The Scott Center is named for Chaplain Charles P. Scott, who passed away in 2004. Chaplain Scott touched several generations of Middlebury students in his more than 50-year association with Middlebury, and the Chaplain’s Office solicited remembrances of Charlie Scott from the community, which you can read below.
Reverend Charles P. Scott
The Reverend Charles Powell Scott, Chaplain Emeritus
September 12, 1920 – October 10, 2004
In 1986 Charles P. Scott retired from the chaplaincy at Middlebury College as the most senior college or university chaplain in the country. That year he wrote a brief letter that was published on the back page of the Middlebury Magazine. In part, he wrote: “Where else in our society do warm friendships between young and old have such a good chance to flower but at a place like Middlebury?” Pastor, mentor, Middlebury icon and warmest of friends linking generations of students, faculty and staff, Chaplain Scott died in October 2004 at the age of 84.
Charlie was born in Pittsburg September 12, 1920, the eldest of five brothers. As an undergraduate at Ohio State he majored in bacteriology and chemistry and later worked for the University as a lab technician. After his brother Wayne, a navigator on a B-24, was killed in January 1945, Charlie began to have second thoughts about a career in the biological sciences and enrolled in Princeton Theological Seminary, where he earned his Bachelor of Divinity. For two years the young Reverend Scott served as an assistant minister at Washington Park Presbyterian Church in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Then after a fateful meeting with President Stratton in the summer of 1951, he came to Middlebury College that fall as chaplain and instructor in Religion. Thus began a lifelong relationship with Middlebury College.
Shortly thereafter, he moved his denominational affiliation to the Episcopal Church and was ordained deacon and then priest at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church in Middlebury. Throughout the next decade Chaplain Scott guided the College through the transition from compulsory chapel attendance to the voluntary Sunday chapel services that many of us who came later remember with gratitude. Chaplain Scott assisted students in forming voluntary religious groups. Within a few years of his arrival at Middlebury, for example, he was instrumental in encouraging and supporting a few Jewish students on campus who were interested in establishing a Jewish cultural and social club, which led to the founding of a Hillel chapter at Middlebury College in 1954.
With wise counsel and grace he brought the campus through the difficult national events and the moral challenges of the 1960s. By 1969 the Religion Department he founded and chaired for its first eighteen years had three members and he was serving as the President of the National Association of College and University Chaplains. A respected scholar, teacher, and preacher, he was the recipient of numerous academic honors, including a Danforth Foundation study grant, a field archeology grant from Hebrew Union College in Jerusalem, and The Kellogg Lectureship at Episcopal Theological School. Chaplain Scott received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from Middlebury College in 1992.
In addition to his work as college chaplain, Charlie was active in the greater Episcopalian community, filling in as priest in various parishes around New England and elsewhere. Following his retirement he served for a year as interim rector at Grace Church in Manhattan.
On October 13, graduates of Middlebury College from every decade, campus colleagues and friends, some who had known Charlie during his entire half-century association with the College, gathered along with family and townsfolk to remember and bid farewell to Chaplain Scott. Memories of his voice, deep and clear, reading scripture from the pulpit came to mind as two of Charlie’s grandsons read from the Psalms and brother David offered a moving recollection from childhood years. In his homily Professor of Religion Larry Yarbrough said, “We all have stories to tell and we are longing to tell them.” Indeed!
In eulogies that day at Mead Chapel and the next day at St. Stephen’s, in stacks of letters sent to his wife Tana, and in postings on the Web people have been remembering Chaplain Scott. It should come as no surprise that from so many different sources the same constellation of themes emerge.
He genuinely cared for people and went out of his way to let us know. Chaplain Scott made hundreds of people across several generations feel as though they were one of his four or five closest friends. Again and again he would hug us at the chapel door, deliberately “bump into” us along the College walkways, or invite us over to the house for the evening. He would summon us to his office for what would turn out to be a life-impacting conversation about our future plans. After graduation, he would look us up when he was traveling or call us out of the blue. “When I least expected it, the phone would ring, and at the other end was that wonderful baritone voice and infectious chuckle.” (Sue Work Knirsch ‘59).
