Father John Charles Scott, O.S.B. (1945-2012)
From Saint Martin’s Abbey
April 11, 2012
confrere Father John Charles Scott, O.S.B., passed to God on
Good Friday, 6th April 2012, fortified by the Sacraments, after
a courageous battle with Alzheimer’s. John Scott was born in
Syracuse, New York, on 6th April 1945, the son of John J. Scott
and Lucy Frances Scott, née Halpin. When John was five years old
his father, a military war correspondent, was killed in the
Korean conflict. John began his elementary education in Tacoma,
Washington, but attended school in such diverse locations as
Neah Bay, Washington, and Grande Prairie, Alberta, due to his
step-father’s military work. John spent his last two years of
high school at Saint Lucy’s Academy, Syracuse, and after
graduating returned to the West to enroll in Saint Martin’s
College, where he received his Bachelor’s degree in 1967. He did
graduate studies in theology at St. Meinrad School of Theology,
St. Meinrad, Indiana, completing the four year program in three
years and one summer. In 1971, he received a Master’s degree
from Indiana University, and in 1980 was awarded his Doctorate
from the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque. His doctoral
dissertation was a study of Willa Cather’s Death Comes for
the Archbishop, the acclaimed novel based on the life of a
nineteenth century archbishop of Santa Fe.
As a youth, John was attracted to the monastic life and felt
God calling him to a priestly vocation. He entered the monastic
novitiate at Saint Martin’s Abbey in 1967, being known briefly
as “Frater Emmanuel” before re-claiming “John” as his name in
religion. Frater John Scott made his solemn vows in 1971, and on
6th January 1972 his was the first ordination to the priesthood
in the present Saint Martin’s Abbey Church.
Father John was a life-time academic, specializing in
American history. He served his community teaching American
history in Saint Martin’s College (University) and briefly at
Saint John’s University, Collegeville, Minnesota. He was a
scholar, always researching and regularly reviewing books for
scholarly publications. He sought to improve his knowledge of
history through travel, sabbaticals and summer study. Father
John spent many years researching the history of Saint Martin’s
in the archives of Saint Martin’s, Saint John’s, and Saint
Vincent Archabbey, Latrobe, Pennsylvania, culminating in his
writing and publishing our centennial history, This Place Called
Saint Martin’s, at the time of our 1995 centennial celebration.
In 1975, Father John, just thirty years old, was named
president of Saint Martin’s College. He served in the position
until 1980 when he returned to Albuquerque to complete his
doctoral studies. Saint Martin’s was much loved by Father John.
He never failed to attend funerals and special anniversaries of
Saint Martin’s alumni and friends of the Abbey and University.
He was tireless in working with the University’s Office of
Institutional Advancement, making friend-raising and
fund-raising calls until the advancing effects of Alzheimer’s
forced him to curtail these activities.
Father John was gregarious; he was also very direct. He loved
history, travel and walking. He was a long-time devotee of the
Met’s live broadcasts of the opera on Saturday mornings. He was
cultured. He seldom refused an invitation to play a game of
Scrabble, nor would he scorn a cup of tea and some good
shortbread. He will be greatly missed by the many who loved him
and whose lives he touched.
In addition to his monastic community, Father John’s
survivors include his siblings, Barbara S. Nardone and Jerah and
Jim Chadwick; his brother-in-law Bill, widower of John’s sister
Sandra; and a multitude of friends and former students.
The community will gather in the Saint Martin’s Abbey Church
at 7:00 p.m. on Thursday, 12th April 2012, for a Vigil Service.
Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated in the Abbey Church
at 2:00 p.m. on Friday, 13th April 2012, followed by burial in
the Abbey Cemetery. Dr. James Vosper, a long-time friend, will
deliver a eulogy before the Mass; Father Gerard Kirsch, O.S.B.,
will give the occasional sermon at Mass.
In lieu of flowers, donations in memory of Father John may be
made to either Abbey Church Events, Saint Martin’s Abbey, or
Scholarship Fund, Saint Martin’s University. The address for
both Abbey and University is 5000 Abbey Way, SE, Lacey
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