September 4, 1960 – February 22, 2023
PHOENIX- With great sadness over a life too short and abundant gratitude for a life well-lived, the Celley family today announced the death of Scott Kenneth, aged 62. He died peacefully at home on February 22, 2023 following a brief neurological disease.
Scott will be remembered most of all as an incredible husband, father and grandfather. He was married to Pam for 35 wonderful years, and doted on his daughters Madeline Phipps and Caroline Tonn. He was proud of his girls, and cheered them on through countless tennis matches, theater performances, softball games and piano recitals, and more recently, career moves and life changes. He was thrilled to walk his girls down the aisle to marry his wonderful sons-in-law, Dr. Kyle Phipps and Blake Tonn. He was overjoyed to become “Snappy” to his granddaughter Margo Phipps and was adored as “Uncle Sock” by his nieces and nephews.
Born in Oregon City, Oregon to Ken and Mary Ann Celley, Scott grew up on his family’s small farm in Canby. He claimed that he learned the value of hard work planting rows of Christmas trees and harvesting crates of blueberries every summer. Scott kicked off his running career at Canby High School, then earned academic and athletic scholarships to attend George Fox College (now University). While there, he played trumpet in the band, was part of the hall-of-fame 1979 track and field team, and got his first taste of campaign politics when he was elected Student Body President during his senior year.
After college, Scott moved to Washington, D.C. for a summer internship on Capitol Hill, and had the pleasure of working for many elected officials. While there, Scott met Pam Hall, the talented, brilliant and compassionate love of his life, and they were married in 1988. He eventually became press secretary and communications director for Senator John McCain, and was behind the scenes during many key political moments of the 80’s and 90’s. He left his own mark on D.C. history – he still holds the course record for the Nike Capital Challenge three-miler, which he won eight times.
In 1994, Scott took a job for Senator Jon Kyl and moved his family to Phoenix. He quickly became involved in the world of state and local politics, and is to thank for the victory of many Republican legislators over the past thirty years. He also worked for Maricopa County and Arizona Governor Jane Dee Hull before moving to the private sector, leading government and community relations for TriWest Healthcare Alliance. He loved his work, especially the development of TriWest’s charitable giving strategy that improved the lives of countless U.S. military members and their families.
He spent the last 10 years running Trifecta Communications, and was an invaluable government relations resource to many companies and nonprofits. He had more coffee meetings than seemed humanly possible, especially for someone who only ordered hot chocolate. Scott was a true connector of people; his family called him “the human LinkedIn.” No matter where he went, you could almost guarantee he would run into one of his friends. Even in the last few weeks of his life, Scott was still connecting the people he cared for with the organizations he was passionate about.
Scott really did love his work, but he also made plenty of time for fun. He ran on the Phoenix canals nearly every morning and continued to win his age group in local races. A few of those personal bests include a 4:56 mile on his 40th birthday and a 2:35:11 at the Marine Corps Marathon. Scott never missed a chance to wear his bright yellow Oregon Ducks gear and cheer on his favorite team. He also enjoyed traveling and made some of his best memories during annual family trips to Hawaii and Disneyland. Other highlights included a tour of the D-Day beaches in Normandy, sneaking onto and running a lap on the track in Norway’s Bislett Stadium, appreciating the art of Rome and the ruins of Pompeii (thanks to Pam’s expertise), and viewing Winston Churchill’s War Rooms in London. He took Pam to Europe to celebrate their 30th wedding anniversary and deepened his faith on a recent trip through Israel.
Scott’s motto, often repeated, was “Make me a blessing to someone today.” It was his mission to live his faith intentionally every day and spread the transformational love of Christ wherever he went. He was a truly remarkable husband, father and friend, who will be incredibly missed.
Scott was a generous giver of his time, talent, and treasure. In lieu of flowers, please consider donations in his honor to one of the following organizations:
● Central Phoenix Young Life, Young Lives, or Capernaum
● National Military Family Association
● USA Track and Field Foundation
A memorial service will be held at Camelback Bible Church, 3900 E. Stanford Dr., Paradise Valley, AZ, 85253 on Saturday, March 25 at 10:30 a.m. A reception to celebrate Scott’s life will follow.
