The Life and Times of Michael C. McGoodwin
My Younger Brother Scott Duncan McGoodwin (1950 – 2012)

 

Tina, Tracy with James, and Scott, Christmas 1989
Tina, Tracy, James, and Scott in Colorado, Christmas 1989 (photo by Russ)


Introduction

My dear younger brother, Scott Duncan McGoodwin, died on November 16, 2012, after a courageous struggle with abdominal cancer.  He was much too young at the time of his death, only 62 1/2.  His lifespan was a little shorter than his father's nearly 64 years.  

I wish to describe and honor Scott's life and achievements with this webpage remembrance. However, this is an abbreviated version of a more detailed summary.  For reasons of respect, harmony, and non-intrusiveness, I have focused here on positive aspects of his life and have deliberately omitted or truncated mention of conflicts and hostilities that arose.

The sources on which this webpage is based include my own materials—photos, trip logs, letters, and conversations.  But I have also used notes from interviews I made with our parents, whom I call Jim and Tina here: jointly in the late 1970's, and solely with my mother in 1998, well after my father's death in 1980.  In addition, after Scott reviewed drafts that I sent him of a private family history and of my memoirs, he was willing to provide additional details and clarifications through phone interviews and correspondence (mostly in 1999).  Russ, who saw Scott much more frequently than I did after 1969, has reviewed the full version of this webpage and has offered numerous thoughtful comments, some of which are included in this limited version [highlighted in this color], and for which I express my sincere appreciation and gratitude. Scott's family published obituaries here and here.

To provide helpful points of reference, I have mentioned briefly some of the important events occurring in the lives of his parents and brothers.  Many of the family events during his childhood are recounted elsewhere in the descriptions of my own childhood years and those of our parents, and I am repeating such recollections on this page only where essential to assure a coherent narrative.  I have tried to convey the affectionate, loving, and compassionate feelings I had for him, and to be fair, judicious, and positive in what I have included.  In respect for their privacy, I will mention only a little specifically about his wife Tracy and children James and Kate. 

We lived far apart after I moved away in 1969, and I saw Scott for only brief in-person visits thereafter, so I readily acknowledge that I have somewhat limited knowledge or even ignorance of many important aspects of Scott's recreational, cultural, professional, and family life.  Comments, amplifications, corrections, reflections, anecdotes, and feedback from his close family members and others who knew him well would always be welcome and will be given careful consideration.

Initials of person names used with photos shown here include: JRM = James Russell McGoodwin, MCM = Michael McGoodwin, SDM = Scott McGoodwin, JVM = James V. McGoodwin (our father), TWM = Tina Wait McGoodwin (our mother), JRW = John Russell Wait, Sr. (Tina's father), RCM = Rebecca McGoodwin, WLM =  Wendy McGoodwin, CRM = Christie McGoodwin Cheung.  Thumbnails in many cases are cropped versions of the full photo to which the thumbnail links.

 

Childhood (1950 – 1965)

SDM 1950 at c. 3 mo
Scott at c. 3 mo.
1950
JRW Sr., JRM, TWM, Scott, July 1951 at first San Antonio home, photo by J. R. Wait Sr. (JRW)
JRW Sr., JRM, TWM, Scott at our first San Antonio home
July 1951 (collage)
(photos by J. R. Wait Sr., JRW)
MCM, TWM, SDM, JRM in San Antonio c. 1952
MCM, TWM, Scott, JRM in San Antonio c. 1952,
(photo by JRW)
MCM TWM JVM Scott JRM in c. 1953 in Bellaire TX at Tina's parents home
MCM TWM JVM Scott JRM in Bellaire TX at Tina's parents' home,
c. 1953
(photo by JRW)
Scott in 1954 with parents and grandmother (photo by JRW)
Scott with TWM, JVM, and
Tina's mother Kathryn Wait
c. 1954
(photo by JRW)
JVM, MCM, JRM, TWM, Scott Bellaire TX at Tina's parents home c. 1954 (photo by JRW)
JVM, MCM, JRM, TWM, Scott
Bellaire TX at Tina's parents' home
c. 1954
(photo by JRW)
Scott in 1954 with our poodle puppies and on horseback
Scott with our
poodle puppies
and on horseback
1954 (collage)
Scott in August 1954 with his family
Scott with his family
in Gallup NM
August 1954
(prof. photo)
  Scott San Antonio June 1956 (photo by Studer's)
Scott
San Antonio
June 1956
(photo by Studer's)
Scott in 1956 with his family, JRW and wife, and aunts at JRW home
Scott with his family,
JRW and wife, and aunts at JRW home
Oct. 1956
(photo by JRW)
Scott in c. 1957 in Yellowstone NP with family (photo by MCM)
Scott in Yellowstone NP with his family
c. 1957
(photo by MCM)
MCM, JRM, Scott, JVM, TWM Port Aransas & Freeport TX, 1958
MCM, JRM, Scott,
JVM, TWM at
Pt. Aransas & Freeport Texas 1958
JRM, JVM, MCM, Scott w Tar Baby at our San Antonio home c. 1959
JRM, JVM, MCM, Scott w Tar Baby
San Antonio home
c. 1959
(photo by C. Caslier)
JRM, JVM, MCM, Scott at our San Antonio home c. 1959 (photo by C. Caslier)
JRM, JVM, MCM, Scott
San Antonio home
c. 1959
(photo by C. Caslier)
Scott w fawn, JVM, associates Magic Mountain Golden CO c. 1959 (prof. photo)
Scott w fawn, JVM, his associates at Magic Mountain Golden CO
c. 1959
(prof. photo)

Scott was born May 20, 1950 in San Antonio Texas, weighing a healthy 6 lb. 7 oz. despite being a month premature.  My older brother Russ, born in 1941, was about 8 1/2 years older, and I was about 6 1/3 years older than Scott.  His middle name derived from the friendship my parents had with Duncan Renaldo, the actor who portrayed a heroic caballero, the "Cisco Kid."  As a child, we called him by the affectionate nickname "Scottie".  Our mother told me, "He was beautiful, a darling boy, and deserved a 'fresh' mother." 

Russ recalls the song she made up for use while changing him (and I can still hear her singing this ditty): "Dat amo baby / Have em ‘o cold feet / Yessum ‘o baby do."  Our mother regretted that she was rather preoccupied with her own personal issues during Scott's childhood.  Our father's mother Catherine, whom we called MaMaw, lovingly helped in caring for Scott and his brothers, especially when Tina was unavailable or out of town, and she accompanied us on a few of our vacation trips.

In early 1954, our family moved into a large two-story older but roomy home in San Antonio, where we lived until 1963.  My mother found it, fell in love with it, and talked my father into buying it.  As she later recounted, she had a lot of fun fixing it up, while Scott looked on in fascination (perhaps anticipating his future interest in home remodeling and building). 

By 1952, our family began making summer vacation trips to Colorado.  Tina recalled that it was challenging to manage children of such differing ages and schedules for meals and sleep, etc.  In 1954, we took a Christmas winter trip to the Carbondale area, between Aspen and Glenwood Springs, which Scott enjoyed.  (The nearby region of Eagle in Colorado proved to be where Scott would eventually choose to settle down in 1977, see below.)  

In 1955, we summered in Anaheim California while our father Jim worked with the general manager of Disneyland (C. V. Wood).  Scott was thrilled to meet Walt Disney, who invited us to visit him in his office.  According to Tina's warm recollection, the adoring five year old gushed, "Oh, Mr. Disneyland!" 

In 1955 we hired a maid, Inez Davis—for several years, she was very helpful and loving in the care and feeding of Scott and his brothers.  Our mother began graduate work in 1956 and was quite busy with this and other activities including part time teaching.  In 1956 Scott entered first grade at Cambridge Elementary School, at which time Russ was a sophomore and Mike was in 8th grade.  Scott commented years later that, because his brothers were so much older than him, it seemed as if he had grown up in a different family. 

