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Posted 24 Feb 2001   For week ended October 13, 2000
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Sent on Mormon-News: 10Oct00

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 appropriation measures.

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


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