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Grangers mourn passing of Past National Pres. John Scott

By Malpezzi Funeral Home (2/11/12)

  FEBRUARY 12, 2012 --

John Walker Scott, age 94, of Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, passed away Friday, February 10, 2012, in the Harrisburg Hospital in the presence of his family. John was born in Robinson Township, Allegheny County on December 8, 1917, the son of Frank Walker Scott and Nellie DeVassie Scott. He was married to Dorothy Irene McCandless Scott from 1939 until her death in 1994, and to Helen Paden Scott from 2001 until her death in 2010.

John grew up on his grandfather’s farm in Allegheny County, where he lived with his parents and sisters, Dorothy Scott Neel and Martha Grace Scott. In 1936 the family moved to their farm in Franklin Township, Butler County, where John lived until 1963, when the Commonwealth acquired the farm through eminent domain to become part of Moraine State Park. When the Scotts arrived in Butler County their new farm adjoined the farm of B.H. and Phoebe McCandless, whose eldest daughter Dorothy was away at Slippery Rock State Teachers College. The next year Dorothy received her teaching certificate and returned home to be the teacher at the one-room Island Independent School, which was located just north of the Scott farm. That winter John shoveled the path to the school and fired the pot-bellied stove so the building would be warm when Dorothy arrived. They were married on August 25, 1939, and moved into the house they built on the farm in the spring of 1940.

In addition to operating the family farm with his father, John was a community leader. He was a member of the Butler Fair Board, the Butler County Health Board and the Agricultural Extension. He was a long-time deacon of the Mt. Zion Baptist Church at Isle and hauled all the stone and concrete products used to build the addition to the original church in the 1950’s. John was a founding member of the Slippery Rock Area Joint School Board and served as President of the Board when the remaining one-room schools in the District were closed and the current high school building was built in 1959. In 1960 John was named the “Butler County Man of the Year.” In 1937 John joined the Grange, also known as the Patrons of Husbandry, as a member of Unionville Grange, No. 1971. The Grange would become the focus of much of his adult life. He held every office in the local and Pomona (county) Grange and served on the State Executive Committee. When the farm was acquired by the State, John was elected Master of the Pennsylvania State Grange, and the family relocated to Mechanicsburg. During John’s tenure as State Master the Grange was instrumental in a major reform of the state’s eminent domain law. The “Eminent Domain Code of 1964” greatly expanded the protection of landowner rights, insuring for the first time that property owners would receive 80% payment within 60 days of the condemnation, without prejudice to their right to seek fair compensation thereafter in court. John was also directly involved in the adoption of the Susquehanna River Compact which led to the creation of the Susquehanna River Basin Commission.

In 1968 John was elected Master of the National Grange, headquartered in Washington, D.C. For the next 12 years he led the Grange at the national level, crisscrossing the country with Dorothy to build membership and programs, travelling abroad as an ambassador for American Agriculture, and providing counsel to Presidents Nixon, Ford and Carter. While John was the National Master a commemorative postage stamp honoring the Grange was issued and the Grange satisfied the mortgage on its national headquarters building at 1616 H Street, N.W., the only privately owned structure in the “Federal Square” sector of Washington D.C.

In 1980 John returned to his home in Mechanicsburg. Shortly thereafter he was employed by the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture as the Chief of the Fruit and Vegetable Inspection Division. He retired from the State in 1990. After his retirement John volunteered at the Harrisburg Hospital, accumulating over 10,000 hours of volunteer service. Although John had to leave high school as a teenager because of family farm responsibilities, education was always important to him. He earned his high school diploma from Cumberland Valley High School in 1986, as a member of its adult degree program in time to attend the 50th reunion of his original high school class.

John is survived by three sons and three daughters-in-law: James Walker and Carolyn Balko Scott; Thomas W. and Jane E. Scott; and David M. and Patty Scott. He is also survived by six grandchildren: Ann Scott Rowland, John Andrew, Matthew Walker, Eric Thomas, Rebecca Lynn, and Julie Christina. Additionally, he is survived by ten great-grandchildren: Isabella Faith, Sophia Jane, Gavin Walker, Efren James, Alexander Dagohoy, Ripley Kenneth , and Maddox Thomas Scott, as well as Sean Walker, Kelan Martin, and Brady Andrew Rowland. He is also survived by his niece, Jean Scott Neel of Butler, and two step-children, Sylvia Shoup and Jeff Paden.

Services to celebrate John’s life will be held at 11:00 AM, Tuesday, February 14 at St. Paul’s U.C.C. church, Mechanicsburg, officiated by Pastor John Ward-Diorio. There will be a viewing at the church from 6:30 to 8:30 Monday evening as well as from 10:00 to 11:00 AM Tuesday. There will be a luncheon at the church after the service. Burial will take place privately thereafter in the Mechanicsburg Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the church at 626 Williams Grove Road, Mechanicsburg, PA 17055, or to The Unionville Grange, 5157 Brown Road, Butler, PA 16001-9642.

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