Russ recalls his childhood relationship with Scott (and Mike):

"... When I was in my teens, in high school, I think he sometimes looked up to me and admired me.  At least that's what Mom said.  She told me a couple of times back then that I was 'his hero', especially because I hunted and fished and drove a car.  When I was in high school I once took him with me dove hunting on the outskirts of San Antonio, and also once took him fishing.  Later in his life he seemed to fondly remember these outings as very positive experiences between us, even though I don't think they happened more than once or twice..." 

Animals and Sports: Scott showed an early and enduring love of animals.  He loved the French toy poodle 'Polly' that we were given in the early 1950s (over my father's objections), and helped in raising her.  Russ assisted in the delivery of some of her 4 litters totaling 17 puppies, and I seem to recall that Scott also attended some of these deliveries.  He was also very kind and tender with our two black Labrador retrievers Tar Baby and Tar Too, which we owned in succession. 

We have a photo of Scott on horseback when he is only 4 years old.  By fourth grade, he loved farms, ranches, and horseback riding.  He was learning to ride horses in the Trinity Tigers (not the Trinity University sports teams, but a day school offering sports and horseback riding). 

In August 1958, when Scott was 8 years old, he, Tina, and Jim resided in Denver while Jim worked on development of the theme park, Magic Mountain.  This theme park recreated the Old West of the year 1858.  (It was built in 1957–1959, opened in 1959, and collapsed financially in 1960, eventually being sold and becoming only partly resurrected in the early 1970's as Heritage Square.)  Scott worked or played, as an 8 or 9 year old, in the barns, riding horses and the stage coach while Magic Mountain was still under construction.  He worked with Charles "Bud" Dillner, the wrangler in charge of the livestock, horses, carriages and covered wagons.  According to Tina, Scott loved Bud Dillner and enjoyed the cowboy life.  Russ recalls the summer of 1959, "when I worked as a common laborer at Magic Mountain.  I was then age 17 [and Scott was 9].  He and another boy would ride burros bareback all over the mountain behind the Magic Mountain development site.  I think this is where his prowess in riding really began." 

At some point, our father secured for Scott a pinto horse of his own named "Paint."  According to Russ, "he often rode it bareback, with nothing more than a bridle."  As far as I know, he was not otherwise especially athletic in his youth until he took up surfing in high school and canoeing, kayaking, and a variety of mountain sports as an adult.

He was entering fifth grade when I went 200 miles away to college in 1961.  Scott was confirmed in the Episcopal church in 1962, when he was 12—Tina had remained active in the Episcopal church during this period, sang in the choir, and tried to ensure that Scott had a good Christian upbringing.  

In 1962, our father Jim experienced a major downturn in his career as a result of the untimely death (in a small plane crash while hunting) of his employer, colleague, and close friend, Tom Slick.  After this, he struggled to find satisfactory work. The family found itself under increasing strain, culminating in July 1963 with the precipitous sale of our home...  This turmoil and instability heavily impacted Scott...  But it was not all unhappiness: our family for instance took a much needed and very enjoyable driving trip to Mexico City, Cuernevaca, and Taxco during Christmas 1963.

Russ recalls, "[Scott] was the sort of kid who was very curious about how things worked, and sometimes disassembled his toys (even some just received at Christmas) and then reassembled them out of curiosity of this sort."

In the mid 1960s, the Jim's employment and our home life (in Houston and San Antonio) were rather unstable, and Scott often found himself home alone for prolonged periods.  In July 1965, Russ married Laura Anne Moore and soon shipped out for a year's tour of Army duty in Vietnam, returning in July 1966.  Tina was attending graduate school, working toward a master's degree in Education.

 

High School and Final Texas Years (1965 – c. 1974)

SDM and JRM c. summer 1965 in Houston, by MCM
Scott with Russ
in Houston
c. summer 1965
(photo by MCM)

 Scott in 1969 with his mother (photo by MCM)
Scott with his mother
June 1969
(photo by MCM)
Scott in 1969 with his parents, MCM and Becky, and a family friend (photo by MCM)
Scott with his parents,
Mike and Becky,
and a family friend
June 1969
(photo by MCM)
Scott & Mike in canoe on Guadalupe River near San Antonio TX Dec. 1972 (photo by MCM)
Scott & Mike in canoe on Guadalupe River near San Antonio TX Dec. 1972
(photo by MCM)
WLM, RCM, Scott, San Antonio TX Dec. 1972 (photo by MCM)
WLM, RCM, Scott, San Antonio TX
Dec. 1972
(photo by MCM)

In fall 1965, Scott entered his freshman year at Robert E. Lee High School in Houston, the year in which I began medical school also in Houston.  He served as a very handsome groomsman in August 1966 when Rebecca and I married in Katy Texas.  Our parents finalized their divorce in 1967, and Russ and Laura Anne were divorced in late 1968 or early 1969. 

Scott was a high school senior in 1968–1969.  During this school year, he came into conflict with his vice principal, and this led to his suspension as he neared graduation.  Scott later explained to me that he had a problem accepting authority figures, and Russ recalls,

"He often joked with me about his difficulty with 'authority figures'.  One of his favorite anecdotes, which we often laughed about together, was from Woody Allen's film, Annie Hall, when Woody's character goes out to California to try to reunite with Annie and is driving a rented car—very badly, colliding with other cars.  [This scene can be found on YouTube.]  A cop confronts him and asks to see his driver's license.  Woody tells the cop not to talk to him that way because he has 'a terrific problem with authority', and when the cop demands to see his driver's license Woody tears it up into small pieces.  Scott and I reminisced about this scene several times over the years.  It was something he much loved and I think it speaks to his aversion to authority—something he readily admitted to—and in this instance with good humor."

By the fall of 1969, he had accumulated 23 high school credits, which should have been sufficient for high school graduation, but he encountered an obstacle, and decided instead to earn his GED certification at the University of Houston, which he accomplished. 

Afterwards, he attended San Jacinto Community College in Houston for about a year, taking several freshman level classes including sociology and geology, as well as psychology.

Scott developed considerable skill and craftsmanship in woodworking, beginning in high school, and expanded and refined these and carpentry skills throughout his adult life.  Russ adds, "In his adult life he wouldn't hesitate to tear down a car engine or transmission that wasn't working right, confident he'd figure it out, preferring to do it himself to make sure it was done right, rather than taking it to a mechanic."

Scott moved to Austin for a short time in about 1970, then back to San Antonio with his girlfriend Donna H. (whom we all liked).  There, he took a few more courses at San Antonio Junior College.  This was the year in which Tina earned her master's degree in Education.  In June 1969, I graduated from medical school and moved away from Texas (first to Denver, subsequently to Anchorage in 1970, and Seattle in 1972), and had my first child Wendy in 1971.  Up to 2001, I tried to return for family visits in Texas at least once a year, as I did in 1970.  I apparently missed Scott on my 1970 trip, but we next met up with him in San Antonio in March 1972, December 1972, and December 1973. 

In about 1971, he began a promising job at the Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) in San Antonio, a position that his father helped arrange as an entry level industrial/scientific photographer.  He became a very accomplished photographer while performing this and subsequent jobs.  He liked the technology at SwRI and regarded the work as interesting and challenging—among other things they were doing crash tests.  However, he was dissatisfied with the military flavor of the institution.  He had this SwRI job for about a year, and fortunately he was not drafted.

In c. 1971, our parents drove with Scott to Teacapán Mexico to visit with Russ, who was doing anthropological research toward his PhD, and Scott enjoyed this trip. 

