McKay, K. Gunn (Koln Gunn), 1925-

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Democratic U.S. Congressman from Utah, 1970-1980.

From the description of Gunn McKay papers, 1971-1980. (Utah State University). WorldCat record id: 48107428

K. Gunn McKay was born February 23, 1925 in Huntsville, Utah, the first of eight children to James Gunn McKay and Elizabeth (Bessie) Peterson McKay. During his youth McKay worked on the family dairy farm while attending Weber High School. After graduating from high school McKay served in the US Coast Guard. Upon completing his military service, McKay served as a missionary for two years in England for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. On May 5, 1950 McKay married Donna Biesinger. During the 1950s McKay operated a farm in Fairfield, Utah and taught history in various Ogden, Utah high schools.

In the late 1950s McKay enrolled in Utah State University and in 1962 McKay received a BA in Education. That same year McKay became active in politics of the Democratic Party and was elected to the Utah Legislature and served two terms. In 1968 he became an administrative assistant to Governor Calvin L. Rampton. In 1970 McKay was elected to Utah's1st District of the House of Representatives and served in this capacity for a decade. During this time he was appointed by House Speaker Carl Albert to the Appropriations Committee.

During his political career McKay was a strong advocate of resource development in Utah but also worked to ensure Utah's natural wonders. McKay secured funding that further developed the Glen Canyon, Arches, and Zion National Parks. He also drafted language making Utah's Lone Peak Wilderness Area a model and succeeded in modifying language in the Clean Air Act.

During this time period McKay also served as chairman of the Military Construction Subcommittee, which allowed him to reopen Utah's Minute Man Missile production line for an additional year and secure the F-16 fighter mission for Hill Air Force Base, Utah. McKay was highly influential in strengthening work at Hill Air Force Base, bringing the base to a 37-year high in activity in 1978. His committee also appropriated $17 million dollars to increase security at Tooele, Utah's nerve gas storage facility.

In 1980, less than a month after McKay had left Congress, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints called McKay to serve for three years as a Mission President over the Scotland-Northern Ireland Mission. After completing his term as a Mission President, McKay and his wife volunteered to serve a two-year mission in Kenya, Africa and later a second two-year mission in Malaysia. McKay and his wife also served a third mission in Pakistan, but returned home early due to illness. Thereafter McKay and his wife resided in Huntsville. Gunn McKay passed away at his home in Huntsville on October 6, 2000.

From the guide to the Gunn McKay Papers, 1971-1980, (Utah State University.)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
creatorOf McKay, K. Gunn (Koln Gunn), 1925-. K. Gunn McKay : commercials , 1980-1988. University of Oklahoma, Political Community Archives
creatorOf McKay, K. Gunn (Koln Gunn), 1925-. Gunn McKay papers, 1971-1980. Utah State University, Merrill-Cazier Library
creatorOf Gunn McKay Papers, 1971-1980 Utah State University. Merrill-Cazier Library. Special Collections and ArchivesManuscript Collection
Role Title Holding Repository
Place Name Admin Code Country
Golden Spike National Historic Site (Utah)
Golden Spike National Historic Site (Utah)
United States
Political campaigns
Government, Law and Politics
MX (Weapons system)
National parks and reserves
National parks and reserves
Nuclear weapons
Nuclear weapons testing victims
Nuclear weapons testing victims
Television advertising
Advertising, political


Birth 1925

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Ark ID: w6cv6wzf

SNAC ID: 26526769