Greg Scott, Scoutmaster and MU law professor, known for fun-loving attitude
*CORRECTION: A juris doctor degree is not included in the degrees that have the courtesy title "Dr.," such as a Ph.D. or an M.D. An earlier version of this life story referred to Mr. Scott as Dr. Scott.
COLUMBIA — Greg Scott “wouldn’t just open up his home or his pantry but his life if you needed it," Tim Scott, his brother, said. "And if you were down, you weren’t down for long with Greg Scott around.”
Gregory James Scott died Monday, Aug. 22, 2011, while walking into MU's Cornell Hall to teach a class. He was 54. The cause of death was coronary failure.
Mr. Scott was born June 10, 1957, in Sedalia, to Joe and Marlene "Perky" Scott. He graduated summa cum laude from Columbia College in 1985, and he received his J.D. from MU School of Law in 1988.
Tim Scott said his brother "grew into himself," but he was always smart.
"He would wear this big old grin and talk like a truck driver, but after a few minutes of talking with him you would realize, man, this guy is sharp, and he knows what he is talking about," Tim Scott said.
Mr. Scott worked at Swanson Midgley Law Firm in Kansas City and for the Missouri Attorney General’s office in Jefferson City before becoming an adjunct law professor at MU in 1996, and a full-time professor in 1999. He also worked as an elementary school bus driver, a Stephens Lake lifeguard and editor of the MU Law Review.
In 2000, he received the Graduate Professional Council’s Gold Chalk Award, given to those who made significant contributions to the education and training of graduate and professional students at MU..
He was working as a professor of legal research and writing at MU when he died.
Mr. Scott devoted much of his time outside of work to Boy Scout Troop 707, which he joined in 1967. He earned an Eagle Badge and went on to be the troop's leader. As Scoutmaster, Scott’s easy nature and profound leadership made him revered by his troop.
Robert Murray, a Troop 707 dad and an attorney, said Scott taught him lessons about dealing with his sons.
“While waiting in line for dinner on a white water rafting trip to Ontario," Murray said, "Scott told the boys how the honored place is at the end of the line because it is not about 'me' but about being respectful. He was a great Scout leader because he led by example.”
“Greg had a way of seeing the good in anyone and bringing out the best in everyone,” Murray said.
Andrew Elmore, a former Boy Scout in Troop 707, recalled Scott’s jovial and take-charge attitude. “He was certainly someone everyone from the troop knew right from the get-go.”
Elmore told a story about Scott’s ingenuity as a leader on a trip to Colorado. A pinched tail pipe led to a damaged engine, and their bus would not start.
“Greg had the idea to drain all the oil out of the bus and heat it up," Elmore said. "We started a camp fire, poured the oil into our pots and pans and used a long tree branch to warm it up — and it worked."
Assistant Scoutmaster Chip Sandstedt remembered Mr. Scott's humor.
“I would call Greg about something important, and I would get the answering machine. After a few seconds, I realized it wasn’t the machine at all; it was him faking the whole thing,” Sandstedt said.
Wendy Murray also talked about Mr. Scott's ability to lead males ages 11 to 18. “He was everyone’s favorite Scoutmaster. He never had to reprimand the boys. He would just say, 'Gentlemen, find something to do!'”
Mr. Scott's zest and charisma were not limited to Scouting. At a memorial held Wednesday, Laura Sandstedt, Troop 707 committee chair, said she noticed, “the law students were telling identical stories to the Scouts. He was the same man with law students as he was with 12-year-old Scouts.”
Tim Scott recalled that his brother was once mentored, too.
"Greg would always say, 'We don’t live in a vacuum.' He had mentors and leaders, too, when he was young, and they would have been proud of Greg, but they helped him.
"Chuck Harrington was the original Scoutmaster, and Nancy Almond was our swimming instructor at Quarry Heights. And our father – they were cut from the same bolt of cloth."
Mr. Scott greatly cared for his two dogs, Scout and Pup-Pup.
Mr. Scott is survived by his brother, Tim Scott and his wife, Dorothy Burggraaff, of Kansas City; a sister-in-law, Donna Scott-Heerman of Independence; and two, nephews, Brandon Scott of Manhattan, Kan., and Tyler Scott of Columbia.
His parents and a brother, Mark, died earlier.
A gathering and dessert reception to honor Dr. Scott will be held at 7 p.m. Monday in the Parish Hall of the Calvary Episcopal Church, 123 S. Ninth St.
Memorial contributions to can be sent to Troop 707, c/o Laura Sandstedt, 501 Overland Court, Columbia, MO 65203 or the Central Missouri Humane Society, 616 Big Bear Blvd, Columbia, MO 65202.
Tributes can be posted at parkerfuneralhome.com.