Charlie Scott worked his way into our lives and we returned the favor seeking him out at those significant moments as our years progressed. The latest love of our life had to be introduced, some wise counsel about career moves or grad school was needed, the first-born baby was brought to Reunion for a “photo op” in Chaplain Scott’s arms. He officiated at countless weddings of Middlebury couples and is no doubt featured in scores of photo albums across the continent.
He would travel hither and yon on behalf of the College and love every minute. “There he was, diving into a crowd of alumni, rejoicing in seeing all of us again. Without hesitation he remembered me by name.” (Sue Youngquist, Class of 1968)
He had an astounding memory for names, but also for all the little details of people’s lives- what your parents did for a living, where you grew up, what sickness your sister had six years ago, everything. He was, quite remarkably, something of a walking, talking, alumni database. He must have sometimes forgotten a name or a face, but not that we ever saw.
He was bigger than life. He was a commanding presence at the front of the sanctuary or the lecture hall. He was a scholar, teacher, and preacher who made the Bible come to life. As Professor Yarbrough mentioned, Charlie was steeped in the study of scripture. He wrestled with the prophets and Paul. He loved the give and take of theological debate and especially loved to engage with the great texts and minds of the 20th Century: Barth, Bonhoeffer, Buber, Bultmann, Niebuhr, and Tillich. His life long study was rivaled only by his passion for classical music. Following retirement he continued to enjoy lectures on campus and concerts on campus. Even in his last days Charlie could be found beside the stereo speakers, eyes closed, “conducting” the great masterpieces. Few would think of Chaplain Scott as a straightforward evangelist. He was not about to pass out tracts that boil Christianity down to four points. Rather in all these everyday human interactions he embodied his faith in a loving and reconciling God. By embracing the confused and the doubters, the self-righteous and silly, the angry and the hurting, the weak and the strong, Charlie’s way in the world taught us more than any lecture could about the kind of God he worshipped. He taught us by example to love our neighbors as our self.
Chaplain Scott loved life and even as the years and illness took their toll, he was in no hurry to leave us. “More than once, he entered what appeared to be the valley of the shadow, got his bearings, and suddenly detoured,” quipped the Reverend Lucy Pellegrini at the memorial Eucharist at St. Stephen’s.
Charles Powell Scott was part of an amazing generation of college chaplains in an unusually challenging and vibrant time. Recently I spoke on the phone with Chaplain Scott’s long time friend and colleague, the Reverend William Sloan Coffin, former chaplain of Yale University and longtime pastor of Riverside Church in New York. Bill said that when he thinks of Charlie Scott he is reminded of these words from Proverbs 17:22. “A cheerful heart is a good medicine, but a down cast spirit dries up the bones.” He said, “With Charlie we all were a bunch of damp bones—never downcast and dry.”
We are grateful that the huge cheerful heart—buried under all those folds of liturgical garb—was a part of our lives. For putting the right man in the right place in the right time, thanks be to God.
Chaplain Scott is survived by his wife, five children, and five grand children. Charlie’s two sons graduated from Middlebury, Wayne in 1971 and Charlie, Jr. in 1977. His wife Tana Sterrett Scott is a 1965 graduate of Middlebury. Grandson Matthew Hershenson is a member of the class of 2007.
