Milo Scovil Marsden, Jr.

February 17, 1933 ~ March 20, 2021


April 3, 2021
Private Services

Milo Scovil Marsden, Jr., beloved husband, father, grandfather, brother, uncle, and friend, died at home on March 20, 2021—the first day of Spring—of causes incident to age. He was 88 years old.

Milo was born in Salt Lake City, Utah, on February 17, 1933 to Milo Scovil Marsden, Sr., a sheepman from Parowan, Utah, and Elaine Rampton Marsden, from Bountiful, Utah. He was an athlete, a scholar, and a lawyer who contributed to his community and church. He was a gentleman to all who knew him.

His long list of accomplishments began in junior high when he was elected President of the student body of Roosevelt Jr. His Vice-President was his close friend Jake Garn. Roosevelt was the place the arcs of their political careers crossed. Shortly before Milo’s term ended, there was an effort to impeach him for “dating a girl from Bryant Jr. High.” The effort failed, but it was the highest elected office Milo would ever hold.

He graduated from East High in 1951. At East, he earned letters in football, basketball, and baseball. He pitched for the baseball team and played quarterback for the football team. He was selected to both the All-State and National All American football teams. He also raced in the Knudson Cup, and passed his love of skiing on to his children and grandchildren.

He entered Harvard College on an academic scholarship in the fall of 1951 and played quarterback for the Harvard Crimson. Milo interrupted his schooling to serve a mission for the L.D.S church in Helsinki, Finland. He was given no training in Finnish—a remarkably difficult language. As he tells it, upon arriving in Helsinki he had a short interview with President Henry Matis, and was immediately put on a train to Turku, Finland to fend for himself. Milo served for 2 years and 9 months, and loved every minute of it. Milo developed an affection for the Finnish people, language, geography, and especially the “sauna” culture that lasted a lifetime. He practiced his Finnish throughout his life, often turning to Merja Vanninen a dear family friend, for a language refresher.

On returning from his mission in 1956, Milo enrolled at the University of Utah, and pledged Beta Theta Pi, joining many of his East High friends. He graduated in 1957. In college, his cousin, Carolyn Person (nee Durham), set him up on a blind date with Jacqueline Bourne. They dated steadily for two years, dancing at Saltair and Lagoon, and attending other get-togethers before marrying in the Salt Lake Temple on June 24, 1958. They had 63 wonderful years as a married couple. They have four children: Milo Steven, Mary Lynne, Julie Anne, and Amy. Milo provided his children with years of love and support, and innumerable comic episodes, but he blissfully slept through their curfews, leaving enforcement and sleeplessness to Jackie.

Milo began Stanford Law School in September of 1957, and graduated in 1960. Immediately after law school, he was commissioned into the U.S. Army, and went on active duty first at Ft. Benning, GA and then at the U.S. Army Intelligence School at Ft. Holabird, MD. He served in the Army Reserve for 15 years, generating another rich set of friends and memories.

Milo began his law practice at Parsons & Behle, then a small five-person firm that still had spittoons in its offices. After two years at Parsons, Milo’s cousin, Rendell N. Mabey, asked him to join his law firm which became known as Mabey, Ronnow, Madsen & Marsden. In 1976, Milo and Robert Orton purchased the 5th Floor of the McIntyre Building and established Marsden, Orton & Cahoon. Milo preferred the freedom of being his own boss. Milo practiced with several great lawyers who he considered not only colleagues, but mentors and friends. Colleagues and adversaries describe Milo as a true gentleman who treated them fairly and with respect. He showed kindness, and genuine concern for the best interests of his clients. He was fortunate to find an assistant, Gail Zesiger, who stayed with him for the rest of his career. The family appreciates her many years of loyalty to Milo. Milo practiced law full time from 1960 until 2007, when he began to gradually limit his practice. Milo’s love of professional dress was legendary. He dressed for work in a suit and tie every day, and often donned a vest as well. For more casual events, or simply to relax at home, Milo would forego the formality of a suit and cut loose in a sport coat and tie. He was known to exercise in his dress shoes, drive to Lake Powell in a sport coat, and ski in a dress shirt, under his bibs.

He was a Director of First Utah Bank. He served as the Salt Lake Civil Service Coordinator, and later as the Chairman of the Salt Lake Civil Service Commission. In that role, he was responsible for the qualification and advancement of Salt Lake City’s police officers and fire fighters.
Governor Rampton appointed him to the Utah Council for Handicapped and Developmentally Disabled Persons. He served as the President of the Salt Lake Chapter of the Cerebral Palsy Foundation and was instrumental in helping to establish Camp Kostopolus. For many years, he was on the Board of Directors of the Alta Club and Utah’s Hogle Zoo.

Milo was a member of the Yale 2nd Ward from 1962 until 2008, when he and Jackie moved from their long-time home on Laird Circle to a condominium. He served in the Yale 2nd Ward Bishopric. He also served as a counsel in the Branch Presidency of the VA Hospital.