Maddie and family:
I am thinking of you and wishing you comfort from the many wonderful memories you have of your Dad. Although I had the honor to meet him only once, he was very kind and considerate.
Wishing you the peace that only God can bring.
Scott was such a force of nature. His smile was infectious and he made the world a better place for so many.
I’m thankful to God for God men like Scott, who embraced being a servant leader. After reading the obituary, it’s clear that he loved that through every facet of good life.
My prayers are with the entire family as you walk this road of grief. May the generous community love for him bring you comfort and blessing.
Requiescat in pace, serve bone et fidelis.
Brad and Ayako Tritle
I am so sorry to hear of Scott’s passing. I have such fond memories of working with him many years ago. He was a blessing to me. My wife and I are praying for strength and comfort for you, his family.
This is a beautiful tribute to a wonderful human being. Scott was a trusted board member, colleague and friend for me over the past decade. Scott’s smile and positivity were impossible not to join him in within seconds of seeing him. I am better for knowing and having served military/veteran families with Scott, and I imagine many many others feel similarly. Much love and prayers for Scott’s family.
Penny Allee Taylor
Scott was such a terrific, genuine fella. I had numerous conversations with him about veteran’s opportunities, healthcare, children, politics, and policy. We cheered each other on to find successful solutions to a variety of issues. There are too few like him. He will be missed by so many. Love and healing to the Celley family and friends ❤️
Such a beautiful tribute for an incredible human. Rest in Peace, my friend. Sending prayers for strength and comfort
Pam, I am so sorry for your loss. Scott was such an amazing and kind man and has left such impact on the lives he has touched. He was always first to lend a helping hand and gave freely from the heart. We will miss him and all the positive spirit he shared. Our deepest condolences to you and your family.
With love and prayers,
Tran and Glenn Appell
Madeline , Kyle, Margo, Pam, Caroline and Blake, you are in our thoughts and prayers. We are so sorry to see you all go through this. May God comfort you and hold you tight. ❤️Aunt Laurie and Uncle Dan
Scott was a friend to so many in his profession. He always acted with integrity, generosity, humility and kindness. We was a champion for those who serve in the armed forces. He will be sorely missed.
Scott was one of the really good and honest folks I met while I served in the legislature. He will be missed!!
I’m sorry to learn of your loss. While I didn’t get to know Scott well, I do recall a memorable encounter on an Oahu beach last summer. I never expected anyone to recognize me, yet I heard Scott call out my name. Though our paths crossed only a few times, I will always cherish the moments we shared. Please know that my thoughts and prayers are with his family during this difficult time. Scott made a lasting impression on me.
Rick L. Collins
So deeply sad to hear of Scott’s passing. I always found him so energetic. I got to know him as a key member of Governor Hull’s staff. Enjoyed working alongside him and the family feel Jane Hull brought to 9th floor. He always made those around him better. I am glad I got to share some time with him at Jane’s Celebration. Disappointed that I didn’t get to speak with him after reading letter about what he was going through last week. I know Scott would have worked to make everything better for you and girls right up to the end. He was that kind of a man. He will be missed.
Janelle Pahnke Flood
I have many fond memories of Scott while working at TriWest. He was a genuine soul that always greeted you with a huge hello filled with a smile that you knew was truly thoughtful. I send love and light and God’s strength to his family and friends. May the joy he brought to many lift you during this difficult time.
I am almost too stunned to write this. I am in tears Pam, and I send prayers of comfort and peace. The one thing I do know is that Scott is with the Lord and that Heaven is rejoicing. For those of us on Earth, we are devastated and so very sorry for your loss. A fellow Oregonian, Scott and I met each other when working as staffers in the Senate, he with Sen. John McCain and I with Sen. Mark O. Hatfield. We became fast friends. I have never met a more creative thinker, enthusiastic supporter of people and causes, or a man with more integrity and humility. His faith was evident in all he did, not by what he said, by who he was. There was no better man. Michelle and I offer our most sincere condolences.