Laurel Macaulay Jordan, Class of 1979
Karen Gnuse Nead, Class of 1991.5
Grace Church in New York
Rabbi Gerald B. Zelermyer, Class of 1961
Sue Work Knirsch, Class of 1959
Areli Miranda, Class of 2000
Elizabeth Boerckel Bayardi, Class of 1970
Charles Sykes, Class of 1957
Craig Stewart, Class of 1963
Janet Miller McKee, Class of 1958
Jan L. Crean, Class of 1974
Ken Haupt, Class of 1960
Sue Youngquist, Class of 1968
Nan Rochelle McNicholas, Class of 1975
Stephanie Cole Nelson, Class of 1974
Alan J. McCornick, Class of 1962
John McWilliams, Faculty Member
Rabbi Dr. Lawrence Perlman, Class of 1974
Roth W. “T” Tall Jr., Class of 1965
Cindy Shoer, Class of 1977
Susan Fritsch Hunter, Class of 1971
Barbara Busing Harris, Class of 1946
James Rugen, Class of 1974
Kevin Walsh, Class of 1975
Helga Neuse Whitcomb, Class of 1956
Alice Raymond Thomson, Class of 1976
Charlotte (“Chickie”) Sibley, Class of 1968
Barbara Howd Miller, Class of 1965
Meredith (Meme) Parsons Salisbury, Class of 1956
John Ackerman, Class of 1955
John Moyer, former Assistant to the Chaplain
David Scott, Chaplain Scott’s younger brother
Linda Preston, Class of 1988
We all have so many warm memories of Chaplain Scott. Again and again he would hug us at the chapel door, find time for us in his office, deliberately “bump into” us along the College walkways, or invite us over to the house for the evening.
One example of Chaplain Scott’s generous hospitality is embarrassing for me to remember and even more so to tell. My grandmother lived in Wethersfield, CT and her older sister lived in Arlington, VA. Each fall they would spend time together taking a “foliage trip” through New England. My grandmother was delighted that I was at Middlebury and one year planned the trip to include a visit with me. She put unwarranted trust in me to find them accommodations at the Middlebury Inn or some other nearby lodging.
Of course, I was oblivious to the fact that rooms in October throughout Vermont are pretty hard to come by and most people make their reservations weeks, if not months, in advance. A few days before their scheduled arrival I began to make some phone calls and, of course, there was no place for my grandmother and great-aunt to stay. When in my desperation and embarrassment I confessed to Chaplain Scott about the predicament I was in he said he would be more than happy to put the sisters up at his house. They were received with hugs and kisses and treated like long lost friends. For many years my grandmother would remind me of the visit and ask me to convey her greetings to Rev. Scott.
As everyone knows Chaplain Scott had an amazing memory for all the little details of people’s lives- what your parents did for a living, where you grew up, everything. When years later I reminded him of this foliage trip episode he recalled the words that I said when I brought my grandmother and her luggage upstairs to the room where she would be staying. There were some weights over in the corner of the room and apparently I said to this seventy-plus woman, “Hey look, Gram, you’ll be able to work out.”
Thank you Chaplain Scott for being a pastor, mentor, and friend. I don’t really know who I would be today if you had not been a part of my life at such an important age.
How sad it is to hear of the death of Chaplain Scott! I know he touched so many of us, yet he had the innate ability to always make you feel extra special. My friendship with Chaplain Scott began when he would come and watch the women’s soccer team practice and play games. During my years at Middlebury, my interest in pursuing a career in medicine evolved and Chaplain Scott played an important role as I struggled with how to keep my spiritual life alive while studying the sciences.
After my graduation, our friendship continued. He and Tana always opened their door whenever I popped back into town, and I even had the chance to visit him when he was on sabatical in New York City. In addition, he honored me by providing the dinner prayer at my wedding. So many happy memories. I will miss Chaplain Scott, but will always carry his warmth and love close to my heart.
The people of Grace Church in New York received, with sadness, the news of Chaplain Scott’s death. “Charlie” was the Interim Rector here in 1991-92, bridging the gap between the 12th and 13th rectors. He is remembered fondly and with a smile. We give thanks for his life and ministry, particularly that brief span when he touched the heart of this congregation. Rest eternal grant to him, O Lord: and let light perpetual shine upon him.
Seven weeks ago, my wife and I took a deliberate day and a half to visit Middlebury. It is the 50th anniversary of Hillel’s founding this fall and I was anxious to see its campus headquarters.
