Senior missionaries share memories of Elder Scott

Written by: 
Rachel Reed

Elder Richard G. Scott passed away surrounded by family in Salt Lake City on Sept. 22 due to old age, according to Mormon Newsroom.

At the age of 86, he has been described as a man of science, family, and faith by multiple news sources. He served as a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy for 11 years before becoming an apostle in 1988, reported Mormon Newsroom.

Senior missionaries at B YU-Hawaii said it felt like Elder Scott was speaking to the individual at General Conference. “He was concerned about the mass,” said Elder Robert Noel, a senior missionary from Utah who works at the BYUH Career Center. “But you always felt like he was talking to you personally. He was also concerned about the one.”

“He looked right into the heart and soul, with a deeply sincere and intense passion. You could hardly miss it,” said Elder Lawrence Flake, a senior missionary from Arizona, who teaches religion classes about Elder Scott’s conference talks. “It was person to person. He was able to connect with audience and other leaders,” Flake added.

According to Mormon Newsroom, Elder Scott was born in 1928 in Pocatello, Idaho. He served a mission in Uruguay and was mission president over the Argentina North Mission from 1965 to 1969. He graduated from George Washington University with a degree in mechanical engineering and there met his wife, Jeanene. Due to her encouragement, he put off marriage and career and served a mission in Uruguay, reported Mormon Newsroom.

Sister Laurie Christensen, a senior missionary from Utah working as a graduation completion specialist at BYUH Registrar’s, said, “He was always soft spoken, yet so direct. The Lord wanted him to say what he said at that moment. There were no loud trumpets.”

When Elder Scott spoke to a congregation, he took time to meet with them personally afterward. Noel said, “The thing that the missionaries all enjoyed about Elder Scott when he came is that he would stand down at the pulpit and shake hands with all the ones that wanted to come by, and most general authorities don’t do that.”

Sister Elaine Flake said whenever she and her husband went over to their house for dinner, Elder Scott liked to joke, “Jeanene eats and I get fat.” Jeanene was slender and slightly taller than Elder Scott, Sister Flake added. Elder Flake said, “She was really something. He loved her so much." He also said Elder Scott still referred to her in letters after she died, as if she had never left his side.

According to Elder Flake, Elder Scott was really positive. “He wouldn’t dwell on the negative things.” He remained optimistic as he went through life trials, such as his wife slowly dying of cancer and two of his children’s deaths, one before she was born and a 2-year-old son in heart surgery, reported Mormon Newsroom.

Though going on a mission could have hurt Elder Scott in his career, he was still hired by Admiral Hyman G. Rickover to work on the design of the nuclear reactor for the Nautilus, the first nuclear-powered submarine, according to Mormon Newsroom. “He was smart and had great integrity,” Elder Flake said. “Rickover knew a gem when he had him.”

A funeral service was held for Elder Scott on Sept. 28 with President Henry B. Eyring presiding and 2,500 people filling the Tabernacle in Salt Lake City, Utah, and more watching over the satellite system, reported Mormon Newsroom. The speakers were President Russell M. Nelson, Elder D. Todd Christofferson, and Elder Scott’s son Michael W. Scott.

At the funeral President Eyring said, “He blessed me by letting me come to know and love his wonderful wife and family. We share a love of painting. We worked together doing watercolors - he the teacher and I the student.”

Uploaded Oct. 2, 2015