According to Scott, in c. 1972 he learned from Russ of an available position with the Texas State Historical Society.  (Russ had more frequent contact than I did with our brother after 1969, and like me he had very protective and supportive feelings about Scott.)  Scott interviewed for this position and was accepted, and he and Donna moved back to Austin.  He was described in a 1974 letter by our father as being "in charge of the photographic laboratory for the Anthropology and Historical Survey Commission of the State of Texas."  He served as a photographer of historical sites for publications, and was also involved with restoration of historical photographs, including one of Geronimo.  He apparently stayed with this job for about 2 years. 

Russ states, "During the years that we both lived in Austin at the same time we often got together to hang out, and after Scott moved to a more spacious rental he let me take over his tiny above-garage apartment, which was my last residence in Austin before moving to Boulder in summer, 1973."

While living again in Austin for the period between c. 1972 and 1974, he also did additional college course work, in logic, philosophy, and English.  Combining all of his community college and university college work, Scott told me (in 1999) that he completed the equivalent of about 2 years of college. He found some of these courses satisfying (particularly psychology), some less likable (such as sociology), and some quite hard (for example, logic)...

On Scott's education, Russ comments:

"Later in his life, when I suggested he could always return to college, that I had many 'non traditional' students who had returned when older, after their kids were grown, he told me he didn't think he had gotten much out of the college courses he had taken.  At the same time, I thought he was somewhat of an autodidact who had obviously and independently read various works of philosophy, psychology, literature, poetry, etc.  For example, he once paraphrased Shylock's famous question in Shakespeare's Merchant of Venice, 'If you prick us, do we not bleed?'  And late in Mom's life he gave her a book of poems collected by Garrison Keillor, and told me he liked many of the poems in that book... "

Scott became an accomplished canoeist.  He and I made a short but very satisfying trip down the Guadalupe River in his Grumman aluminum canoe during my Texas visit in December 1972 (see photo above).  This was one of my all too rare opportunities to enjoy outdoor recreation with Scott as an adult.  Tina fondly recalled a similar canoe trip c. summer 1971 that she made with Scott, also on the Guadalupe River.  With him in back and Tina in front, he instructed her in the four strokes of canoeing, one of her nicest experiences.  I saw him next in Texas in December 1973.

Russ recounts from those days this adventure, which he has titled The Giant Anaconda and The Day Russ Lost It:

"One summer day, sometime during the time we both lived in Austin [before 1974], Scott and I decided to rent some scuba gear and try it out.  What happened next is something Scott often brought up whenever we got together—something he never forgot and loved to recall with me, even up to recent years.  Here the joke is on me, and it is funny.  Neither of us had any training or experience with scuba gear, and to go scuba diving without it was a very dangerous thing to do.  But, we were young and foolish.  We rented the equipment at a dive shop in northwest Austin somewhere along the road to Lake Travis—regulator and tank, weighted belt, swim fins, masks.  Then we drove out to Lake Travis to a cove known as 'Hippie Hollow', which is now in Hippie Hollow State Park.  Back then it was just a place where the lake shore was close to a paved road, and where 'hippies' climbed over a barbwire fence and walked in their swim suits and shower flaps through the rocks and cactus to the lake shore...  Reaching Hippie Hollow, Scott and I strapped on the scuba gear and dove to the bottom of the lake in about 20 feet of water.  Down that deep the water was cloudy, the sunlight subdued, and there was a thick coat of yellow-beige silt on all the sticks and tree limbs that were on the lake bottom.  Presumably these trees had long ago been flooded when the lake had been filled.  And now, 20 feet down, everything was the same yellow-beige hue…water, limbs, light.  We had initially planned to go all the way across the lake on its bottom, and to look for fishing lures that had broken off after being snagged on these submerged trees along the way.  But we didn't find any lures in the shallower water and decided against going across the lake bottom. 

Soon we concluded that exploring the bottom of the lake was pretty boring, with nothing to see but the silt-covered tree limbs, so we decided to try someplace else.  We drove down to San Marcos to dive near the head of the San Marcos Springs in a recreational area renowned for having water with unparalleled clarity.  We arrived at the shore of the San Marcos river, about 75 yards downstream from a popular amusement park called 'Aquarena Springs', which had glass bottom boats and a submergible room that would take visitors under water to view the spectacular under water scenes.  There was a sign near where we got in the water that said 'no swimming/diving' but nobody was around so we decided to get in there anyway.  We ... donned our scuba gear, got in the water, and began to swim upstream, against the steady current emanating from the head of the spring that was in the Aquarena. 

The depth was only about 6 - 8 feet, the water was bracingly cold, and it was gorgeous under water.  The brightly sunlit water was crystal clear, some minnows and sun perch flitted about here and there, and the bottom had a thick blanket of aquatic plants whose very lengthy fronds waved about in the current.  I was in the lead with Scott close behind, when suddenly in the waving grass up ahead I thought I saw a huge long snake, like a giant anaconda—20 to 30 feet long!  Immediately I turned around and, kicking my swim fins furiously and hurtling downstream with the current, I passed Scott, who said as I came streaking by he could see my eyes in my swim mask bulged way out, and that I was clearly terrified.  And figuring I was terrified, although he had no idea why, Scott turned back and followed me back down the river.  And for the rest of our lives he sometimes brought up this outing we had together, joking with me, always referring to it as the time I lost it in the San Marcos river that day."

Interest in Music and Poetry: Russ describes Scott's musical and poetic interests:

"I was impressed with his musical grasp when he was older, especially during his early years living in Colorado ... near Gypsum, back when we were still getting together fairly often...  He seemed quite interested and familiar with the pop music of that time, and showed broader interests in it than I had.  (My own range of pop music interests back then were much narrower and less focused on the lyrical, and instead were more often limited to hard rock and blues-rock...)  He turned my attention for the first time to such popular groups and artists as The Eagles, Fleetwood Mac, The Moody Blues, Bad Company, and Neil Young and band—all extremely popular bands in their day (mid to late 1960s and 1970s).  And not only did he have these musical interests, he could accurately hum along with various tunes and accurately sing along with the lyrics of many of them, something I'm not good at, not being good at memorization.  And this all suggests to me that he inherited the same musical genes from Mom's side of our family that you and I did.  He seemed to know a lot and have a thriving interest in these aspects of popular culture... 

I recall he was especially fond of and knew the lyrics to two very popular tunes [available on YouTube], both of which expressed his love for our dad.  One was Neil Young's 'Old Man'.  The lyrics include: 'Old man look at my life / I'm a lot like you were.../ I need someone to love me / The whole day through...'  The other much liked popular tune was by Harry Chapin, 'Cats in the Cradle', which also expressed his love and nostalgia about Dad's frequent absences while he was growing up...  It is similarly poignant for me as well, whenever I reminisce about Dad."   The lyrics begin, "My child arrived just the other day / He came to the world in the usual way / But there were planes to catch and bills to pay / He learned to walk while I was away / And he was talkin' 'fore I knew it, and as he grew / He'd say 'I'm gonna be like you, Dad / You know I'm gonna be like you'.  And while Scott's range of interest in the popular music of the 1960s and 1970s was broader than mine, and more focused on the lyrical and the ballads, he nevertheless sometimes mentioned the very popular blues-rock band, ZZ Top, whose debut album in the early 1970s made them an instant phenomenon.  ZZ Top was formed in Houston in the late 1960s and Scott said he had been acquainted with some of the band members, having attended the same high school with them in Houston. 

He also introduced me to some of Woody Allen's earlier films, before I had any interest in Allen, pointing out the man's comic genius to me.  And he later introduced me to the merits of Garrison Keillor's Prairie Home Companion radio show.  Years later, while Mom was in Park Place in Denver, he gave her [as mentioned above] a book of Keillor's favorite poems and pointed out to me several poems in that book that were favorites of his own."