The excursion had another purpose: to see Charlie Scott. He was one of the staples of my four years in the Green Mountains. Never without a smile, who could emerge “unshaken” from an encounter with his God almighty grip of a handshake? As soon as we came through the door, though weakened he was, he became animated and practically jumped off his chair. He had always been a large presence and he could still muster the enthusiasm of former years as we spent a generous amount of time warmly reminiscing about them.
His lectures in the classroom were profound. His integrity of belief personally and for the convictions of the entire college community was total.
He was clearly uncomfortable with the Sunday chapel requirement, still in effect for us who remember it. Once he met me and learned of my rabbinical aspirations he confided he was conscience-stricken at the sight of a considerable number of Jewish students at his weekly service.
One day he brought me into his office on the second floor of the old Student Union. This was definitely a Charlie Scott “look you in the eye talk.” He told me I had some kind of a duty to put together a viable alternative so Jewish students could be at ease under the auspices of their own practice. Besides, he added, “This can be your first para-rabbinical post to get your feet wet before you even get to the seminary and, if you ever get stuck I will be around to advise you!”
Hillel took off as a result of his pep talk. It became a factor in college life because Charlie Scott prodded me and others with unequivocal support and without any desire to take credit for the development.
I became a rabbi in ‘68. Charlie called on me in New York while I was in school and in Boston and Hartford, communities I served later, whenever he was in town. Twice he asked me back to hold forth in Mead Chapel. Thrills I will never forget.
Here was one man who knew and found his place. It was Middlebury. It was in our lives and emotions with passion, and simultaneously, his bread-and-butter congeniality. The Place is one rabbinical Hebrew reference to the CEO of the universe, HA-MA-KOM. May the place Charles P. Scott made for himself be the kind of sequel he earns in the eternal household.
How I will miss Charlie Scott!! He was such an important person in my life at a very important time in my life. I will never forget his warmth, his big bear hugs, and his incredible memory.
But most important is what he meant to me. We grew to be friends my freshman year when I served on the religion committee and attended all his classes. He and his first wife, Betsy, had a group of us over to their house every Sunday night to get us out of the dorm and nurture us with his food and great sense of humor.
After my mother committed suicide a few months into my sophomore year, and I took an extended leave of absence, he continued to keep in touch as he also did after my husband left me. When I least expected it, the phone would ring, and at the other end was that wonderful baritone voice and infectious chuckle. He baptized my oldest daughter, Kristen ‘84, married my current husband and myself, and officiated at my youngest daughter’s wedding eight years ago. As he stood on the beach looking like Moses with his robes flowing in the winds, he stood silent for a few minutes. My heart froze because I thought he had forgotten what he was going to say. Just as I was about to totally panic, that deep voice began the service which he continued without a note until he finished. After, many of our guests came over to me and said, “Where did you find him? I want him for my daughter’s wedding.”
I feel truly blessed to have been a small part of his life, and I know that he is now with the 3 friends he always referred to in sermons … Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
Thanks for informing me about passing away of this wonderful person and also for sharing such a beautiful history of a Godly man.
Thank you for sharing the news of Chaplain Scott’s passing. It is a sad day indeed. For four years Chaplain Scott was my pastor. He officiated at my wedding 33 years ago.
I am sure I am not alone in this question: Is there a specific fund that one could donate to in Chaplain Scott’s memory? Where can messages of condolence be sent?
Thanks for your help.
Note: The family has asked for contributions in lieu of flowers to Addison County Home Health and Hospice, Inc, P.O. Box 754, Middlebury, VT 05753; or to Elderly Services, Inc., P.O. Box 581, Middlebury, VT 05753.
Condolences may be sent to Tana Scott, 95 South Main Street, Middlebury, VT 05753.
Please add my name to the condolence message to the family of Chaplin Scott. He stands out as one of the most admired members of the Middlebury family. It was a very, very special honor for me to have been included on the honorary degree list with Charlie in 1992. His values helped shape the lives of all who came in contact with him.