Robert Udall Glazier
Scott and I met in 1994 working on the Kyl for Senate Campaign. His sense of humor, kindness and quick wit with a perfect quote made him a valuable team member and even more importantly, a great friend to all. In the rough and tumble world of politics which is often considered dirty or mean, Scott was a shining star who stood out as an honest and happy man who succeeded in his work and treated others with respect and love. I’m grateful to have blessed with Scott’s friendship and example. You will be missed Scott, til we meet again.
Robert Udall Glazier
Scott and I met in 1994 working on the Kyl for Senate Campaign. His sense of humor, kindness and quick wit with a perfect quote made him a valuable team member and even more importantly, a great friend to all. In the rough and tumble world of politics which is often considered dirty or mean, Scott was a shining star who stood out as an honest and happy man who succeeded in his work and treated others with respect and love. I’m grateful to have been blessed with Scott’s friendship and example. You will be missed Scott, til we meet again.
Caroline and family,
We are so very sorry for your loss and we send our love and healing to you all. Caro, I remember from our earliest days at Pepperdine, always seeing what a close relationship you and your dad had, and I know his example and your memories together will stay with you always and guide you throughout life. We’re so thankful to have had time with your whole family recently at Caroline & Blake’s wedding, where we witnessed your dad’s incredible love for you, his kindness and humor, and his deep generosity in action. In this difficult time, your deep love for each other will surely be your strength. We’re here for you, and we love you so much.
Heather & Fernando
Scott was a simply put a wonderful person. Whenever and wherever you ran into him he always had that big grin and a warm and welcoming greeting. In what could be a tough world Scott was constantly upbeat and genuinely friendly. His passing marks a truly sad day in Arizona politics. All my best to his loving family and friends. I will miss him deeply as will countless others. John Shadegg
Chuck and Carol Patterson
To the Celley Family from Chuck and Carol Patterson.
Your loss is huge, but Scott will live on in all of our memories, gatherings, and parties for our lives. Celebrate him often as he will always be a part of your lives.
Jim & Beth McCluskey
Scott is home and we continue our journeys. We were blessed to have Scott, Pam and the girls in our lives. They are among the finest people we ever met. Scott left us all too soon but we are all better for having known him. Love to all the family.
I didn’t know Scott but his Son-In-Law Kyle is my nephew
My deepest condolences to the family as after reading such a wonderful obituary it is
easily seen what a grand human being he was.
May God embrace all the broken hearts on the loss of Scott and I hope knowing that he is in God’s kingdom brings comfort to those who loved him.
Fort Worth, Texas
Timothy Bruce Kakooza
My heart aches at the news of passing of your husband
I came to know Scott and Pam in 1997 when they hosted me at their house. Since then we become friends and they are supporters of Winners Childrens Home – Uganda.
Scott is a great man of God that will be missed.
Looking at Scott’s life shows what living a Godly life looks like and the trickle down effect it can have on the people around you. He was an amazing man.
I am grateful to have known him.
He was a true man who I have such regard and respect for.
May Caroline, Madeline , and you plus the rest of the family receive strength from Heaven during this time of loss.
Pastor Timothy Bruce Kakooza
Director- Winners Childrens Home – Uganda.
The world lost a great man and Heaven welcomed an Angel. Sending my condolences and prayers of comfort for the Celley family. I met Scott through my mother, Bette Jefferson. I know the two of them are having some incredible converstations in heaven!
All My Best,
Mary Ann Miller
I’m so sorry to hear of Scott’s passing. Our paths crossed many times during my years at the Tempe Chamber, and I appreciated his professionalism. Scott was one of the people whose advice I sought after I left that career, and to my surprise and delight my next career has me working with his wonderful daughter, Madeline. I wish you all peace and happiness in the knowledge that Scott made the world a better place.
I worked with Scott while I was a reporter at Bloomberg News who covered TriWest. He was always such a class act, smart, kind, informative and on top of his game.
I am so sorry to hear of his passing, sending heartfelt condolences to his family and friends.