Scott and I sadly were not very close during his childhood, especially during his adolescent years, though I believe I always had decent, friendly, and supportive relations with him.  I tried to be kind to him growing up, and tried to share with him what appealed to me and to take an interest in what he was involved with (though I had little affinity for horses).  In my 20's, I often wondered if I should have done more to engage and nurture him during these turbulent formative years.  But there were many obstacles: we shared few interests, our home life was dysfunctional, we were often physically apart, and we were widely separated in age and personality.  Beginning at least by the early 1970's, by which time I had children of my own, I resolved to make a much more concerted effort to connect better with him, to nurture and encourage him, and to provide a generous helping hand and tangible support where possible...  I had limited success with these goals until he had a growing family and built his own house in the 1990's.

 

Early Adult Life in Colorado (c. 1974 – 1989)

Scott w Wendy at Tina's home in San Antonio, Dec. 1973 (photo by MCM)
Scott w Wendy at Tina's home in San Antonio,
Dec. 1973
(photo by MCM)
Scott with parents, Wendy, and Becky in Tina's home in San Antonio Dec. 1973 (photo by MCM)
Scott with parents, Wendy, and Becky in Tina's home in San Antonio, Dec. 1973 (photo by MCM)
Scott w Donna Hudson in Russ's home in Boulder CO c. 6/9/1975 (photo by MCM)
Scott w Donna H.
Russ's home Boulder CO
June 1975
(photo by MCM)
MCM, Scott, JRM, TWM, Donna ?Hudson, JVM, in Russ's home in Boulder CO c. 6/9/1975 (photo by MCM)
MCM, Scott, JRM, TWM, Donna H., JVM, in Russ's home in Boulder CO
June 1975
(photo by MCM)
Scott, JRM at Scott's mountain cabin 'The Oasis' near Boulder CO, Oct. 1977 (photo by MCM) 
Scott, JRM at Scott's mountain cabin "The Oasis" near Boulder CO Oct. 1977
(photo by MCM)
Scott, JRM, CRM, RCM, WLM, Russ's friend Nicole, at Russ's home in Boulder CO, Oct. 1977 (photo by MCM)
Scott, JRM, CRM, RCM, WLM, Russ's friend Nicole, at Russ's home in Boulder CO Oct. 1977 (photo by MCM)
Montage of Scott, RCM, JRM, WLM, TWM, CRM, JVM, MCM at Witte Museum in San Antonio Dec. 1979 & Feb. 1980, (photos by MCM)
Scott, RCM, JRM, WLM, TWM, CRM, JVM, MCM at Witte Museum in San Antonio, montage of
Dec. 1979 & Feb. 1980,
(photos by MCM)
Bill Ehlers, Jack Wait, Kathryn R. Wait ('Sis') Ehlers, MCM, TWM, WLM, CRM, JRM, Aline Wait, SDM, Bill McGoodwin in San Antonio after JVM death Feb. 1980
Bill & Sis Ehlers, Jack & Aline Wait, MCM, TWM, WLM, CRM, JRM, SDM, Bill McGoodwin after JVM death, San Antonio, Feb. 1980
(photo by MCM)
RCM, Scott near Maroon Bells CO 6/1984, by MCM
RCM, Scott near Maroon Bells CO June 1984
(photo by MCM)
Tracy Cameron, TWM, SDM, RCM in Cottonwood Creek CO area, 7/1985 (photo by MCM)
Tracy Cameron, TWM, SDM, RCM near Cottonwood Creek CO
July 1985
(photo by MCM)
JRM Scott TWM CRM MCM RCM WLM by Rainbow Lake CO July 1985 (photo by MCM)
JRM Scott TWM CRM MCM RCM WLM, Rainbow Lake CO
July 1985
(photo by MCM)
Tracy Cameron, MCM, TWM, CRM, RCM, Scott, WLM at Rainbow Lake CO July 1985 (photo by MCM)
Tracy Cameron, MCM, TWM, CRM, RCM, Scott, WLM
Rainbow Lake CO
July 1985
(photo by MCM)
 Scott & Tracy near Cottonwood Pass CO June 1988 (photo by MCM)
Scott & Tracy near Cottonwood Pass CO June 1988
(photo by MCM)

At the end of summer 1973 after earning his PhD in anthropology from the University of Texas, Russ moved to Boulder Colorado to take a position at the University of Colorado.  I was in my radiology residency in Seattle.

Initial Colorado Move and Career: Scott moved to Colorado with Donna about a year later, in fall 1974.  Russ had gotten to know James J. "Jim" Hester PhD, who was an archaeologist and professor at the University of Colorado.  Russ states, "Hester was the first member of the anthropology faculty to extend friendship to me after I came to CU, and soon was also a friend to Scott, and he remains a good friend of mine to this day."  He was now the State Archaeologist and needed a photographer, and Russ—again playing a very supportive and helpful role—alerted Scott about that position.  Scott interviewed with Hester and was hired on the spot.  He developed a photo lab for Jim Hester and helped to document excavations and archaeological artifacts photographically.  This position lasted about a year, until "Hester resigned as State Archaeologist after the state refused to let him expand that office and its budget." 

Scott also did archaeological surveying field work in relation to this or his first Colorado job.  Russ notes, "...In this work he worked with Mary, who became his girlfriend.  Much of the work was on the Western Slope in the vicinity of I-70 (Interstate 70).  With completion of the Eisenhower Tunnel in 1973, the Western Slope was now much more accessible from the Front Range and Denver, and there was lots of archaeological preservation and documentation work to be done along that corridor, for example, around Vail Pass, where I think Scott worked with Mary." 

In about 1975 or 1976, Scott decided to take a position with or at least associated with the Colorado State Highway department.  The federal Moss-Bennett law (titled the "Historical and Archeological Data Preservation Act of 1974") had mandated that highway and other sites undergoing excavation had to be evaluated for their archaeological value.  Scott worked to photograph these sites, perhaps also assisting with their surveying, and these materials were used in the preparation of environmental impact statements.  I understand that his photographic skills were widely recognized and respected.  Russ offers the following clarification:

"... He may have worked for the State Highway Department, but in any event Scott's work up on Vail Pass was not for Hester but was more likely a bit after Hester resigned as State Archaeologist, and what Scott did after that was what is called 'contract archaeology' or 'cultural resources management' (CRM).  Back then (and still now) there were many small firms—typically headed by someone with a BA or MA degree in Archaeology—that did this sort of work, and Scott was more likely working for a firm that was under contract with the State Highway Department...  Typically these firms hire college students and other youths who are interested in Archaeology... [F]or most of the workers it is just a fun, outdoorsy, summer job at a pay level close to minimum wage."

Russ states, "In his early years in Colorado [Scott] much loved his dog 'Señor', a mix of Plott Hound and [Alaskan] Malamute, which he said made Señor a 'Plottamute'.  He took that dog with him everywhere.  He brought Señor with him when he moved to Colorado, and they both lived with me (and my Border Collie 'Pookie') in my tiny apartment in Boulder during Scott's first 4 or 5 months in Colorado in fall of 1974.

Scott by then enjoyed several outdoor Colorado recreations, including hiking, rock-climbing, backpacking, canoeing, and white-water kayaking in the frigid Colorado streams.  I do not know how much he liked or engaged in hunting or fishing, but certainly it was not to the same extent as Russ.

Russ offers this anecdote, which he calls Skiing Behind the Car:

"After I moved to Colorado, in winter of 1973-74, you and Becky sent me some really nice wooden cross country skis.   I loved the smell of the pine tar when I applied it to those skis with a blowtorch.  The next year, during the late fall of 1974—in November or December, while Scott was living with me—we drove up to the wilderness area around Brainerd Lake, up near the Continental Divide.  We entered the area along paved roads which by then were covered with nearly a foot of snow.  No other people were around and it was beautiful up there … cold  … silent … a light snowfall coming down … the evergreen forests blanketed with snow … the jagged snowcapped peaks all around partially fog enshrouded.  We tied a long rope to the back bumper of my little car and took turns skiing behind the car as the other one drove, zooming along on those cross-country skis.  And whomever was skiing would often shout to the one who was driving, 'slow down!' … because 25 or 30 mph can seem very fast on skis.  We laughed a lot and had a great time.  It was a happy time we shared and both long remembered—two Texas boys who hadn't seen snow while growing up, now moved to and living in Colorado--and skiing behind a car!"

