Dawn read the following for Randy at Greg's memorial service in Sweetwater on Sept. 19, 2009.
MEMORIES OF GREG
The connection between Greg and I goes back to before we were born. My parents and his parents were friends, and we were born two months apart back in 1948 (Greg was older). Greg's aunt Todd signed my baby book as the nurse at my delivery. One of my earliest memories of Greg is of spending the night over on James Street in Sweetwater. He and I were hiding under the covers with a flashlight looking at comic books after his mother made us go to bed and turn off the lights. As we grew older, I remember the two of us singing along with the Everly Brothers, Roy Orbison, and Marty Robbins on his father's stereo. Greg's dad, J.W., had the coolest stereo system in town, with huge speakers mounted in the ceiling. Greg developed his love of music early -- got it from his dad, I guess. Being in and out of the Scott household of years, I watched all his younger brothers and sisters grow up. They were almost like family to me, as were his parents, J.W. and Alice. Mealtimes around the table were always a big project, as you can imagine. I can still remember Alice buzzing around the kitchen, cooking and organizing dinner.
In Junior High, Greg and I joined the Band. Greg played the clarinet and I played trumpet. When we were 14 or 15, we decided to learn the guitar. We took lessons from Royce Porter in the front room of my house. The first things we learned were C, A minor, F and G chords and "Maleguena." We got together with Mal Richards, Tony Neitzler, Kenny Bonner, and my little brother, Travis, and formed a band, "The Malfunctions." After some practicing, we entered a "Battle of the Bands" competition -- and Won!! The winner got to play for a local dance at the Elks Lodge. After the dance, when we were paid our portion of the door, Greg turned to me and with a big smile on his face and said, "I can't believe people actually pay us money to have so much fun." I think from then on Greg decided that entertaining people was going to be his way of "making a living without having to work." Over the years he became quite good at doing just that, and loving everyminute of it.
When Greg met Pearly I think his life became complete. In all my years of knowing Greg, I had never seen him so happy and so much in Love. They had 20 wonderful years together, living the life they both loved in Northern Colorado. Pearly let Greg be Greg, and Greg let Pearly be Pearly -- and it worked. Their happiness was obvious any time you were around them. When they came to visit, life revolved around music, dinners at the house, target shooting on the mesa, hitting the casinos, and "where are we going for lunch today?"
Greg is gone now, and I will miss those times. His music, his laugh, and his kindness to everyone he ever met will be remembered by all who knew him. He touched so many people in his life and left everyone, myself included, with many fond memories that we will carry with us for the rest of our lives. So, until we meet again somewhere down the trail of life, I will say "Adios, my friend -- see you later."
By Don Densmore
There are those here who knew Greg Scott longer than I did. In particular those who are graduates of East Ridge Elementary got a head start in that regard. Still I knew Greg for almost a half century and consider him to have been a very dear friend.
We met in the seventh grade - we both played clarinet in band - and during the time before and after class, and when Mr. Patterson was working with the other horn sections, we had a lot of time for conversation. I remember we hit it off well, and although I don’t really remember the details of our conversations, I do remember one subject on which we were in absolute agreement: Marty Robbins was the greatest of the greats, and music didn’t get any better than his “Gunfighter Ballads”.
We continued as friends throughout our school years in Sweetwater, but we really began to develop our friendship in earnest when we went to college in the fall of 1966. The band that Greg had helped form (some of you may remember “The Malfunctions”) went to college, and since not every member made the trip, some rearranging needed to be done, which is how I became a part of the group. So began a close association that would last the better part of five years, a period when I really got to know and appreciate Greg fully.
Greg and I shared a dorm room at the University of North Texas; we were together on a daily basis; the band played most every weekend, and occasionally on weekends when we had nothing else lined up, we came to Sweetwater, rented the American Legion Hall and sponsored our own dance.
During the summer of 1967 “Malfunction” was engaged as the house band at Yellowstone National Park – a true fantasy job. They paid us each eighty dollars a week to play a couple of hours four nights a week for the park employees – college students from all over the United States. During our days off we would go trout fishing and sightseeing, soaking in the beauty of that beautiful area.
We returned to school in the fall and continued to play regularly. We moved back to Sweetwater for a short while due to family matters, playing when we could with musicians in the area. We moved back to Denton in 1969, reformed the group (named “Phoenix”, because it rose up from the ashes of “Malfunction”), and for the next year we lived and played and were locally successful. This was the time when Greg started getting serious about his guitar-playing (and I started thinking seriously about whether I really wanted to do this the rest of my life).
In June of 1970, we finally did what we had been talking about doing for years: Greg and I, along with the entire band made the move to Boulder, Colorado. When we got settled there we prepared a place to practice in basement of our big house, but while taking a break during our first practice session, I looked at Greg and said “Do you really want to do this?” He looked back and said “Not really.” So we went back into the practice room and announced that we were disbanding group. I didn’t realize it at the time, but I would never play music with Greg again.
