Donald James Scott, age 80, of Chetek, passed away Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2020.
Don was born in an area known as Bear Lake, on the shores of Big Bear Lake in the county and township of Rusk, east of Chetek, on March 30, 1940, to parents, Mary (Cipov) and Delbert Scott. He attended Chetek High School and then Weyerhaeuser High School, where he graduated in 1958.
In November 1958, he enlisted in the United States Navy. He was commissioned a regular officer in 1965 and retired in May 1988 as a Commander. He served in cruisers and destroyers as a radarman, air intercept controller and surface warfare officer throughout the Viet Nam War. Don was embarked in the Pacific U.S. Seventh Fleet Flagship, USS Oklahoma City CLG-5 at the time of the Tonkin Gulf Incident. He was aboard USS O’Brien DD-725 in the Tonkin Gulf off North Viet Nam on Dec. 23, 1966, when the ship was hit by enemy shore fire and suffered the first U.S. shipboard killed in action and other casualties.
Don made other deployments to the Viet Nam War in USS Jenkins DD-447 and USS Nicholas DD-449. He was Aide and Flag Secretary to the Commander Cruiser Destroyer Group Three admiral embarked in USS Long Beach CGN-9 and deployed to the Seventh Fleet when U.S. forces and citizens left Saigon in 1975. In 1978 he was in the Indian Ocean and Arabian Sea as executive officer in USS Waddell, DDG-24 for contingency operations related to the overthrow of the Shah of Iran.
When ashore, Don worked as manpower and personnel subspecialist serving a total of 11 years in the Bureau of Naval Personnel and the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations in Washington, D.C. He earned a business degree from the Naval Postgraduate School at Monterey, Calif., and graduated from the Command and Staff course at the Naval War College in Newport, R.I. His awards include the Legion of Merit and Navy Commendation medals as well as the Combat Action Ribbon.
After completing Naval Service, Don was employed for 20 years by several defense contracting firms providing expertise on military manpower, personnel and other matters. He worked at the Pentagon in the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations for 10 years and was in Crystal City just south of the Pentagon when terrorists flew a commercial jetliner into the building on Sept. 11, 2001.
Don married the love of his life, Charlotte Kraus of Beltsville, Md., on Feb. 1, 1965, in Waukegan, Ill., while serving a tour of duty at the U.S. Naval Training Center at Great Lakes, Ill.
Don loved his place of birth and referred to it throughout his life as the Northwoods. He enjoyed deer hunting and visited with family as often as he could. He returned to the area to live on the shores of Big Bear Lake.
Don is survived by his sisters, Jane (John Sr.) Effertz of Weyerhaeuser, Caroline Scott of Ladysmith, Nancy Madejski of Orlando, Fla. and Sandra (George) Tant of Altanta, Ga.; his brother, Dennis (Sue) Madejski of Chetek; along with many nephews and nieces, including John (DeeDee) Effertz, Jr. of Eau Claire, Joan (Jeff) Good of Spring Valley, Roger (Georgia) Scott of Hudson, Elizabeth Scott (John Kohel, Jr.) of Altoona, Chastity (Brett) Ridout of Weyerhaeuser and Mindy (Matt) Hamilton of Chetek.
He was preceded in death by his wife, Charlotte; his daughter, Michelle; his brothers, Bob and Ray; his sister, Yvonne Marie (Bonnie) Knowlton-Knaak and her son, Robert Knowlton; his niece Carol Effertz and his parents.
With his long and honorable service in the defense of this nation, Don cements the legacy of God, Mother and Country with his forefathers in the pursuit of liberty and will be laid to rest in the Twin Lakes Cemetery, Sampson Township, Chippewa County, where his great-grandfather Josephus Baily Scott, who was wounded in the Civil War, is buried. Also, he will rest with great-great grandmother, Mrs. H.B. Scott, the widow of his great-great grandfather Ruben Hawley Scott, who died at Petersburg, Va., in the Civil War and his mother, Mary, who nurtured and gave so much to make him who he was.
Don was a life member of the Military Officers Association of America (MOAA), the Disabled American Veterans (DAV) and the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) as well as a member of the American Legion and the National Rifle Association (NRA) along with its legislative arm, The Golden Eagles.
He is a charter member of VFW Chetek Post 10331.
A wake service was held Monday, Sept. 21, at the funeral home in Chetek. A rosary service followed. Services was held at 11 a.m., Tuesday, Sept. 22, at St. Boniface Catholic Church, in Chetek, with Father Bala Policetty celebrating the Mass. Visitation was held one hour prior to services at the church.
Burnham-Ours-Kolstad Family Funeral Home, Chetek, has been entrusted with arrangements.
Memorials may be directed to Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society Charities, 875 North Randolph Street, Suite 225, Arlington, Va., 22203 or the Charlotte, Michelle and Don Scott Scholarship Foundation which will be awarded to Chetek-Weyerhaeuser High School students. Make checks out to CMIDS Scholarship Foundation and mail to Elizabeth Scott, 903 Sandalwood Dr., Altoona, WI 54720.
Don is an enduring example of dedication, discipline and duty.
Fair winds and following seas.