Madeline and your lovely family,
I’m so sorry for your tremendous loss. What a beautiful life he lived and we are particularly grateful for the special and talented daughter he raised. Please know that you are hearts and minds and the whole VM team sends their love and healing wishes. The relationship between dads and daughters is so special, so, Madeline and Caroline, I’m holding you both especially close in my heart during this time.
Scott certainly was a blessing to all who knew him! I’m honored to have known him.
I really enjoyed working with Scott when he had business at Scottsdale City Hall. He shared some very sweet stories about his family that showed just how much loved and cherished you. I am so sorry for your tremendous loss. Scott was a lovely, kind, thoughtful human and the world is a better place because he was here. May the memory of his grace and care for others light our way. My sincere condolences to all whose hearts are hurting because he is gone too soon.
So sad to see Scott go, but now he is at peace with his Lord. An incredible connector he brought such value to our organization in just the few months we worked with him. A kind and gentle man. A friend. He will be missed.
Habitat for Humanity Central Arizona
Pam, Madeline, and Caroline – I am heartbroken and at a loss for words. Scott was a wonderful colleague and a special part of the “Governor Jane Dee Hull family”. It didn’t matter what city we travelled to with the Governor, Scott made sure to get in his run bright and early! And I can close my eyes and see him doing his “fast walk” down the hall on the 9th floor of the Executive Tower! Always brought a smile to my face. My thoughts and prayers are with you. He is gone way too soon. LeArta Vance
Eileen McDougal Truitt
I met Scott in High School when he ran against my teammates (Newberg High) then got to know him as a teammate at George Fox College. It was always nice to talk with him. The last time I remember talking with Scott was back in 2008 I was just getting off my flight at PDX and he recognized me as I was hobbling down the walkway on crutches. He was always a joy to talk to.
My prayers are with your family on this loss of Scott here, but we know he is with his Lord. He will be missed by all who knew him.
Eileen (McDougal) Truitt
Former GFC Teammate
I had the pleasure of meeting and working with Scott as we both consulted with a mutual client. He was the consummate professional and I so enjoyed working with him. We met for those coffee meetings to catch up with what was happening in each of our business worlds… as well as share how our families were doing. I am shocked and so sorry for his passing. Know that he spoke so highly of his family.
Dear Celley Family,
I was always so amazed at how positive and active Scott was. His energy and attitude were infectious and we at our business leaders forum group were always so pleased when he found the time to join in. His words of advice were always well seasoned and he was generous with his offers to make connections that would enrich our lives and businesses.
I look forward to meeting you at his service offer mu genuine gratitude to you all for his life and how he touched us all.
Scott Celley was an incredible, passionate human being who is a model of integrity, service to others, hard work, respect for human dignity, and dedication: dedicated foremost to his wonderful family , dedicated to public service, and dedicated to improving the lives of all of our families. I was honored to work alongside Scott for many years on many projects, thru our Senator Kyl, Senator McCain, and Governor Hull days together and beyond, and witnessed his incredible character and principles first hand. And always with a smile and something uplifting to say. God Speed, my friend
Dear Celley Family,
I had the pleasure of getting to know Scott during our monthly Business Forum meetings. He was a kind and compassionate man, genuinely interested in others. I will miss his smiling face and interesting stories. I wish your family peace.
Dear Pam and girls,
I’m sending you hugs and heartfelt condolences for your loss. Scott was an exceptional man in every way. May you find peace through faith, knowing you will be together again.
With love, Cathy & Jason
I have known Scott for over 20 years as we met in the monthly Management Forums. While we would have planned meetings every so often it seemed as though we couldn’t pop into a Starbucks or the Henry without seeing each other….! He just loved meeting with people, and would ALWAYS help you if he could. One of my all time favorite people, and probably the only Oregon Duck fan this Washington Husky enjoyed being around!! I will always see that great smile of his…..RIP.
Sarah Borst - Johns
I am so sorry to hear this. I knew Scott back working for Senator Kyl and just recently reconnect with him at a St. Vincent de Paul meeting. Sending my deepest condolences to his family and friends.