Scott and Donna remained together in Colorado for about 2 years before splitting up.  Eventually, Scott moved to a red caboose out of the city and later to a rustic cabin on property owned by Jim Hester and which was called "The Oasis”, located in the mountainous foothills near Boulder.  Russ states, "On a steep slope in forested mountains NW of Boulder, it had no running water and an outhouse out back.  Scott often came to my house in those days to fill up water jugs and take a shower... "  His girlfriend by then was named Mary, an attractive woman who liked weaving, and they later moved together to the Eagle/Gypsum area to a cabin he rented which he called "The Penny Place" (a property where he eventually built a home).

In the early 1970's, based on his appearance and preferences, Scott might have been fairly described as a hippie (though his appearance back then would now be considered quite unremarkable).  He wore long hair, a mustache, and eventually a bushy beard (the latter peaked in about 1980 and disappeared by 1984).  Russ expands on this:

"Scott and I were very much part of Austin's hippie subculture or 'counter culture' in the late 1960s through the early 1970s.  We wore our hair long, dressed very casually, ..., and shared many of the bohemian, 'anti-establishment', and anti-war values of the youth of that time.  Neither of us were particularly career oriented and we were mostly just living our lives day by day, immersed in that vast, and at that time very populous sub culture or 'counter culture'.   I think we were basically good guys, good people: no criminal behavior, ... no excessive drug or alcohol use, no violence, no stealing, no cheating or lying... "

He seemed to me in his early Colorado years to have become something of a "mountain man."  He lived simply, did a lot of wood cutting and splitting to keep his wood stove fired, and his muscles became strong and well developed.  He looked robust, was very trim and tanned, and always quite handsome as a young adult and beyond (and he never seemed to lack attention from the fairer sex). 

Russ adds,

"...I went with him once up the mountain behind his cabin to cut firewood for the coming winter.  He had a big pickup truck and a couple of chain saws.  His preference was to cut standing dead spruce, which he explained was fully dried out already and burned best.  It was very hard work and I only lasted half the day working with him.  I was impressed with his knowledge about chain saws and how to maintain and handle them, something I knew nothing about.  Add to this his well-known resourcefulness in fixing cars and just about anything.  Truly, he was a very individualistic, self reliant, do-it-yourself, tough sort of guy, a real 'mountain man', who often left me comparing myself to him and seeing myself as a more effete academic...  Scott also had some great stereo Hi-Fi equipment in his bedroom and a big collection of contemporary pop music...  I thought Scott was an especially handsome guy who was almost always neatly, carefully, and attractively dressed.  He had a good taste in clothes and knew what looked especially good on him...  But in every respect he was a real mountain Coloradoan."

I recall my concern that Scott's life in the mountains of Colorado seemed then somewhat hermetic, and that he was becoming more elusive and isolated from his original family members and perhaps others during this time...  But years later, Scott affirmed to me that he was just intentionally putting distance between himself and his original family members including me...  He also assured me that he had adequate friends and social life despite the rustic living conditions and the appearance of isolation.  Perhaps he was trying to decide who he really was and what he wanted to do with his life...  Despite my efforts and desires to the contrary, my contact with Scott decreased substantially during the 1970's and early 1980's. 

Returning from Pittsburgh, I stopped by Colorado to visit with him and Russ in June 1975.  My family again visited in Colorado on our way to Texas in October 1977, seeing Russ and Scott in Boulder and at "The Oasis." 

In November 1979, my divorced parents, by then both living in San Antonio, were reunited in a San Antonio condominium.  However, my father unexpectedly died in January 1980.  Scott attended his funeral in Texas in February 1980, as did the rest of us.  Our father left only a modest and disappointing estate. 

My next visits to see Scott in Colorado were in 1984, 1985, and 1988—by which time he and Tracy L. Cameron had become a couple. Over the years, I wished I could see Scott more often. However, he did not feel it was feasible to come to visit us in Seattle...

Move to Eagle/Gypsum: According to Scott, the state of Colorado eventually concluded that they did not actually need much photographic documentation for their projects, and decided to phase out his position.  Scott therefore decided in 1977 to move to Eagle County, Colorado (which as of 2012 comprises 1% of Colorado's population).  The town of Eagle is the county seat of Eagle County, is 135 miles west of Denver on Interstate 70, and is 30 miles west of Vail (also in Eagle County, as are Gypsum and Edwards).  He again chose to live initially in a rustic rural cabin, located between Eagle and Gypsum, near the regional airport.  This cabin, which he called the Penny Place (possibly named by a former resident), was a fortuitous choice, for he and Tracy eventually and astutely bought the land on which it sat, and later built a fine house on it.  (His cabin, rented out for a while, would eventually be torn down.)

In an anecdote he titles Russ hunts mule deer from the Penny Place—and the Ashley stove, Russ recalls life at that rustic cabin:

"I also remember a mule deer hunt when I went over to stay in Scott's cabin, the Penny Place.  He had himself installed a cast iron Ashley Wood Stove to heat the cabin (James says they still have it)—the cabin's only heat source—and I slept on the floor in my sleeping bag.  And occasionally Scott re-fueled that stove with wood he had cut, up on Hardscrabble Mountain south of his cabin.  I'd get up in the predawn darkness and wander those arid piñon and juniper ("P.J.") blanketed foothills with my rifle.  That part of the world seemed wilder then and was much less populous and developed than it is now.  And now whenever I revisit their home, I always look out at those same P.J. foothills and remember that hunt.  I didn't get a deer, but for a few days I was in the surroundings and in the cabin that Scott lived in, and I still fondly remember this as something we shared as younger men.  His very old cabin was literally rotting away and sinking into the ground, the floors all wavy and uneven, with packrats making occasional incursions.  And there was a deep gulch along the dirt road that was east of the cabin, which when it rained got muddy and trapped every hunter's vehicle that tried to traverse it—much to Scott's chagrin when the stuck hunters knocked on his door and asked for help to pull their vehicle out of that gulch."

Early Career in Construction, etc.: After moving to Eagle, he began a career in building and construction, working at times as a carpenter, finish carpenter, general contractor, and eventually as a project manager.  Without much formal training or formal apprenticeship, he acquired a remarkably diverse range of construction, mechanical, electrical, and plumbing skills, etc.  (He also worked often and skillfully on his own cars.)  To my knowledge he did not acquire any formal tradesman-type certifications that might have improved his employability.  However, there was surely very little about houses that he did not become an expert in, and I sometimes consulted with him on house issues of my own, always getting good if blunt advice (as did Russ).  In 1988, Scott rebuilt the back porch of Russ's Boulder home, a project that Russ says has endured better and is more plumb than any other part of his vintage house. 

Russ recalls this time of renovation:

"He lived with me that summer and reunited with Tracy during that summer.  I think Tracy was living and working in Denver at that time, and she often came over and visited us...  It was an often uneasy time while he lived with me that summer...  [However,] there were also some good notes that summer.  For instance, in the morning before he began work, we would have a 'shoot off' with our BB guns in my living room and dining room, to decide who would be what he termed the 'Dweeb of the Day'.  Lying prone in the living room, we'd shoot at targets at the back of the dining room which were taped to a stack of old telephone books as backstop.  In this we were jovially friendly and competitive  and the every-morning competition was often decided by 3-shot groups as small as a dime.  And in the late afternoons, after he had put his tools away, showered, and changed to clean clothes, we would get on our mountain bicycles and zoom all over Boulder at high speeds, almost recklessly, often zooming several miles to the east side of Boulder's city limits...  Those morning shoot offs with BB guns ... and the wild bike rides we took after the work day had ended remain some of my happiest memories of times with Scott."