Though no longer performing together, we continued as close friends, living in the big house along with several other friends, loving life in Colorado. In the fall I got married and Greg was my best man. The following summer Greg unexpectedly had to relocate to another part of the state, and soon thereafter circumstances landed me back in Texas with another band. After two more groups, I retired from professional music, took a construction job and became a father. As circumstances would have it, it was several years before I saw Greg again, and although we would never again have the close association that we had enjoyed since we left for college in 1966, my affection for Greg as a friend is as strong today as ever.
Obviously many people associate Greg Scott with music, and that is understandable. During my years with Greg, we were always playing music together, and since we parted company almost four decades ago, there has only been one occasion that I remember - once when I met him at a restaurant for breakfast – when he did not at some point break out his guitar and start singing. He loved music and he loved to perform; he was good at it; he was entertaining.
Now having said that, I have to say that when I think of Greg Scott, I do NOT think of him primarily as a musician. Over the years I have known many very good musicians, and the fact of the matter is that many very good musicians are self-absorbed jerks; Greg was not. So then it was not his musical talent that made him the good friend and the good person that he was. So what were the qualities that made Greg so dear to us?
For one thing Greg was humble. Now humility sometimes gets a bad rap. Humble people are sometimes pictured as timid, withdrawn or apologetic. That certainly does not describe Greg Scott (nor does it for that matter describe true humility). Greg was humble in that he did not exalt himself above his fellow; he did not consider others to be beneath him or inferior. Consequently Greg was very approachable. You were comfortable in his presence. He was completely tolerant of differences in viewpoint, opinion or taste that you might have, provided you extended him the same courtesy.
Yet his humility was in perfect balance with his self confidence. While he didn’t consider others to be beneath to him, neither did he consider others to be above him or superior. I think about that picture on the class website of him with Willie Nelson. Of course, you can only tell so much from a photograph; knowing Greg however, I have no doubt that while he may have admired and respected Willie’s artistry and celebrity, he was in no way intimidated by the man or uncomfortable in his presence.
When someone has these two qualities - humility and self confidence - in balance, as Greg did, he is comfortable in the company of others. But Greg took it a step further: he wasn’t just comfortable around people, he liked people; he was amiable. He actually reached out to others to make that personal connection, even if they were strangers. He had true love of fellowman.
Passion was another quality that Greg had in abundance. He did nothing in a perfunctory or half-hearted way. He was passionate about everything he did, whether he was playing golf, herding cattle, playing the guitar, telling a story, hunting arrowheads, talking with a friend, laughing. He had a wonderful sense of humor and from the very beginning of our friendship I was always amazed at the feeling and passion in his laugh.
Greg also had immense pride - not arrogance, but pride in what he did, pride in workmanship. I remember when he took up playing the guitar in earnest in the spring of 1969. I thought he was going to drive me crazy. Day-after-day, he just played and played and played and then played some more. Learning an instrument is not easy, but Greg would not cut himself any slack, he would not even slow down until he could be proud of his playing.
When you combine these qualities that I have mentioned, qualities that Greg undeniably possessed: his incredible balance of humility and self confidence, his love for fellowman, the passion with which he undertook all that he did, his pride in workmanship, and of course his obvious love of music, and you add to that mix a good set of lungs and a great set of pipes, what you end up with is what Greg possessed and shared: some real good music and real good friendships. Indeed we have relished that over the years.
On a purely personal note I am grateful that the decision was made by his family, after scattering a portion of Greg’s ashes in his beloved home of Colorado, to bury the remainder here at this sacred spot, sacred already as the resting place of his parents, and all the more so now. Greg loved Colorado; that was his chosen home. But this part of the world was also special to him as well; this is the place of his birth, the place where he was raised; it was here that Greg came to be who he was.
There is for me another sacred spot, not six miles from here. My grandparents lie there along with my great grandparents, many aunts and uncles, great aunts and uncles and a beloved daughter. My parents will rest there and in time so will I. And I know that it won’t matter to me when I’m gone, and I know also that in another few decades, no one will know who either of us were, much less that we were friends; still it brings me great deal of satisfaction now to know that my ashes will rest within walking distance of those of my old and dear friend.
Greg was barely sixty-one years old when he passed. Some might say that he died young; that his life was cut short. If we measured his life based on the number of days he lived on the earth after bursting forth as the beginning of a new Scott generation, then yes, we could definitely say that Greg died young. If however we were to measure his life based on the fullness of the life that he lived while among us, then it would more fitting to say that “Greg Scott died at the ripe old age of sixty-one”, because indeed Greg loved life, lived it to the full, and lived it on his own terms.
He was a dear a friend to me - to many of us - and we will miss him dearly.
By Blythe Terrell
(The Steamboat Pilot & Today)
Steamboat Springs — Hayden-based musician Greg Scott died Monday night (July 20, 2009) at a cabin in North Routt County. He was 61.