Charlie was a wonderful human being and a quiet inspiration and role model for many of us. His spirit, humility and genuine love of humankind will be sorely missed.
I am greatly saddened to learn of the death of Chaplain Scott. He was a very influential figure in my life as an undergraduate at Middlebury, 1954-58. His courses on the Old and New Testament were two of the best courses I took at Middlebury. I often tell my children, and will be telling my grandchildren when appropriate, of my experiences at Middlebury. Chaplain Scott has figured largely in my sharing of my Middlebury experiences. I remember him with pride and affection. I will be with you in spirit at the memorial service on Wednesday. And I will think of him looking down benevolently at the gathering there.
I was sorry to hear of the death of Chaplain Scott. As a Jewish student on campus, I learned a lot about Christianity’s “take” on many issues by participating in the Choir, thus having a front-row seat to hear the sermons. “Chaplain Charlie” and I had a few discussions during my time at Middlebury, and he was always gracious and generous with his time. I remember him fondly.
It is with profound sorrow that I read your words about Chaplain Scott. He officiated at my marriage.
What a loss! We will remember him fondly. Chaplain Scott was one of the most wonderful people I had the pleasure to meet, always offering a kind word and a cheerful smile. His Old and New Testament classes were a highlight of my junior year.
I remember that years after I graduated, my husband and I were attending a function and shook his hand. There he was, diving into a crowd of alumni, rejoicing in seeing all of us again. Without hesitation he remembered me by name.
Chaplain Scott influenced my life long after I graduated from Middlebury, and a trip to Midd wasn’t really a trip to Midd unless I visited with him.
He traveled to New Hampshire to conduct the funeral of my infant daughter in 1986, and in 1987 baptized my son, Patrick, in Mead Chapel. My proudest moment ever was watching him then waltz the baby through the aisles for all gathered Sunday morning students to see. It is a vision I’ll never forget, tiny baby, big man, as proud as if he was the grandpa!
Though I can’t join you, I will be with you tomorrow afternoon remembering Chappie Scott.
I join many others in celebrating the life of Chaplain Scott. His generosity, graciousness, curiosity, and love of life were attributes I was able to view firsthand because I was lucky enough to become part of the Scott family for two and a half years.
As a sophomore in 1971, I was dealing with a brand new diagnosis of manic depression and my parents did not want me living in a dorm with little or no supervision. Dean of Students Erica Wonnacott came up with the idea that I move in with Chaplain Scott’s family. The three oldest children had been moving out: Wayne was a brand new alum of Middlebury, Betsy was at Vanderbilt, and Kitty was at Northwestern. Only Charlie the younger and Mary Ann were still at home attending Middlebury Union High School. Everyone in the family embraced me and made me feel that I was just another member of the Scott clan.
While I had concerned and loving parents of my own back in New Hampshire, the Scotts made it possible for me to come to terms with living with a serious mental illness and to navigate my way through Middlebury and even graduate with my class. I have too many stories and memories to share, but one of the many gifts that Chaplain Scott left me is my love of classical music. It was never predictable what record Chaplain Scott would have spinning on that turntable in the living room, but it would be predictable that he would be enjoying immensely the music that would be filling the house. The private and the public Chaplain Scott were one and the same. The Middlebury community has been a richer place because of Chaplain Scott. Thank you, Chaplain Charlie.
I read of the passing of Chaplain Charles Scott with a jolt of surprise and sadness. I had been thinking of him only days before, and was planning to write him a note. The sadness is self-explanatory; the surprise is the irony of wanting to contact him for the first time in 40 years and missing the opportunity by only a few days. I am about to retire from a long and happy teaching career, and while sharing reflections with a friend on the closing of a major chapter in my life, my friend asked me to identify the people who made me want to go into teaching. Two names came to mind, and one of those was Charles Scott.