To The Celley Family, Sending love and prayers from my family to yours. I was able to work with Scott as part of Governor Hull’s team. He was always positive, kind and very up beat about everything. Each meeting and interaction that I had with him over that five year period had a lasting impact. Scott made a difference for a lot of Arizonans! I am grateful to have had a small period of time to be in his presence. Thanks for sharing him with so many of us!
Pam, Madeline, Caroline, Kyle and Blake,
My deepest condolences to you and all those who knew and loved Scott. No one knows better than you what a generous and loving man he was. He made the world a better place and enriched those he knew with his faith, his joy for life, his laughter and commitment to whatever you were working on together.
I knew no better human being and will do my best to live up to being the person he believed me to be.
Dear Celley Family, I am so sorry for your loss. Like several others here, I knew Scott from a monthly management forum, where he was always brimming with positivity, perspective, and kindness. You are in my thoughts and prayers—may his memory and the stories of a well-lived life that touched so many people bring you comfort.
Celley Family- My sincere condolences!
I was so very sorry to hear of Scott’s passing.
What an incredible man!
He cared so deeply for others!
Scott will be missed by so many!
Sending thoughts and prayers!
Pam & Family,
Scott’s loss will be felt for years to come in the Loeffler household and in the hallways of Caliber. Simply put we all love Scott.
Scott made an impact on my life both personally and professionally. We met nearly a decade ago and found we had a serendipitous connection through his prior work with my mom and her non-profit. He taught me a great deal about how the world works and, most importantly, how to be a great human being.
Anyone who had the opportunity to work or interact with Scott knew he had an infectious attitude. I will never forget his smile and his determination to find a path forward. Even when he called to tell me the news, he was worried about everyone but himself. His natural selflessness and habit of putting others needs above his own is something I will probably spend the rest of my life trying to imitate.
Rest in peace in heaven Scott, lots of love from the entire Caliber team and the entire Loeffler family.
Love – Chris, Abbie, Elsie and Lennon
A smile that made your day brighter.
An idea that bridged a gap or connected people.
An optimism that shone bright.
A hello that warmed your heart despite time or distance.
I am blessed to have been considered a part of Scott’s many acquaintances.
May your loss be lightened over time by the strength of his love for your family.
Thank you for sharing him with us.
My deepest condolences to Scott’s family.
Scott was a great colleague and friend. I’ll miss the infectious smile and positivity that he always exuded.
His loss has left a void in the lives he interacted with; however, his presence enriched us all.
I miss you, buddy.
What a beautiful description of a life very well lived. Soon after moving back home to the Valley, I was introduced to Scott. He was kind to meet me for lunch and tell me about the political landscape, the interesting things happening throughout our great state, and ways to get involved. I believe he connected me to a few people afterward too. What a kind, generous man who truly lived out his call: “Lord, make me a blessing to others.” To the Celley family, I’m so sorry for your loss. May the Lord comfort you.
Our prayers are with you all as we know Scott is smiling in heaven. He was such a huge supporter for local ministries and truly inspired, motivated and encouraged us all. A light for the kingdom that shined bright! Our hearts break with you … thank you for sharing him with so many. Reading these tributes shows the massive impact Scott had on so many.
MARILYN G TEPLITZ
I am only now able to send my sincere condolences. Scott and I worked together at TriWest. His contributions were were many and significant.
I send you all light and love. My wishes are that soon you can find some peace in your hearts as you mourn his loss. He is always with you.
I had the privilege and the pleasure of working with Scott during his time with AZ Impact. I appreciated his kindness and encouragement as we talked about AZ Impact and all things non-profit and fundraising. He was so obviously and so clearly a man devoted to God, his wife, his daughters, their spouses and his grandchild. The joy from within just spilled out in conversation. I was so sad to hear of his illness and subsequent death – so fast, too soon. He will be sorely missed, of that I am certain. And I will always be thankful I had, though short, time with him and for the gift of meeting him. Giving thanks for his ‘linked-in” life and his connectedness to so many, especially to the One who I am sure met him with a resounding, “Well done, my good and faithful servant!”