The western-style musician and Texas native started performing in Steamboat Springs in 1973 as part of a rotating tour of ski towns. He moved to Routt County in 1978 and lived in Hayden with his wife, Pearly Gates, at the time of his death.
L.D. Shoffner had been friends with Scott since joining his band in 1977. The men, along with Thom Ward, made up Whitfield Ward Jamboree.
“He played music his whole life,” Shoffner said. “That was his living, and he played western music, cowboy music — not your daily country and western that you hear on the radio. It was good ol’ western music.”
Routt County Coroner Rob Ryg said Scott died in his sleep in a cabin at Big Red Park. The park is off Forest Service Road 500 northeast of Hahn’s Peak in the Routt National Forest.
“Him and his band were playing for this big group of cowboys out there that were riding around and camping in various spots,” Ryg said.
An autopsy is scheduled for Thursday. Ryg said nothing was suspicious about the death.
“They had gone out to dinner, came home, went to bed, and he never got up this morning,” he said.
Scott, a guitarist, harmonica player and singer, loved Marty Robbins and the Guy Clark song “Texas Cookin’,” Shoffner recalled.
Scott Flower was friends with Scott for 34 years, and they were roommates at a couple of ranches. The musician was the best man at his wedding, Flower said.
“He’s in a good place,” Flower said. “He died in his sleep, which was very comforting to him and the family, I’m sure, but his music was never better, and Sunday night he was happier than I’ve ever seen him.”
He remembers Scott as having several passions.
“He loved to ride horses in Brown’s Park and play music — those were his two favorite things in life, and, of course, Pearly Gates,” Flowers said.
Scott played a regular gig at Steamboat Smokehouse and performed at Ghost Ranch Saloon and the Haven Assisted Living Center in Hayden. He’d performed at the Tugboat Grill & Pub, the Hayden Farmers Market and the memorial service in February for Jim Temple, who helped found Steamboat Ski Area.
Scott explained his love for the valley during a January interview with the Pilot & Today:
“There was something about the country around here, obviously; we’re all drawn to that,” Scott said. “But I think, for me, the people were the difference. And I think it still offers that. Even with all the growth that Steamboat’s experienced and still experiences, I think it’s a very unique place, and I think the people make it that way.”
According to Scott’s Web site, in 2004, Hayden produced a DVD focusing on the town’s history and growth. Scott wrote the song “Hayden’s Where My Heart Is.” Scott and his song are featured on the DVD. The song also became the title of the production.
Rod Hanna said he knew Scott from working as the ski area’s public relations director. Hanna would see Scott out performing, and both participated in the Sombrero Stable horse runs led by local legend Pat Mantle.
“The kind of music that Greg played was so apropos, so fit the Steamboat lifestyle, kind of that laidback Western feeling that we all enjoy in Steamboat,” Hanna said.
Scott also was a skilled golfer, he said, which few people know. Hanna described Scott as a great person to be around.
Scott was “not real loud and boisterous but just a really approachable, friendly, unassuming guy,” he said.
Shoffner noted that Scott was about more than just music. He loved to help local ranchers with haying and their cattle.
“He played western music at night, but in the daytime, he lived the Western lifestyle,” Shoffner said. “I was just over at his house looking at his cowboy hat, one of his cowboy hats — all sweat stained and hanging by his chair.”
A memorial service hasn’t been scheduled.
I just got off the phone with Patricia Rains, Greg Scott’s little sister, and with heavy heart I must report, in case you haven't heard, that Greg died last night in his sleep, apparently of a heart attack. He did not die at home, inasmuch as he was currently involved in a cattle drive. He had gone to bed last night reading a book, and when he was late for work this morning - which was not like Greg - they checked and found him passed away in his bunk, with a smile on his face.
It has not yet been determined what the burial arrangements will be. Greg had expressed to family members his desire to be buried in Sweetwater, but I believe his family will defer to Pearly’s wishes in this matter.
Greg lived life on his own terms. I considered him a dear friend and his passing is a great personal loss to me, as I am sure it is to many others.
From: Marilyn K Kuss
Sent: Thursday, July 23, 2009 5:28 AM
I am sooooo saddened by this news….he was precious…I’ve known him really all of my life. He did always have a smile on his face….he will be missed….he loved reunions & Swtr…his family & friends….he’s strumming away in heaven now!
From: Christie, Billie S
Sent: Thursday, July 23, 2009 2:08 AM
What a shock to learn about my cousin but thanks. Had not seen him in forever. He and my brother were closer and my Dad. Called Mom and Dad and they had not heard either.
From: Loreta O’Donald
To: Linda Kiser Miller
Sent: 7/22/2009 8:05:37 P.M. CDT
I am so saddened by the passing of our friend, classmate, singer, and cowboy! Greg was such a kind, caring, fun friend. He allowed me to use one of his songs at my dad's funeral which was so fitting of the Ranching and farming lifestyle that we grew up around .