I was a student in his classes in the Old and New Testaments in 1958 or 1959, a confused young man looking for certainty and meaning. I was to leave the church behind soon after, and had something of a chip on my shoulder, but I remember a conversation with my roommate at the time. “He’s the first teacher I ever had who makes you believe you’ve just asked the most interesting question he’s ever heard,” I told him. Chaplain Scott was a bridge for me between a small-town high school and the larger world, demonstrating to me that I could participate in it without fear if I just put my mind to it. I have never found a better model of a teacher.
In reading the remembrances, I see that the life of this lovely man only got richer as the years went by. It is clear that he touched the lives of many as he touched mine. He will not be forgotten.
In the early 1980s, five or six of us faculty members, including Charlie Scott, were having lunch in the old Crest Room in Proctor, when someone mentioned the shame of Elizabeth Schwarzkopf’s accepting musical performance certifications (cards, evidently) from the Nazi Party. Charlie listened to our various protestations of outrage, then remarked, in an offhand manner, “You know, Richard Strauss accepted Nazi certifications as well. I’ve always thought that Elizabeth Schwarzkopf’s singing of the trio in Strauss’s Rosenkavalier is the most beautiful music, certainly the most moving opera recording, that I’ve ever heard.” Charlie was not condoning association with the Nazi party. In his gentle, friendly way, he was setting our priorities straight by calling for a modicum of the spirit of Christian charity. After a rare 10 seconds of silence, our conversation turned to other matters. The chaplain had, momentarily, freed a few of us faculty from our cloistered virtue.
Charlie was also right about his musical judgment. He was referring to the Van Karajan recording of Der Rosenkavalier with Elizabeth Schwarzkopf, Christa Ludwig and Teresa Stich-Randall (EMI ZDM 7 634522). The trio is track 5. Check it out. It may be equaled but cannot be surpassed. And please thank Charlie for the referral.
There were few people who had such a large effect on my life at Middlebury as did Chaplain Scott. While I was completing a double major in philosophy and religion and contemplating a life as a professional hockey player, Chaplain Scott did something I will never forget. He didn’t so much call me as tell me to show up at his office. He asked me what I hoped to do upon graduation and I expressed to him a desire that I hardly expressed to anyone else. I told him I thought of becoming a Rabbi, something which was entirely foreign to my background.
Upon hearing this, Chaplain Scott proceeded to tell me about the Jewish Theological Seminary, a place I had never heard about, and explained why I had to go there to pursue my desire.
To say that this meeting changed my life is a just a small understatement.
Chaplain Scott was a large man with a large heart. His presence, generosity and straightforwardness, for the brief times our lives intersected, was immeasurable. What a wonderful human being.
At the urging of her father, my wife and I secretly were married at home in December 1983 by a justice of the peace. We decided to tell no one and to celebrate the event with a full-blown ceremony at the Chapel the following July.
During that July rehearsal, Charlie was his wonderful self and performed as if this was the one marriage ceremony he would conduct that entire year. We practiced the processional, the exchange of vows and all the other traditions of such an auspicious occasion.
When we had completed all the key elements, he informed the entire wedding party that he would close the service by saying, “By the powers vested in me by the State of Vermont, I now pronounce you man and wife.” It was at this point that my ever-so-diplomatic wife whispered in Charlie’s ear that he did not have to close with those words … that we had been secretly married seven months ago!
The look on Chaplain Scott’s face was one we never had seen before nor would ever see again. Part of it expressed complete shock, yet this was the ’80s and one had to flow with the tide. And flow he did. Here was one steeped in so many wonderful liturgical traditions who after a moment was eager to accommodate an old friend and colleague and his new bride. We always will be indebted to him.
I loved the Middlebury environment. I struggled to find a major where I could be interested and successful. In my search, I took the Old Testament course, loved it and developed a friendship with Chaplain Scott. He invited me to major in religion and take electives in areas that interested me. His words were, “The religion major has the least amount of required courses. You take the courses that interest you, so many at each level. Then you add psychology, sociology, history, whatever courses interest you to build your own view of the world.” Now that was a practical man advising a lost student how to chart a course in life.
