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.