My thoughts and prayers are with his family at this time. Now the cowboy will smile on us from heaven.
Loreta O'Donald Wells
All Smokehouse photos by Matt Stensland
(including portrait at top of page)
Jim Whitfield is Greg Scott's cousin. He gave me permission to add this to Greg's Page. Thank you, Jim. --Linda Kiser Miller.
By Jim Whitfield
Linda- I just got back last night from Steamboat and wanted to bring you up to date on everything. All Greg's brothers and sisters and two cousins and their families were in town by Friday along with several of Pearly's nieces and her sister. We spent Friday and part of Saturday visiting and reminiscing about old times and Greg. Saturday night the town of Steamboat put on a "Celebration of the life of Greg Scott" at Wolf Run Ranch outside of S"boat in a large indoor arena. What a thing to behold! Over 400 people came with their lawn chairs and hearts full of love for Greg. There was a large stage erected for the speakers and musicians , complete with lighting, sound systems, and the largest array of musical equipment and instruments I'seen short of a large concert venue. Eighteen musicians that Greg had played with through the years were there,some travelling long distances to be there. It was a great reunion for everyone. There was plenty of food and "liquid refreshments" , just the kind of party Greg would have loved. The celebration went on til midnight in the arena, with lots of music and companionship between so many people whose lives Greg had touched over the years. A smaller group then moved down the hill to a bonfire and listened to music and stories til 3:30 a.m. I'm sure Greg was watching from somewhere and loving every minute of it. Please feel free to share this with our classmates - Hope it's not too long , had a lot to share. Love to all- Randy Stracener
From: Randy Stracener
To: Linda Kiser Miller
Sent: 7/29/2009 1:14:23 P.M. CDT
Subj: More Greg
Linda - the last email got too long [sorry] but I wanted to fill everyone in as regards to Greg's ashes. Part of his ashes will be brought back to Sweetwater and buried at the family farm beside his parents. There will be another memorial service and "celebration " of his life at that time, This will probably happen sometime in September, when it's a little cooler (hopefully) in West Texas. I'm sure everyone will be informed as soon as a time is set. The remainder of Greg's ashes will be scattered over the Douglas Mountains in northern Colorado, with a small portion going out to Greg and Pearly's garden where, to quote one of Greg's favorite songs "I can be pushin' up Homegrown Tomaters". What a life he led!! Once again, please feel free to share this with our classmates, as Greg loved each and every one of them. My best to all -Randy
From: Jim Whitfield
Date: Wed, 29 Jul 2009 13:47:45 -0500
Subject: Greg Scott Memorial
Hi all Bruce Scott, Gregs brother called me. He and Kathy just got back from Gregs memorial in Hayden. He said there were well over 400 people at the memorial. On Saturday the 18th Greg helped with a cattle drive, there were about 700 head of cattle that they drove from ranch to ranch.
On Sunday the 19th Greg and the band were off so they went mountain climbing and did some fishing, then they went out for supper. When they got back to their cabins Greg told one of his friends that he was a little short of breath, other than that he said the last two days were adventures he would always remember.
Greg told me several times that he could not believe the life he lives, just what he always wanted. Play music and work as needed on many surrounding ranches. Greg died in his sleep that night. The autopsy confirmed it was a heart attack. Greg was cremated and part of his ashes were scattered over the high desert West of Hayden and Southwest of Maybell in the Danforth hills. This area is also in the valley. Greg sang about the valley in several of his songs. Bruce thinks, but not sure the rest of his ashes will be buried in the family cemetery on the family ranch South of Sweerwater.
Bruce and Pearly and others haven't fully decided when Greg's memorial service will be held in Sweetwater, they think it will be September the 18th. When a confirmed date is determined I or someone will let you know.
A Memorial Fund has been set up in Greg's name for the benefit of Pearly. If you would like to make a contribution to it send it to: Greg Scott Memorial Fund 1st National Bank of the Rockies PO Box 700 Hayden, 78639 or call 970-276-3731. Pearly is doing as well as can be expected, someone is with her and will be thru Friday. Then gut wrenching reality will set in when she is home alone. Keep her in your thoughts.
By Steamboat Pilot & Today
January 30, 2009
Until he started playing an après ski solo set at Steamboat Smokehouse two weeks ago, it had been almost 15 years since Greg Scott scheduled a regular bar gig.
The western-style musician had focused on private events and a few public shows since Sunday night sessions at the Smokehouse stopped in the mid-’90s. But a slowdown in private parties and a chance to come back to his saloon-style home brought Scott and his story-driven songs back to downtown Steamboat Springs.
Scott and Smokehouse owner Fritz Aurin said the two-hour sets give locals and visitors a reason to come downtown three afternoons a week.
“When Fritz (Aurin) and I got together, one of the key things was that there are always people advertising for a happy hour, but nobody is advertising for entertainment,” Scott said, noting that Bear River Bar & Grill in Gondola Square often offers après ski music.