He worked up and down the Eagle Valley including Beaver Creek (near Avon), riding for at least a few years on the crest of a surge of upper-end resort home construction. He soon acquired a reputation for being one of the finest, most skilled, and most knowledgeable craftsmen in the region, and was much sought after during the building boom.  Russ notes:

"Many times, while with him, I would laud his skills, noting he could build a whole house—foundation, framing, plumbing, electrical, roof, finish work, everything—-and do it all expertly and beautifully.  I told him I admired this because I never felt what I did was all that concrete or clearly useful...  I also do not agree that anybody could acquire his skills, because truly they were unusually diverse and highly expert, and whatever he worked on came out very well."

 

Married Years (1989 – 2012)

RCM, Tracy, Scott, James Telluride CO June 1990 (photo by MCM)
RCM, Tracy, Scott, James Telluride CO
June 1990
(photo by MCM)
Tracy James Kate Scott RCM at Maroon Bells CO June 1994 (photo by MCM)
Tracy James Kate Scott RCM at Maroon Bells CO
June 1994
(photo by MCM)
Milo Jordan, TWM, James, Tracy, Kate, Scott Eagle CO Dec. 1994 (photo by SDM)
Milo Jordan, Tina, James, Tracy, Kate, Scott, Eagle CO
Dec. 1994
(photo by SDM)
Kate Scott RCM James at their home under construction June 1995 (photo by MCM)
Kate Scott RCM James at their CO home under construction
June 1995
(photo by MCM)

Kate Tracy Scott James MCM at their home June 1995 (photo by MCM)
Kate Tracy Scott James MCM at their CO home
June 1995
(photo by MCM)
Kate, RCM, James, Scott, Tracy at Gas Works Park in Seattle Aug. 1999 (photo by MCM)
Kate, RCM, James, Scott, Tracy at Gas Works Park Seattle
Aug. 1999
(photo by MCM)
MCM James Kate Scott Tracy with canoe near Seattle WA Aug 1999 (photo by MCM)
MCM James Kate Scott Tracy with canoe
near Seattle WA
Aug 1999
(photo by MCM)
RCM Kate CRM James Scott WLM MCM Kate at our Seattle home Aug 1999 (photo by MCM)
RCM Kate CRM James Scott WLM MCM Tracy
at our Seattle home
Aug 1999
(photo by MCM)
TWM, James, RCM, Tracy, Scott, CRM, Kate, MCM at Tina's home in San Antonio March 2000 (photo by MCM)
TWM, James, RCM, Tracy, Scott, CRM, Kate, MCM
in San Antonio March 2000 (photo by MCM)
Kate, James, Scott in Eagle CO home May 2003 (photo by MCM)
Kate, James, Scott
in their Eagle CO home
May 2003
(photo by MCM)
MCM, James, Kate, Scott, Tracy at Eagle CO home May 2003 (photo by MCM)
MCM, James, Scott, Kate, Tracy at Eagle CO home
May 2003
(photo by MCM)
Beckah, James, RCM, MCM, Tracy, Kate, Scott in Eagle CO June 2008 (photo by MCM)
Beckah, James, RCM, MCM, Tracy, Kate, Scott in Eagle CO June 2008
(photo by MCM)
 Scott with Kate at Denver Museum of Nature and Science Dec 2008 (photo by SDM)
Scott with Kate at
Denver Museum
of Nature & Science
Dec 2008 (photo by SDM)
Scott with Tina in Denver CO May 2009 (photo by SDM)
Scott with Tina in
Denver CO May 2009
(photo by SDM)

Family Life and Events: Scott and Tracy married in Eagle County in January 1989.  Tracy was born in October 1951 to Martin W. Cameron, Jr. and Patricia J. Servaas.  She has an older sister Teresa and a younger brother James.  She spent part of her childhood in Europe.  Tracy became highly talented at office, computer, and executive secretary skills and worked for a survey company in Eagle for many years, serving as the executive secretary and generally keeping it going.  She later worked for a school in Eagle-Vail, and in more recent years has served in a similar multi-tasking capacity at a thriving Eagle glass and mirror company.  I have great respect for Tracy, who has been a fine mother and a reliable dedicated hard-working employee with a strong work ethic.  

James T. McGoodwin was born in November 1989, and Becky and I were pleased to meet the new baby when many of the Cardiffs and McGoodwins converged on Telluride CO in June 1990.  It was a good family visit, though by this time I had a medical condition that was beginning to affect my capabilities. 

Russ married Yashka Hallein in December 1991 in Boulder.  Scott attended the wedding, and according to Tina and Russ looked exceptionally handsome in a new navy suit.

Katherine "Kate" B. McGoodwin was born in November 1992. 

Surely one of Scott and Tracy's greatest achievements was the excellent parenting that they provided their children.  They were very conscientious and attentive parents, with Scott trying not to repeat missteps he recalled from his own upbringing.  Russ affirms, "Nicely said, Mike, a real testimony to Scott.  Psychologists often say how often parents repeat the parenting patterns of their own parents, but in every respect I think Scott was an ever-present and devoted father and husband." 

Scott was always very protective of them according to Tracy, highly vigilant as I recall, though according to Tracy he could be a bit domineering.  I once told Scott of an experiment I had read about in Scientific American.  In an aquarium stocked with both predatory and herbivorous fish, the skittish more nervous and highly vigilant herbivorous fish were found to survive in greater numbers against predation compared to the more relaxed and laid-back appearing fish.  He was amused with this story, and felt it affirmed why he might have been a little overly vigilant.

After he became a parent, his family favored having a cat rather than a dog, at least until he acquired another black Lab late in his life.

Scott and Tracy enjoyed their family life in the Eagle/Gypsum area.  I believe they preferred it to what they would have experienced had they lived in a big city, regarding it as providing a healthier and more satisfying environment in which to raise and educate their children (and James and Kate seem to echo this preference).  His family enjoyed downhill skiing, cross-country skiing, sledding, camping, and backpacking.  The parents were pleased to attend many of the athletic and artistic activities that their kids engaged in, such as Nordic ski racing, baseball, volleyball, basketball, and dance.  He seemed to especially enjoy getting up in the mountains to rough it and ride horseback with James, etc.  Scott enjoyed several of the regular features on National Public Radio, including Garrison Keillor's The Writer's Almanac, The Prairie Home Companion (as earlier mentioned), Baxter Black (the cowboy poet and philosopher that he especially related to), and of course Click and Clack on Car Talk

Ongoing Career in Construction: Scott's business card for "McGoodwin Construction" (dating from about 1993) stated that he offered the following services: "General Contractor: Residential/Commercial, Fine Woodworking & Complete Remodeling."  Eventually, sometime in the early 2000's, the building boom on which his employment depended tapered off.  The Eagle Valley experienced a serious economic downturn, and Scott often thereafter lamented that he found himself competing with a growing multitude of low-wage workers.  His work was often intermittent, ... especially during the winter months...  Some of his building jobs involved commercial construction, but he found these work sites more chaotic and hazardous, and preferred to work on single family residential construction. 

Despite the locally depressed economic conditions and Russ's urging, Scott chose to remain living and working in the sparsely populated Eagle Valley rather than moving to a locale where good jobs might be more readily available.  He liked his rural lifestyle and was always adamant that he did not want to return to living in an urban area such as Denver, or be an itinerant worker having long absences from his family (such as his father had experienced)...  It seemed to me that Scott felt strongly about this partly because he wanted to keep the stability and security for his family that derived from the fine home he built, undoubtedly recalling the painful housing chaos that his original family experienced during his formative years.

