Family, friends pay tribute to former Utah first lady Norma Matheson

(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) Photos of Norma Matheson, and her husband Scott, at her memorial service in Salt Lake City on Sunday Sept. 1, 2019.

At least 200 well-wishers gathered at This is the Place Heritage Park Sunday to honor the late Norma Matheson, long considered the matriarch of Utah’s Democratic Party and a beacon of political civility. She died on July 28 at age 89.

For nearly three decades following the untimely death of her husband, Gov. Scott Matheson Sr., Norma Matheson served on the boards of numerous organizations dedicated to social justice and environmental protection.

No speeches were given Sunday; instead family, friends and admirers, including Republican Gov. Gary Herbert, gathered in the park’s Garden Place, offering personal remembrances.

“Norma was a heroine of mine,” said community activist Pamela Atkinson. “She was so gracious and so honest, and like me she couldn’t stand injustice. I loved being in committee meetings with her, learning from her. She always made you feel you were the one person she was hoping to bump into, whether it was at the Capitol, out for a walk, or out grocery shopping.”