“There are things going on, but the way I was looking at things, there’s a crowd that comes downtown every day. … I just thought there might be something there to offer folks,” Scott said.
The response to Scott’s reappearance in a Steamboat bar was strong in the first three days of his Smokehouse gig, Aurin said.
“I’ve been really pleased with the start so far and how many locals who have come out who are longtime friends of Greg, and some who have just heard him at private parties,” Aurin said.
A Texas native, Scott started performing in Steamboat in 1973 as part of a constantly rotating tour of ski towns.
“I’d be on the road pretty much year-round winter and summer, and wherever I was performing that’s where I lived,” Scott said. Even before he landed in Routt County in 1978, Scott said he spent as much time here as he could.
“There was something about the country around here, obviously; we’re all drawn to that,” he said. “But I think, for me, the people were the difference. And I think it still offers that. Even with all the growth that Steamboat’s experienced and still experiences, I think it’s a very unique place, and I think the people make it that way.”
Scott’s people-focused songwriting style reflects that quality. In cowboy music originals and covers of his favorite artists, the Hayden-based guitarist puts an easy feeling to an après ski crowd.
“I like story songs, ballads,” he said. “There are a lot of words in some of these songs — those kinds of songs are going to be long, because they tell stories, and I’ve always been partial to that kind of music.”
Scott labels his brand of music “western” — leave out the “country.”
“I do some cowboy stuff with local flavor that talks about the area around Steamboat and around Routt County, but I prefer to label it more western or more cowboy,” he said. “I think people have a little bit of an idea what to expect if they haven’t heard me by using that label.”
Most of Scott’s covers don’t fit as easily into the cowboy or western genre, and he’s made songs by Jimmy Buffett and James Taylor his own.
“If you stick with music that you like in terms of covers, songs that you like are just easier to learn and are just more fun to learn,” he said. “If I hear a James Taylor song, and I think to my taste I just really do like that — if it’s a song that you like it’s a song that’s probably going to be fun to perform.”
Aurin and Scott said they appreciate the chance to offer live music before late-night bar hours.
“All the music downtown is late-night music, and I just thought it’d be nice if we had some après ski downtown,” Aurin said.
“People may want to get off the mountain and just listen to some laidback music, especially western music that’s in character not just with us (at Smokehouse) but with Steamboat.”
By TOM ROSS
The Steamboat Pilot & Today
When Scott Flower led Rock into the riding arena at Wolf Run Ranch on Saturday night, more than 400 people rose from their chairs out of respect. I can’t imagine that I was the only one who had to bite down hard to control my emotions.
Rock, a 22-year-old quarterhorse, was the faithful companion of Gregory Whitfield Scott for more than 15 years until Greg died in his sleep the night of July 20 in a remote cabin in northern Routt County.
Greg was Northwest Colorado’s favorite singing cowboy, one of those special personalities who define a community for longtime residents and loyal visitors. Subtract him from the Yampa Valley and the cultural landscape has been irretrievably diminished. But as we’ve learned so poignantly this summer, life must and will go on.
Just the same, when the horse that carried Greg down many a trail appeared in the arena on a perfect July evening when sun beams literally streamed down from the clouds, emotions were close to the surface.
The horse’s coat had been groomed to such a gloss you’d think he was on his way to the Texas State Fair. His late rider’s boots, filled with spears of white gladiolas, were reversed in the stirrups, a salute typically reserved for fallen cavalry troopers.
I don’t want to get all sloppy on you. I wasn’t really that close to Greg. Sure, we had a lot of affable conversations throughout three decades, but so many of you knew the man better than I.
Way back in the 1980s, I was honored to make a formal portrait of Greg and his musical partner, Thom Ward, for a CD cover. It’s a little piece of Steamboat history I’ll treasure. But I didn’t think I’d have to struggle to control my emotions at Greg’s celebration of life.
During the eulogy, Jack McEncroe recalled the first time he met Greg, a perfect stranger, while pumping gas at the old Husky station on U.S. Highway 40.
“He stuck out his hand, said ‘Hi, I’m Greg Scott. I’m setting up to play at the Tugboat! Why don’t you follow me?’ And I followed him.”
The chance meeting led to a long friendship.
“His twinkling eyes took in everything, and (those details) found their way into his songs. He was Yampa Valley’s ambassador to the world. And yes, John Denver did resemble Greg Scott,” McEncroe said.
Recalling one of Greg’s best-loved recordings, he said, “Oh Lord, I’m longing for those days, of riding with the wind.”
Greg spent his last days riding Rock with the Roundup Riders organization in Big Red Park, earning his 20-year badge with that fabled outfit. At night, he and his band played cowboy songs around the campfire. What a time they must have had!
Bandmates Eric Barry and Jon Gibbs stood up to reassure the assembly Saturday that Greg’s last day on the planet could not have been more idyllic.