Building His Own Home: With their growing family, Scott and Tracy were in need of a larger home.  They decided to build on the nearly 40 acres of land that they had purchased a few years earlier—it was an attractive rural hilly property with mule deer, cedars, and distant mountain views.  Becky and I were very interested in this highly promising project.  I had spoken to Scott in earlier years about trying somehow to help them acquire more suitable housing, and in 1993 we offered substantive financial backing for the building project, which he enthusiastically accepted.  Scott began the design and planning phase for constructing this truly remarkable new home in 1993.  He put all his skills to use, at this point working full-time for the direct benefit of his own family.  Our Mom called this grand undertaking 'heroic'. 

Scott completed the design of their attractive split-level house entirely on his own, using an outside company to turn his plans into blueprints (which were ready for submission to the Building Department in July 1993).  Becky and I drove to Colorado in June 1994 to visit with them, seeing first hand the substantial progress he had made on the new house under construction (and also meeting Kate for the first time).  Scott was working long hours, feeling good about himself and fully self-employed in building his house.  This was one of the most enjoyable visits I ever had with him, particularly the time we spent with his family hiking and camping in the magnificent Maroon Bells area near Aspen.  I was pleased at last to be having better relations with him. 

Becky and I returned to Eagle again in May 1995 to visit and view further progress on the house.   He was almost single-handedly building it (using sub-contractors for only a few tasks such as pouring the foundation).  We were all impressed with his work, which was first class, and very proud of his outstanding achievement. The house included a sophisticated circulating hot water floor heating system, for which the complex plumbing control center he installed was quite impressive.  (Russ concurs: "Yes—the meticulous soldering of all those copper pipes is beautiful—like something you'd see in the engine room of a fine ship or yacht.")  This personal home building added a substantial value to their property, easily justifying the several years he spent with essentially no outside employment income while building it.  Most of the work was completed by 1996, and the family moved into the house probably that year.  Russ adds, "Indeed, one of the reasons Scott did nearly all the work building his house was his desire to 'see it done right'.  No doubt the quality of construction in that house exceeds what most contractors bring to a job.  And it is a truly impressive residence.  Even the siting of it is extraordinary—near that hilltop, with especially beautiful views out some windows, and no windows where the view would not be that good.  He told me he studied the site very carefully and designed the home with these things in mind.

Career Apex in Construction Management: In 1997, Scott's family responsibilities were growing, and he sought better compensated work.  He secured a position as a construction supervisor for the Cordillera Corporation, managing the construction of at least one very high-end home near Vail (this particular home was completed in about October 1998).  It was a challenging and well-paying job, one for which he received justly deserved praise from the company and the grateful homeowner.  This work probably represented the apex of his construction and building career, certainly in terms of the income and satisfaction it brought him and his family.

Visits in Seattle and Texas: He and his family decided on short notice to make the long drive to visit us in Seattle in August 1999.  This was the only trip he ever made to visit my home after I moved from Texas in 1969, and we all had a very good time.  Scott seemed quite happy with himself, his family life, his accomplishments in home building, and his economic success.  This visit, along with the one we had in Colorado in 1994, provided probably the most relaxed and satisfying times I ever had with Scott.  We met up with his family again in March 2000, when we all converged on Tina and Milo's home in San Antonio TX.  (The gathering even included a cousin not seen since childhood, Tom Wait with his wife Tricia.) 

Aspects of his Personal Qualities: Over his 37 years in the Eagle Valley, Scott seemed to me to be an intelligent, tenacious but frustrated, strongly opinionated, and very hard-working man.  He fought like a bulldog to win folks over to his point of view, for example in his long-running battle with the county to preserve the water rights on his rural property (for water is a valuable asset in arid Colorado)...  He could be aggressively assertive and sometimes even belligerent in his manner.  Russ observes, "One thing I really admired about him was his toughness and emotional control.  Yes, he often seemed to me 'an angry man', but on the other hand he controlled it, kept it within bounds.  I often perceived him to be angry but never saw him lose his temper."

Although he could be effective in compelling his point of view (and you'd certainly want him on your side in a serious confrontation), he could also be rather gruff, though never violent or threatening and generally keeping things civil. 

Boating: Here Russ recounts a fine story from 2005 about Scott's boating skills, which he has titled Boating Down the Colorado River:

"Scott was quite experienced boating down powerful rivers.  In his earlier years in Colorado he had maneuvered high performance kayaks in challenging and dangerous whitewater conditions along the Eagle and Colorado rivers, and presumably other rivers as well.  And prior to the outing described below, taking place in summer 2005, he consulted with real-time reports regarding the stream flow volume of the Colorado River—to ensure everyone had a wonderful boat outing.  At this time, Megan was 12, Nat was 18, and I was 63. 

The previous winter I had taken a kayaking course in the swimming pool at CU, and had bought two recreational kayaks—one 12 feet, the other 9 feet long, both with large elongated cockpits.  So the day we had the outing described below neither Megan, Nat, nor I had any experience in these rec kayaks. 

So, on a sun splashed day in mid summer, Megan, Nat, and I drove over to Scott's place to join him and James for some boating down the Colorado River, with my two recreational kayaks loaded in the back of my pickup truck.  On Scott's advice, before arriving at his place, we picked up in Vail some fried chicken, various snacks, and soft drinks for a picnic he said we would have about halfway down the river we planned to run.  We met up with Scott and James at their house, and were joined by a friend of Scott who was principal of a school in Eagle, as well as that man's son.  Then in 3 vehicles with our respective boats, we caravaned down I-70 about 5 miles to where the Colorado River flows under the highway and is joined by the Eagle River.  This confluence is near a tiny village called Dotsero, where there is a USGS stream-flow monitoring station.  We left one car near the river bank underneath the overpass, then drove the remaining two cars with all our boats approximately 6 miles up the Colorado River. 

As we unloaded the boats and carried them to the shore of the river, donning our flotation vests, Scott briefly rendered some advice from his experience regarding how we should handle our boats in the river's swift and powerful current.  Megan, already in her short rec kayak, paddled off before any of the rest of us were ready to embark, and despite my desperate shouts for her to wait for us I watched her go down the river, around a bend, and out of sight.  God, was I worried!  Then we all took off, and soon found Megan waiting for us around the first bend.  For the next 6 miles the river flows very swiftly through rather open country, with mostly earthen banks and very few rocks.  Averaging around 5-6 feet deep the whole run, the river bottom is smooth thick mud or muck, and because the bottom is very smooth and there are almost no rocks, even though the river moves rather swiftly, there is no white water and only the occasional places where it makes undulating waves.  I would guess Scott knew these sort of conditions would be relatively safe for neophytes like the rest of us, as well as still pretty exciting. 

So, there were 7 of us going down the river together:  Scott and James in Scott's Mad River canoe, the principal and his son in another canoe, Megan in her short rec kayak, Nat in the longer rec kayak, and me hugging an inner tube Scott had brought along!   A couple of times Megan let me ride in her kayak while she hugged the inner tube.  With Scott sitting in the rear and James in front of their canoe, I was impressed how expertly Scott navigated his canoe down the river.  They worked together well, and as they glided along the impression was like watching an expert skier who makes skiing look graceful and almost effortless, while the rest of us were working harder to keep our own watercraft headed in a straight line.  At one point the swiftly flowing river turned Nat sideways and slammed the side of his kayak into one of the few rocks encountered along the way, and turned over his kayak.  But that was the only upset the whole afternoon. 

About half way through the trip down the 6 miles we beached the boats and had a picnic lunch.  I remember when I tried to walk a boat to the river edge how deeply my feet and legs sunk into the river bottom muck, almost sucking at my feet, making it hard to walk.  After that we floated the rest of the way down to the underpass, beached the boats, drove the vehicle that had been left there up to where we had put in, and then drove all the vehicles back down to the underpass and loaded our boats.  Megan, Nat, and I briefly stopped at Scott's house to take showers and put on clean clothes, and then we hit the road for home. 