I loved our chats, even though he was never my advisor. I enjoyed seeing him on visits to Midd. I have followed his advice to take what interests me and build on that, ever since. He was a man for life lessons whose simple words had profound impact. I am the richer for having crossed his path. Peace be with you, Chappie Scott.
Chaplain Scott was just about the first person I met when I visited the campus for my interview. My father, Charles T. Fritsch, had taught Rev. Scott at Princeton Theological Seminary and had remained friendly with him. Interestingly enough, I took Scott’s religion class and learned, through him, some of what my father had taught him!
Chaplain Scott was always a positive, reassuring presence during the upheavals and unrest of our time in college. He was truly someone you could turn to in times of personal crisis.
It was always good to greet him and be greeted by him on return trips to Middlebury in the years following graduation.
I was saddened to learn of his death and wish to express my condolences to all his family members.
In about 1955 I was chair of a young Middlebury alumni group in Westchester County and we requested a speaker from the college for a gathering at the Roger Smith Hotel in White Plains. I remember the phone ringing and a voice introducing himself as Charles Scott, our speaker. We loved him.
The years went by; all four of our children went to Middlebury, so I would see him while visiting the kids and also at reunions of the class of 1944 and 1946. In about 1995 I was working on the alumni yearbook for our 50th reunion and happened into a little shop below the Sheldon Museum and found Chaplain Scott seated having a snack or lunch. He immediately greeted me by name (!) and asked about Martha whom he volunteered was a member of the class of 1972! Now how did that man do that? He was right!
Thank you for the opportunity to share thoughts about and memories of Chaplain Scott. It has been poignant for me to read what others have written. I remember him with great fondness.
I will never forget how he embraced my grandmother, physically and emotionally, when she visited the campus and attended a chapel service when I was a student. She had just lost her husband of nearly 60 years and was in deep grief. After the service, I introduced them; and Chaplain Scott must have sensed her despair. The two retired to a back pew and spoke for 20 minutes. I will never know what he said to her, but she was powerfully uplifted and strengthened by his words and his concern.
On a lighter note, I remember Chaplain Scott’s annual party for members of the College Choir. He opened his home and made us feel like distinguished and honored guests. A gracious, graceful, accepting, affirming, open-minded and dear man.
My condolences to the Scott family and friends. It is very moving to read the memories of Chaplain Charlie and the special meaning he has for the lives he touched. The strength, generosity and example of this man are a lasting legacy for so many of us.
“Goodness and love unfailing, these will follow me all the days of my life.” — Psalm 23
I had the privilege of knowing Charlie Scott not through Middlebury, but when he would come as a visiting/guest minister to Northwestern University. My father, Ralph Dunlop, was chaplain at Northwestern, and had the good fortune to know Charlie Scott. Every time he would come to Northwestern to preach, Charlie made a point of sitting next to me at dinner following the service and talking to me … quite a thrill for a little girl!
As I grew up, he and his family would visit us, and once I was able to travel with my parents to Middlebury when my dad preached there. “Uncle Charlie” always held a special place in my heart. He came to Northwestern for my dad’s memorial service in 1995. He and Tana visited us at Torch Lake in Michigan.
Uncle Charlie called me periodically just to check in, and I always loved to hear his voice. I felt as if a big “Uncle Charlie Hug” was coming through the phone lines. I was devastated to hear of his death. I loved him.
Chaplain Scott meant a great deal to our family — he married my father and stepmother, and baptized our son John — but he always was there at St. Stephen’s (or anywhere) with a big hug, smile and friendly words.
I remember Chaplain Scott as a warm and outgoing man of many interests. I had the good fortune to get to know him because he and I shared a stand in the violin section of the Middlebury College Orchestra while I was a student. I admired the fact that he included playing the violin in his busy life.