He got up Monday morning and was eager to go fishing in King Solomon Creek. The fellows bragged that they caught close to 4,000 fish but kept only 10.
The men went to town for lunch, strummed a little guitar in the afternoon and dragged themselves back down to Dutch Creek Guest Ranch for dinner. Life must have been good in Big Red Park last week.
“That day, we were like three little boys playing in the stream and picking guitar,” Barry said. “We were all pretty tired, and we actually went to bed at 9:45 p.m. He went with a smile.”
All day Saturday, Flower and his wife, Trish, bass player extraordinaire Willie Samuelson and sound man David Buffalo worked like drovers to ensure that Greg’s family would experience a celebration of his life that reflected how much this community loved him.
The result was a memorable concert where musicians walked on and off stage in a moveable feast of Western music.
Ward observed that Greg lived a life of his own choosing, and proceeded to sing two newly composed songs.
“He was singing songs about cowboys and keeping that lifestyle alive,” Ward crooned. “He’s keeping the lifestyle alive.
One of Greg’s all-time favorite songs was “Homegrown Tomatoes.” He always sang it with great gusto, and if I had a buck for every time he sang it in public, I could afford a custom-made guitar.
Someone close to the family shared with me that the majority of Greg’s ashes would find their way home to their West Texas ranch. But at least a handful will be reserved for a special garden plot near his Yampa Valley home in Hayden.
The photo above of "The Malfunctions" from 1965 was shared by Randy Stracener. He wrote, "Thought everyone would get a hoot out of this."
Band members in the photograph are, from left, Mal Richards, Kenny Bonner, Randy Stracener and Greg Scott, all Class of 1966. Other band members not shown were Travis Stracener (Randy's younger brother) and Tony Neitzler (also Class of 66.)
Randy Stracener has promised to share a story to go with the pic when time allows. Please feel free to add any comments and memories of their band.
From: Don Densmore
To: Linda Miller
Sent: 8/4/2009 11:39:04 A.M. CdT
Thank you so much for sharing Randy’s picture of the original Malfunctions. I am elated to be able to add it to my meager collection. Soon after the news of Greg’s passing, I went through my box of old pictures hoping to find some of him, and I was fairly disappointed. All I found were three snapshots of not-so-good quality from the summer of 1967, when the Malfunctions was the house band at Yellowstone National Park (by that time Greg was the only remaining original member), and one snapshot of even worse quality that Greg had sent me from Colorado after I had moved back to Texas and had become a father. It made me reflect on what it was like for us back then, being young, having our entire lives ahead of us. The reason I had so few photos is because we saw little need of them to preserve the times, because we felt they would never end. Of course intellectually we knew we would grow old and die eventually, but it was so far away as not to merit serious thought. We were into the moment and felt we were immortal, indestructible. It is so hard to believe how quickly we did age, and now our friend is gone (of “natural causes” no less). When I turned over the picture from 1972 I found this notation: “2-17-72 May we always be as one!” The reality continues to sink in: what a good friend I have lost.
Thanks again Linda for all you do and have done in behalf of your classmates.
The following is the Eulogy that I gave for Greg and I wanted the family to have it and also, as promised to Randy, that I send it to the Class Memory Page. Our Valley lost a TREASURE and I know that you all, his family, lost more than that. Greg was a magical man, in a magical place, at a magical time. We will miss him greatly. My best, Jack
Greg Whitfield Scott
1948 - 2009
Thirty-one years ago I was pumping gas at the old Husky Station and the man pumping gas next to me said, "Hi, where are you from?" He had a big smile on his face and stuck out his hand asking if I knew anybody in town. I said that I did not and he said, "I’m Greg Scott and we’re setting up at the Tugboat where we’re playing tonight." He told me to follow him, which I did, and Anita and I have been following him ever since. That chance meeting grew into a close friendship that spans 3 decades, countless miles, numerous towns, and more bars than most livers could possibly survive.
He was a man for all seasons who captured the beauty of each and he and his friends put timeless memories into words. How many nights have we listened and visualized Baling Hay with Thom and Willie Nordmier, hanging on for 8 seconds with J.C., or Riding with the Wind with Scott, Trish, Hobie, Dean, and Greg? From the Wells Green Ridge Ranch, Greg threaded his beautiful Yampa Valley, to nights with Hank, Larry, Spanish, Jack, Fast, and Big Kid at the Tugboat. Life’s journey took him right past Fritz and The Smokehouse, through the town of Steamboat Springs, just north of The Wolf Run Ranch on Highway 40, enroute to where his heart was in Hayden, and home to Pearly. Throughout his life here those twinkling eyes took in every sight and he recorded every sound. Those sights and sounds tell the story of our traveling troubadour and The Yampa Valley’s Ambassador to the world, as they reemerge in his music and are spread far and wide.
That magical voice, unique sound, megawatt smile, and infectious and genuine manner broke down all barriers. He was right at home entertaining captains of industry, Hall of Famers, titans of music, Veterans, War Heroes, Round Up Riders, and all of us. He touched so many lives, and those he touched are all so much better for it.