Milo and Jackie loved to travel. Early in his career, Milo became the outside General Counsel of Service Merchandisers of America, an international trade association. He and Jackie attended the organization’s meetings held in far-flung locations: Jamaica, Cancun, Acapulco, Puerto Vallarta, Montreal, Hawaii, Bermuda, Norway and the like. In 1983, Milo and Jackie (along with 11 other attorneys and their spouses), took a memorable and informative trip to the People’s Republic of China as guests of its Ministry of Justice. Their travels have taken them to all seven continents.

Milo was an outstanding athlete and extremely competitive by nature. He played squash as a lunchtime ritual at his beloved Deseret Gym. He said the hours away were well worth it because they made him sharper and more productive. He golfed enthusiastically—devoting endless hours around the practice green sharpening his short game, and on the driving range in the hopeful search for a perfect, repeatable swing. There is much archival footage of these efforts, most of it self-filmed. He was a longtime member of both the Oakridge Country Club and the Salt Lake Country Club. At Oakridge, he loved playing Friday afternoons with his son, brother-in-law, and nephew. At the Country Club, he continued his love of golf. When he finally gave it up, he turned his competitive focus to playing bridge with friends several times a week. Milo was a loyal Ute, and had season tickets to Ute basketball and football, as well as the Utah Jazz.

Milo collected close friends that he kept throughout his life: kids he grew up with on Yale Avenue, boys he played football with in high school, fraternity brothers, missionary companions, fellow Army reservists, and professional colleagues. Just after college, he and Jackie joined a group of Beta friends and their spouses in a “pot luck” dinner club. That group has met every month for over sixty years. The book club that he and Jackie joined after they returned from active military service also has met monthly from the early 1960s until a COVID-imposed hiatus.

His greatest satisfaction was his family. In addition to regular extended family gatherings, there were frequent vacations with the Bourne and Babcock families in the Tetons, Colter Bay, Lake Powell, Park City, Bear Lake, Sun Valley, and Palm Springs. He was a proud and supportive grandfather. From swim meets, to lacrosse matches, ski races, and soccer games, he fed his competitive appetite watching his grandchildren compete. He enthusiastically attended piano and ballet recitals, school programs, and graduations.

Milo is survived by his wife Jackie, his sister Linda (Fred) Babcock, his four children and their spouses, Milo Steven and Karen Marsden, Mary Marsden, Julie and John Thomas, and Amy and Destry Atkinson. He has seven grandchildren of whom he was immensely proud: Kate, Annie and Milo Marsden; Claire and Mia Thomas; and Jack and Charlie Atkinson.

The family will hold a private memorial on April 3, 2021, interment at the Farmington City cemetery. The family intends to hold a celebration of Milo’s life with extended family, friends and colleagues later this summer, when conditions allow larger gatherings. We would like to thank Dr. Margaret (Meg) Lunt for her extraordinarily kind and loving care of Milo, and Aspen Ridge Home Health & Hospice for their care of Milo during his last days. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that you consider donations to Utah’s Hogle Zoo or Camp Kostopolus.


Dear Marsden Family - Wonderful Milo was always very kind and friendly to me even as a teenager when visiting your home. He and Jackie have continued to take an interest in my life and many of their neighbors. Steve gained his passion for the legal profession from his father and his legacy lives on in each of your family members. Our condolences to your family and our prayers that you are comforted during this difficult time. Sincerely, Todd Stevens

- Todd Stevens
Steve and Julie and families. Please accept my sincere condolences on the death of your father. I had the pleasure of taking a Nook class with him & your mom at Barnes & Noble several years ago and thoroughly enjoyed my time with him. He was clearly very wise and very witty. He expressed his love and pride for his children and his grandchildren. Peace to you all.

- Miriam Harper
Dear Jackie and family, We and our family have so many fond memories of our relationship with the Marsden family: The Yale II Ward; Amy and Emily; the McIntyre Building; Marsden, Orton & Cahoon, etc. Milo was a the model of what a law partner should be. He was highly intelligent, the ultimate professional, kind and even tempered, fair and reasonable, warm, friendly, socially interactive, witty and a sense of humor that wouldn't quit. Moreover, you Jackie were always at his side and every bit his equal, if not the mover and shaker of the relationship. We mourn his passing. If we are so fortunate to be where Milo and Jackie are sure to be found on the other side of the veil, and to be with you, we will consider ourselves blessed indeed.

- Bob & Joy Orton
I am so sorry about Milo's passing. He was a great friend and bridge partner for many, many years. We did so many different things together including his political campaigns along with his father. Jackie we think of you and Milo as among our very closest friends.

- Ashby Decker
Jackie, Milo is one of the most wonderful people I knew. When I practiced law with him he was the only person in the firm who gave me work that paid. I could always count on him to support me. I had a young family and he helped me stay afloat financially. Loved that guy. I was so sorry to hear about his passing, but understand that he was struggling with a variety of health issues. My best to you and your family. Bill

- Bill Barrett
My wife and I have enjoyed knowing Milo and his wife Jackie, every since we moved into Edgemount over ten years ago. Milo was a kind, solf spoken person who befriended everyone he came in contact with and we will miss him.

- Lee McCullough