Craig William Scott, 67, passed away on Thursday, April 20, 2017. Craig is survived by his wife, Nancy; son, Collyn; and brothers, Douglas and Robert. A memorial service will be held on June 4, 2017, 4:00pm at Blessed Sacrament Episcopal Church in Placentia, California. Donations may be made to UCSD Transplantation Center.
Published in Orange County Register on May 24, 2017.
Craig was a close friend through Sunny Hills and college, and through the 1970s. He lived in a loving home on Cerritos with his parents Bill and Margaret, and his two brothers. He was surrounded by ’67 classmates there and on N. Richman, Grandview and elsewhere nearby. Craig was a good-looking guy, easy going and pleasant, a gentleman with an endearing manner, bright and hip. Sports were his great pastime throughout his life, and he could watch football, basketball or baseball for hours on end. At Sunny Hills, he played basketball and I think baseball, and was a good student.
He was a member of the Golden Hill group of friends who went almost all the way through school together, from the mid-1950s to 1967 at Sunny Hills. Mr. Scott had been a Forestry major at UC Berkeley and taught his sons to love nature and camping. He’d also been a young Army lieutenant in World War Two, serving in the European Theater.
Craig proceeded to the University of the Pacific and joined a fraternity with great pleasure. During the summers, he worked as a laborer for the construction company his father owned with Mr. Smitt. I remember one summer Craig worked on a project on Alondra in Compton, and carried good stories home every day. We often went to college football and Dodger baseball games together, always with his brother Doug, often with pal Richard Montgomery, ’69 from down the street, Pat Grimm, (Servite ’68), and sometimes others. One of our joys was walking to Golden Hill Elementary School for exhibitionist basketball games, because the 8 feet high hoops transformed us into slam-dunking hulks on every shot. Craig’s sunny disposition and love of life made everything fun.
At college, Craig majored in history and business, and came home to Southern California to begin a career in sales. He married Nancy, a St. Jude registered nurse, and they gradually became more and more involved in singing in their church choir. It meant everything to them.
By now they lived in Brea and I didn’t see Craig much except for Cal State Fullerton games when I worked there in the late 1970s. Most recently, Craig was an executive at a new car dealership on Imperial Boulevard in Brea.
So now Craig’s gone, promoted as we’ve begun to say. A lot of us have lost a tremendous friend, a man with a beautiful soul.
I hope some of you will be able to reach Buck Young, Bill Merriam, Cliff Megerle, Midge Hodge, Marilee Stark, Jim Kieley, CeCe and Melinda Ryan, Linda Gudka and others. I’ll send them letters.
I remember the types of thing we used to do. In those days, the mid and late 1960s, we were boxing fans. We went to the Olympic Auditorium several times, and tried in vain to get Jan Powers, Mary Beth Thompson, Lindee Hammond and other Lancer girls to come with us to 18th and Main. (Oddly, they declined.)
A typical Saturday afternoon found us in the Scott den facing Cerritos, watching sports events on TV. Maybe we’d played golf that morning. As the afternoon wore on, we often hatched plans for our evening amusement: maybe a local concert, a new movie, or a sports event in Los Angeles.
One time I was enthusiastic about an upcoming bantamweight world championship fight pitting ChuChu Castillo against Ruben (Shotgun) Olivares at the Forum in Inglewood, approximately 35 miles west. Both fighters were 118-pound sluggers and had records of almost all knockouts of their opponents. I promised Craig, Doug and Richard a thrilling battle between the little men, and by 4 PM we were on the road. Our excitement reached fever pitch, and finally we exited the San Diego Freeway at Century to travel east through Inglewood to buy our tickets for the night’s card. Craig drove the family Buick Riviera, a creme-colored elegant tough guy chariot with muscle under the hood.
We ran into traffic, however, and proceeded at a crawl. That didn’t bother us because we were way early. Soon a sense of foreboding seeped into our young hearts, however, because the sprawling Forum parking lot lay as a shimmering vision ahead in the haze, if we stared hard enough to see it.
We continued and saw the crowded sidewalks. Craig probably said, “Excellent! A good crowd!” The traffic gave opened in its inexplicable way and we hurried forward, to within four blocks of the big arena.
Another block and although we tried not to believe our own eyes, the male citizens of Baja, Sonora and many from Durango had already arrived to see the fight, in dozens of buses, hundreds of pickup trucks and numberless other vehicles. The streets from three blocks away in every direction teemed with Mexican men from about sixteen to seventy, working men, ranch hands, laborers, men in cowboy hats and boots, and they walked closely together and jostled each other genially. Of course, none of us knew enough Spanish to order a tamale. We felt like we were on one of our trips to Tijuana.
Craig laughed. I wasn’t ready to give up yet. I promised I’d get us all tickets, so I opened the door, and waded into the crowd of Latino humanity. Gallantly, Craig followed. The average height of the Mexican men was probably 5’7” or so and I was almost but not quite 6’3”, and Craig six even. We trudged through this roiling, rolling ocean of black hair and cowboy hats and sombreros, where were no sea gulls flew, only the chatter of fifty or seventy five thousand or more Spanish-speaking tongues, all bent upon buying tickets, cold beers from the strolling vendors without licenses, posters of ChuChu or Shotgun and other wares. Mi amigo and I saw in one tragic vision our mission was hopeless, as two pale-faced giants in a heaving, boisterous archipelago of fight fans.
A little downhearted but not defeated, we reversed our course and set sail on foot for the Riviera. I distinctly remember the middle class 1960s Orange County Caucasian horror we felt as we noticed the fans guilelessly stepping into temporary Port-A-Potties clearly marked WOMEN, and our tender hearts sank when we discovered groups of men placidly emptying their bladders on the curbs and shallows of the parking lot.
I don’t know about Craig, but I was a provincial sap about it all, and began to worry about reaching safety. There was no need to, because not a single Mexican man so much as noticed us in their fiesta spirit. When we finally reached the Good Ship Riviera and marked a course to the north. Craig broke into cheerful laughter. We joined him.
We discussed how 75,000 or so men could possibly fit in the 20,000 or so-seat arena. We had no doubt that would, but we were shut out and had been foolish enough to believe we could obtain tickets at the eleventh hour.
No doubt we found a place to eat next or more correctly, gorge. Probably Tommy's Chili Burgers at Beverly & Rampart, ten miles across the city in the Westlake District where no Lancers hung their hats. That’s how we rolled, and Craig knew how to live. We laughed about that day the rest of our lives.