How many of our weddings were made even more special? How many holidays, golf tournaments, patriotic gatherings, family reunions, and memorable occasions were greatly enhanced by Greg, LD, Thom, Willie, John, Randy, Dave, and in days gone by, Cow Patty and the Meadow Muffins, Whitfield Ward, and Greg Scott and Friends? Through it all Greg was the catalyst, the man who made it all happen. When people saw pictures of our wedding in 1982, the picture up here next to me was among them. Folks thought it was John Denver. We quickly informed them that Greg was much better, but yes, John Denver did resemble Greg Scott.
To know him was to love him and that love is forever. He became part of your family and your children grew up with him. He did not just play music for organizations but rather he became a tradition and every bit as important as any of the members. He played at all 12 of our CRO-AN Golf Tournaments, which benefited the children of those who made the ultimate sacrifice while fighting for our Country. Whitfield Ward opened in Reno for Tanya Tucker at a River Rat benefit for those same children. They stayed and played for our reunion and spent time with some of those children.
Greg, John, and now Willie have been the highlight of Aspenosium, our annual Fighter Pilot’s gathering here, for many years and once again became a part of all of us.
Years ago Anita and I returned home from flying after he had been staying at our house and found a letter from Greg on our bar. He told us of his love for his Country and his respect for those who fought for our freedoms. He felt that their sacrifice allowed him to live here, in the valley that he loved. He would never mention a price for entertaining for us, saying only, "I will be there and my friends will too."
Greg and his music are woven through all of our lives and all of our families, yet his generosity and kindness were as much a part of him as his music. He loved to help on the surrounding ranches, and he greatly admired the ranchers and their lifestyle which formed the fabric of so much of his music.
His enthusiastic approach to life and his appreciation for every day and everything are not found in many folks. Whether you were skiing, playing golf, riding, drinking, laughing or traveling it was always the same, he found magic and convinced you that this was really special. The glass was always half full, the day was always beautiful, we were always lucky, and tomorrow would be even better. When Greg first told me about a wonderful girl that he had met in Albuquerque, it came as no surprise that the love of Greg Scott’s life would be named Pearly Gates.
If your day is a train wreck, just put on one of his songs, think about his attitude and that great smile. I promise your day will improve. His legacy is his music, which will live on long after we all are gone. He is the gift that will always keep on giving. What Rod sees through his lens and transforms so beautifully to canvas, Greg brought to life in his music.
Greg was unique in every sense of the word, he lived and enjoyed life to the fullest, and he made your day every time you saw him......... until this past Tuesday. Our devastating loss, however, was viewed diferently by some other dear friends of all of ours.
He is once again in Hazie’s backyard making magic through his music ......... asking Doak to join him for Sugar Buggar while Skeeter rolls her eyes. He is also looking out for a stranger, as he did 31 years ago, to ask "Where are you from?" while sticking out his hand and saying, "Hi, I’m Greg Scott, follow me." I cannot imagine our lives if I had not. "Oh Lord, I am longing for those times once again, those days of riding with the wind."
Godspeed old friend, until we meet again.
Wolf Run Ranch
25 July 2009
thank you for what you brought to the yampa valley…may the force be with you!
“Legendary Music” will miss you at our gatherings. Gone but never forgotten. Your music will live on.
Godspeed, Greg. You were a source of joy to all of us.
Greg Scott, gracious, kind, talented, warm, loving human being that we could not afford to lose. He stood for everything that is good and always exhibited his love for his friends and his love of bringing his music to us. What will we do without him?
He stood there, tall at the mic
Although barely reaching five foot nine
His voice poured dreams upon us
Singing of tall pines and deep streams
With a gleam in his eye and soft smile
he gently pushed the song into our hearts
I am going to miss you.
Good Bye Scott . We all will miss you very much . During your short life you brought a lot of joy to many our lives . I know that I am not the only one with tears in my eyes this morning .
Greg was living in Nashville in early 1989 and came to visit Dawn and me in Albuquerque, New Mexico, on his way to Steamboat Springs for a musical performance. We met Pearly Gates in 1988 at an art function and had become good friends, so we invited her over for dinner to meet Greg. She already had dinner plans, but said she would stop by for a drink. Well, when Pearly met Greg she called her friend and said she thought she would have dinner at our house instead. After dinner, Pearly asked Greg if he had ever seen the lights of Albuquerque at night. (They are beautiful- there even has been a song written about them.) When Greg said he hadn't, Pearly said "Well, I'd love to show them to you." They must have really looked special that night because we didn't see Greg and Pearly till the next day at noon! Greg went back to Nashville, but he was already smitten. A few months later, he moved to Albuquerque. He and Pearly were together here for about a year and a half, but eventually Greg succumbed to the call of Northern Colorado, taking Pearly with him. Albuquerque's loss was Colorado's gain. They lived happily there for 19 years--what a wonderful time they had together!Randy and Dawn
"Greg Scott: A Yampa Valley Legend"
by Debbie Duncan
Yampa Valley’s adopted son, Greg Scott left this world to play for the cowboys in heaven this week. Greg passed away while attending one of his favorite yearly events, the Roundup Riders of the Rockies. This was his 20th year entertaining them.
