SCOTT—John Spencer Scott passed away April 9, 2021

SCOTT—Sadly, John Spencer Scott passed away April 9, 2021, at home, surrounded by his family. 

He really didn’t want to go.

While he had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer for almost a year, he continued with his normal activities, dining with friends and mowing his lawn right up until the end.

John was born Oct. 15, 1941, in Eldora, Iowa to Maxwell Joseph Scott and Ruth Helen Spencer Scott.  His family included his sister, Victoria, and twin brothers Jim and Jeff. 

His father was employed as a District Operating Manager of Iowa Electric Company and the family moved often as he was promoted. Consequently, John led a Huck Finn sort of childhood, fishing and exploring the rivers and streams throughout Iowa and developing a life-long appreciation of nature.

John attended St. Mary’s Catholic School in Marshalltown, Iowa, where he played football and became an Eagle Scout. 

He attended University of Iowa, graduating with a BA degree and later obtained an MBA from Drake University. Upon graduation from Iowa, John joined the recently formed Peace Corp and was in its second class.  He was sent to Colombia, SA, where he worked on community development projects in very rural areas. He was in Colombia when John F. Kennedy was shot and remembered how stunned and shocked the villagers were that this could happen in the United States.

Upon returning to the U.S., John joined General Electric Corp. and married Diane Glaser. They had two wonderful children, Karen Scott Lowthian and Jeffrey Scott. They later divorced and, in 1981, John was offered a position as General Manager of Irvington-Moore, Inc. in Portland, Ore. He later started his own company, designing and building projects for the wood products and recycling industries.

In Portland, he was introduced to mountain climbing. He joined the Mazama Mountaineering Club and eventually climbed all 16 Cascade Peaks from Mt. Shasta to Mt. Baker and became a climb leader for the club. 

He had an adventurous spirit which led him to crew on a friend’s sailboat, sailing from Mexico to Tahiti and he made many kayaking trips to the Sea of Cortez in Baja and to El Salvador and Costa Rica. 

John remarried and, in 2000, he and his wife Pat Riley moved from Portland to Florence. This was also done in the spirit of adventure and it was in Florence that John found the opportunity to be involved in his community; an opportunity that had not been available to him before due to his extensive traveling.

He began by serving on the Port of Siuslaw Budget Committee and then ran — and was elected — to a  commissioner seat on the Port Board. He was elected to the Dune City Council and also served many years as a Director and President of the Siuslaw Fire and Rescue District Board. 

He was also on the Board of the Western Lane Community Foundation and served as a Director of the Florence Urban Renewal Agency (FURA). 

John joined Rotary soon after coming to Florence and was a Paul Harris Fellow. He also started a new career by joining the Coldwell Banker Real Estate Group, retiring from there in 2012. 

John knew a great deal about ducks, birds and wildlife. He loved living on Stilcoos Lake in what he felt was a nature preserve. He also loved rafting on the Rogue, in Hells Canyon and on the Owyhee with his friends.  He loved Elk Camp and also making annual trips to the Malheur Wildlife Refuge, bird watching. 

He was a member of the Siuslaw Rod and Gun Club and Ocean Dunes Golf Course where, in 2015, he shot a hole in one.  In 2016, he and Pat represented the Rotary Club in Belen de Urcos, Peru, on the upper Amazon, accepting the villager’s thanks for a clean water project the Florence Rotary Club had helped sponsor. 

John is survived by his wife, Pat Riley; his children: Karen and Jeff and their spouses, Josh Lowthian and Anne Scott; as well as grandsons: Gus Lowthian, Max Lowthian, Ethan Scott and Spencer Scott, all of Portland.  He is also survived by his sister, Victoria Scott; brothers Jim and Jeff Scott and their children; and finally, by his beloved dog, Jake.

John and his father, Max, were both polio survivors. Any remembrances in his name could be made to The Rotary Foundation for Polio Plus or to the MacKenzie River Trust to aid in their conservation projects.

A memorial kayak paddle will be held this summer at Stilcoos Lake. 

Burns’s Riverside Chapel Florence Funeral Home was in charge of arrangements.


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