As a member of the chapel choir for four years. I knew Chaplain Scott very well. Even though the Sunday services were “ecumenical,” his Episcopalian training came through—and that was very comforting to me, having been raised as an Episcopalian. His messages were always thoughtful and measured, while still spiritual—not easy, considering the turbulence of the ’60s. My two most powerful memories of Charlie follow—one sad, the other happy.
One Sunday morning (probably 1965 or ‘66), he received word that a Midd student and choir member was MIA in Vietnam. Chaplain Scott was so overcome that, when he stood up to deliver his homily, he could not speak. He asked, instead, for a few minutes of silence to remember the student. He was openly weeping, not embarrassed at all, and so were most of us.
The other memory is joyous. I was a member of Chapel Board my freshman and sophomore years; we had a “retreat” and since the weather was mild, a number of us bedded down outside on a hill (overlooking Lake Champlain, I think). Charlie and I were next to one another (at a respectable distance, of course!), and joked the next morning about “sleeping together.” You could do that with Charlie, with nothing feeling amiss.
He will be missed. My thoughts and prayers go to Tana and family.
I wish I could remember how Chaplain Scott came into my life. I wasn’t a chapel-goer (then), I didn’t sing in the choir. I suppose I might have taken a religion class from him. However it came about, he was a mighty figure in my time at Middlebury, forever greeting me with enormous hugs and thunderous laughter. I adored him!
So, I asked Chaplain Scott to baptize my first-born son, Matthew. I’ll carry with me forever the picture of big Charley Scott cradling in his arms my little boy in a yellow outfit on the steps of the Chapel. He blessed Matthew as he had blessed my life.
All these years later, much more devoted and ardent in my faith, I know in my heart that God surely put Charles Scott in my life to introduce me to God’s unconditional love and grace.
Charles Scott was a gigantic figure in our lives back in the “old-fashioned days” of required chapel. His support of the College Choir and all that the music department did only added to my affection for him. In alumna years, I saw him in NYC when he would come down to hear his beloved Wagner operas, and a visit to the campus was not complete without an hour or two visiting about old times, the opera, etc. I remember particularly one time at his home listening to a recording of Birgit Nilsson singing Swedish hymns recorded in a country church in Sweden. Having been a “handmaiden” to her in Turandot at the Met, this brought back memories of her warm and funny personality as well.
I was so thrilled when Charlie and Tana came to New York to fill an interim year at Grace Church, my parish before moving to Westchester. Not surprisingly, they became intimate friends with my best friends from those days, the organist and his wife. I was particularly privileged to see Charlie the day before he died (quite by chance; we had come up to show Midd to our 13-year-old granddaughter and happened to meet Jeff Rehbach, who told us how ill Charlie was) and even in those last hours, he had a wonderful smile for me. He was a great friend, one who had such a positive outlook on life, who remembered everything about all his student friends, their families and friends, and set such a great example of faith, hope and love for all who knew him. His dear Tana and all his children and grandchildren are in our hearts.
Scotty started at Middlebury my freshman year. He was a teacher and role model for me. It was he and Pardon Tillinghast who demonstrated that you could be a Christian and a man and a thinker.
He supported me in my call to ministry, and we kept in touch down through the years.
I am grateful for him and his part in my life.
Scotty was a wonderful mentor and friend during my year as his Assistant and TA in Religion and Philosophy. His joy of life, love of family, friends, music and all who were part of Middlebury College will be remembered by many. He was gift to us all. He carried us in his memory. I have most enjoyed remembering over the years a wonderful time with him.
What wonderful remembrances of Charlie Scott, my big brother. Here, a few months after his memorial service, I am sitting at my office computer reading these tributes and weeping. These are treasures. We did love him so. Thank you.
Chaplain Scott was my freshman advisor when I arrived at Middlebury. He was among the first of the faculty I met. His warm, outgoing, and kind nature made me feel at home immediately. Meeting him set the tone for how I would see the new community I had joined. Years later, I still feel the impact of his gernerous spirit and good humor, even though our advisor/advisee relationship was brief. He was an amazing man who will always live on through that spirit.