Later Scott told me that the ranchers in the area were known to take balls of old barbed wire and discard them in the river.  He said most of these were just washed on down by the powerful current of the mighty Colorado, but there was a chance of hitting one if one were out of his boat with his feet skipping along the bottom.  If I had known about this I would have worried about it, and for sure I would have stayed more atop my inner tube and less often let my feet touch bottom!  This was a superbly fun outing, the perfect mix of excitement and safety, with the swift moving river doing most of the work.  And I think Scott's great knowledge of running rivers and his appreciation of our limitations underlay why it worked out so well." 

Our Mother Moves to Colorado: Along with blindness, cardiac problems, and other ailments of advanced age, our mother Tina began developing a slowly progressing dementia.  It began subtly in about 1997.  By 1999 it had become more evident.  Her inability to manage her own affairs was becoming critical by 2001—she urgently needed to be closer and better cared for by professionals and family members. 

In November 2001, Becky escorted her by plane from Texas to Seattle so that we could explore Seattle housing options with her...  However, Scott favored a move instead to Colorado.  This was a decision which I accepted, though I feared that it might not be the best choice for her or him...  There were of course several distinct advantages to her being in Denver or at least in Colorado, including proximity to two sons rather than just one (and both of them had grandchildren much younger than mine), as well as the sunnier climate. 

In October 2002, Scott facilitated the much needed move of our mother, driving her from San Antonio to his home in Eagle and soon on to Denver, see below.  (Yashka and Becky had done yeoman's work helping her in August 2000 during an earlier move within San Antonio to reside at The Inn at Los Patios.  Each flew down for a week specifically for that purpose.) 

Trips to Colorado: In June 2003, Becky and I came to Colorado to visit Tina and Scott (Russ was in Iceland).  In June 2008, Becky and I both visited Tina in Denver, Russ and his family in Boulder, and Scott and his family in Eagle.  We had a good visit with Scott—as it turned out, this was my last opportunity to see him and my mother.  Becky made several other trips without me to visit Tina both in Texas (June 2002), and in Denver (July 2004, October 2005, April 2006, and October 2006), and she attended Tina's memorial in September 2009. 

Airport Job: By late 2002, Scott had left construction and acquired a steady job with the bustling Eagle County Regional Airport—a facility that had greatly expanded in 1996, and where he served as a facilities maintenance technologist.  He worked extensively with the sophisticated electromechanical and computerized systems typical of busy modern airports, and showed a remarkable level of skill in operating them.  His employers entrusted Scott to monitor these systems from home via an Internet link.  When we visited in 2003, he took Becky and me on a tour of the airport (and the Eagle area in general), and he seemed especially well-suited for this highly technical job...  Regrettably this good job came to an end a few years later, probably by late 2006, and Scott in 2007 and in 2009 was seeking work as a building superintendent or construction superintendent (though I do not know the outcomes).

Issues Pertaining to Our Mother: In Denver's ParkPlace Retirement Community, Scott had found a fine and nurturing, upscale but affordable facility for her, where she indeed received excellent care.  Tina's condition gradually declined to a state of marked impairment from multiple medical conditions including dementia, and she moved from independent living to assisted living (2003) and eventually to total assistance.  She had given Scott financial power of attorney, and he served as her principal point man during her Denver years (October 2002 until her death in August 2009), rendering very substantial and loving support for her, despite the long distance he had to drive to be with her.  This was devoted family service for which Russ and I both many times expressed our great appreciation, thanks, and gratitude to him. 

Russ, who lived in Boulder, was physically much closer to Tina than Scott (30 miles versus 135 miles), and I commended and thanked him also for being highly attentive, supportive, and loving to her during her declining Denver years.  He visited her more frequently than Scott could possibly manage, entertained and cheered her up, and provided invaluable detailed observations and lively reliable descriptions to help me in evaluating how she was doing medically (and to help me feel still connected).

We had some tensions and conflicts over our mother, which I won't dwell on here.  These caused a great strain on us both, and sadly contributed to his substantial withdrawal from communication with me during the last 3 years of his life.

Cancer Diagnosis: Scott learned of his pancreatic neuroendocrine tumor in January 2011, when a CT scan disclosed an unexpected tumor already 4 inches in diameter.  For the previous year or so, he had been inexplicably losing weight but otherwise had minimal symptoms, and as far as I know he did not seek medical care until late 2010.  Scott was understandably distraught by this diagnosis and by being told that there was little that could be done that would prolong his life.  He felt great disappointment in the medical profession (including his consultation at the University of Colorado Medical Center, where I had interned), and was bitter that his healthy rural lifestyle had not prevented this cancer.  He was in anguish that his life would be cut short, and that he, his children, and his wife would all suffer because of this. 

Final Years: During Scott's final years of illness, Tracy played an increasingly important breadwinner role, although Scott continued to work intermittently as long as possible, managing his rentals, performing needed repairs, and training James in performing many of the needed tasks. 

In 2011 and 2012, I tried to assist Scott with information and other support, but was able to have little effect...

Scott gradually developed worsening abdominal symptoms and dramatic weight loss, and during his final week his symptoms rapidly progressed.  He courageously endured his pain with little medical assistance other than intermittent pain pills (which he tried to minimize in order to maintain mental clarity).  He chose to avoid to the very end what he felt would be obtrusive intervention by hospitalization or hospice services.

Russ states,

"I had a lengthy visit with Scott in June [2012], a few months before he died, in conjunction with picking up James to accompany Nat and me to the annual High Country Archery Shoot.  Tracy and Kate were not home at the time, and the four of us (Scott, me, Nat, James) spent several hours in Scott's living room, talking with him.  He was very thin and weak, slumped back in a chair or lying down, and obviously experiencing great pain, and often had to excuse himself for a few minutes.  When we returned from the shoot late that same afternoon, he suggested we have a 'shoot off' in his back yard to determine who was 'Dweeb of the Day” [just as Russ describes above]...  He had a couple of BB guns and the four of us competed, and as I recall Scott won and I was 'Dweeb of the Day'.  We never made any reference to his illness the whole time and talked about all kinds of other things.  It was a good visit and the last time I saw him."

On November 12, only 5 days before he died, he called me, and we spoke for what proved to be the last time.  He was by then more resigned and conciliatory—he apologized for his long years of angry "silence" toward me and expressed his love for me and Becky... I expressed my lifelong love and admiration for him and my respect for all that he had achieved.  On the day before he died, he called and spoke to Russ.

His untimely death relieved his suffering, but was a severe loss for his wife ("the love of my life," as he wrote in his will), his much-treasured children, and his brothers.

Honoring his wishes, there was a cremation but no funeral.  His family hosted a Celebration of Life on May 18, 2013, an event to which he had given his blessing.  I did not attend, but compiled an album of representative photos of Scott through the years (many of which are included on this webpage).  This contribution to the occasion was warmly received by his family.  Russ was also unable to attend, because he was in the hospital with an acute condition, but Megan and Nat attended.

 

Epilogue

Scott was a complex intelligent man, often frustrated by his circumstances, a sometimes loving but often distant or difficult brother.  I loved him greatly, tried my best to be a good brother to him, wished I could have done more, and will always miss him.  May his spirit be at peace, and his family flourish. 

Russ wonders, "... Had he lived on, would we have become closer, more like we were in Austin when we both lived there and during his first years in Colorado?  I wonder, would more love on my part, more understanding, less criticism, less being the older brother, and more forbearance have eventually brought us closer in our old age?  Now that he is gone that question can never be answered, and for me it is a bittersweet reminder to try to be as loving toward others as I can in my own remaining years."