
Washington Post pgB06 9Oct00 T2