Local politicians remember First Lady Norma Matheson

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SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 News) — Former Utah first lady Norma Matheson has died at age 89.

Lt. Governor Chief of Staff Kirsten Rappleye said Monday that family members confirmed Matheson died Sunday night.

Norma Matheson served as first lady alongside Democratic Gov. Scott Matheson from 1977 through 1985. More recently, she helped launch the Count My Vote that changed Utah’s primary process.

She was from Nephi and earned a bachelor’s degree in zoology at the University of Utah.

The couple wed in 1951 and raised four children, including former Democratic Congressman Jim Matheson and federal appeals court Judge Scott Matheson Jr. The former governor died in 1990.

Her children said in a statement that she “brought empathy, grace and common sense to everything she did.”

Local politicians sent ABC4 the following statements in her honor:

“Jeanette and I were saddened to hear of Norma Matheson’s passing. Norma was a tremendous example of impassioned leadership. She was the perfect teammate for her husband, former Governor Scott Matheson. Energetic and intelligent, she led causes that changed Utah’s future for the better. She raised a family that is dedicated to public service. I’m so grateful to have known Norma. She was a tremendous mother, advocate, and person. The entire Matheson family is in our prayers at this time.” 

Governor Herbert

“Ann and I offer our heartfelt condolences to the family of Norma Matheson. As the First Lady of Utah, she led causes that improved the lives of many in our state. In addition to living a life of public service, she was a devoted wife, mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother. Our prayers are with her family, friends, and loved ones during this difficult time.”

Senator Romney

“Utahns have lost an extraordinary public servant with the passing of Norma Matheson. As a former First Lady, she traveled the state with Governor Scott M. Matheson, spending time at senior centers, schools and gathering places.  I first met her as a college student when she interviewed me as a candidate for the Matheson Leadership Scholarship –which honors the former Utah Governor’s leadership legacy. Receiving it gave me the opportunity to pursue politics and public policy and to endeavor to follow in their very large footsteps.  Norma was beloved by everyone she met for her warmth, humor, and commitment to giving back to the community.  The world is a better place because of her.  Julie and I send our deepest sympathies and condolences to her family as well as our thanks to them for sharing their mother and grandmother with our state.”

Congressman McAdams

 When learning of the passing of former First Lady Norma Matheson, Mayor Jenny Wilson said, “Norma Matheson was a gracious First Lady, a community leader and friend to all. She served as First Lady with a heartfelt commitment to the community, her husband and her family. In recent years, she continued to impact the community through her dedication to land preservation, women’s advancement and many other notable causes. Norma was an inspiration to me and will be missed.”

Salt Lake County Mayor Jenny Wilson


“I was saddened to learn Norma Matheson passed away. She committed her life to improving our community and raising public servants. Norma will be greatly missed. My thoughts and prayers are with the Matheson family during this time.”

Utah Senate President J. Stuart Adams 

“I was saddened to receive the news that Norma Matheson passed away. Both Jeni and I thought of her as a compassionate community leader that changed Utah for the better. She will be missed by many, but her influence and example will live on through those whose lives she touched. Her family and loved ones are in our thoughts and prayers at this time.” 

 Brad Wilson, Speaker of the Utah House of Representatives

The Utah Democratic Party and Utahns of all political stripes mourn the passing of Norma Warenski Matheson, the Matriarch of the Matheson family.

Here at the Democratic Party, Norma will be remembered for her kindness, her sharp political insight, and love for the Democratic Community. She has been deeply involved in the Women’s Democratic Club, an advocate for seniors, a community volunteer, philanthropist and board member for many of Utah’s most prominent non-profits. She was also the spouse of the late Governor Scott Matheson Sr., and the mother of four children, including former Democratic Congressman Jim Matheson and Democratic gubernatorial candidate and federal judge Scott MathesonJr. 


Utah Democratic Chair, Jeff Merchant, said in a statement that “Norma was one of the classiest women I have met. I first got to know her in 1999 as she supported Jim Matheson in his first race for Congress. What impressed me most was Norma’s love for all her family—Scott, Robin, Jim and Tom—and her willingness to sacrifice so much for the State of Utah. She had a remarkable quality to make everyone around her feel important and heard. These very attributes translated into her many efforts to improve the quality of life for all Utahns.”


She was truly an exemplar of the kind of Democrat we all strive to be. She will be sorely missed, and the Party offers its condolences to her family.

Utah Democratic Party

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For this Beetdigger and Ute it’s an honor to be doing what he loves in his home state! Glen is an award-winning journalist, who joined the ABC4 Utah team in June 2013. You can catch him anchoring ABC4 Utah News at 4 Monday through Friday. He also serves as our Senior Political Correspondent, keeping you up to date on issues that impact your life at the city, state and national level. His political reports run throughout the week, and he hosts Inside Utah Politics, Sunday mornings at 8. The Utah Headliners Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists has recognized Glen as the best government and military television reporter in the state. Before returning home to Utah, he spent 11 1/2 years developing his journalism skills in other states. He held various on-air and management positions at KPVI in Pocatello, Idaho, WGBA in Green Bay, Wisconsin and KKCO in Grand Junction, Colorado during that time.. Read More...

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