He came to Colorado from Texas around 30 years ago but remained a singing cowboy for his life of 61 years. Results showed he died of a heart attack, in his sleep and in the wilderness of this area that he was so in love with.
The love of his life was Pearly Gates. Condolences doesn’t seem to be the right word but our hearts and prayers are with her now. She has lost her life mate and best friend. Though I believe he’ll be with her, one way or another. She’ll just have to look for him.
Greg’s life as a musician had made him very versatile. He’d played everywhere from dive bars and honky tonks to a wealthy friend’s lakehouse. He’d been to Nashville for a time in the 80s and was on the Hee Haw TV show with members of Whitfield Ward. He played weddings(including mine), sleighrides, and at fairs and events of all kinds.
Making new friends at every stop.
His stop was the Steamboat/Hayden area, where he made his home and the Yampa Valley was blessed to have him. He herded cattle and rode a horse and lived the life of a cowboy. No one could sing about it better..and even throw in a little Jimmy Buffett!
Greg Scott was an entertainer, a storyteller, a musician, a cowboy. Good and Kind. Generous and genuine.
And he was a friend of mine.
Greg Scott was a real Yampa Valley Cowboy…… via Texas.
“Sing it good for the cowboys in heaven. Sing it good and sing it loud.
We’ll miss you here….in the meantime,
Til we meet again in God’s Great House.”
|Last Updated ( Friday, 24 July 2009 )|
Rosalie wrote at 2:59pm on July 24th, 2009
Here is a Poem I carry with me in My Purse everywhere I go:
When Tomorrow Starts Without Me
When Tomorrow starts without me,
And I'm not there to see;
If the sun should rise and find your eyes
All filled with tears for me.
I wish so much you wouldn't cry
The way you did today;
While thinking of the many things,
We didn't get to say.
I know how much you love me
As much as I love you,
And each time that you think of me
I know you'll miss me too;
But when tomorrow starts without me,
Please try to understand
That an angel came and called my name
And took me by the hand
And said my place was ready
In heaven far above,
And that I'd have to leave behind
All those I dearly love.
But as I turned to walk away,
A tear fell from my eye,
For all my life I'd always thought
I didn't want to die.
I had so much to live for,
So much yet to do,
It seemed almost impossible
That I was leaving you.
I thought of all the Yesterdays,
The good ones and the bad,
I thought of all the love we shared
And all the fun we had.
If I could relive yesterday,
Just even for a while,
I'd say good-bye and kiss you
And maybe see you smile.
But then I fully realized
That this could never be.
or emptiness and memories
Would take the place of me.
But when I walked through Heaven's gates,
I felt so much at home.
When God looked down and smiled at me
From His great golden throne,
He said "This is eternity
And all I've promised you"
Today for life on earth is past,
But here it starts anew.
I promise no Tomorrow
But today will always last,
And since each day's the same day,
There's no longing for the past.
But you have been so faithful,
So trusting and so true.
Though there were times you did some things
You knew you shouldn't do.
But you have been forgiven,
And now at last you're free.
So won't you take my hand
And share my life with me?
So when tomorrow starts without me,
Don't think we're far apart
For every time you think of me,
I'm right here, in your heart.
... Growing up I knew Greg as Uncle Greg, [and Willie - you as Uncle Willie ] I've been missing you guys for years...and it broke my heart to hear about Uncle Greg. This poem means a lot to me. I keep it folded in my purse in the zippie pocket... When a friend dies (seem to happen too often these days) or a family member - I get it out, and I read it so I can think better thoughts. and Be happy for them for not having to suffer any longer..Because we all know how things are going these days..It's hard and unhappy times for now. But R.I.P. Uncle Greg - I'll always remember your piggy back and shoulder rides!! =]
I found this posted in the August 3rd Steamboat Pilot & Today & thought you might want to add it to the Memorial page. ( from Stan Browning )
Written by Chris B. Davidson. Very good. Linda
Written by Chris B. Davidson. Very good. Linda
I first met Greg Scott, unexpectedly, at one of the many parties given by Randy and Dawn Stracener over the years when I lived in Sweetwater, Texas.
As I climbed the steep stairs rising from the downtown street, I heard someone finger-pickin' an acoustic guitar and singing. Several enjoyable songs echoed through the tall room filled with people… sitting, sipping, and listening to every word of every song he sang. People normally partying so loud you couldn't hear each other talk.
Then someone next to me whispered, “Have you ever met Greg Scott?” I nodded a silent, “No”.
The next thing I knew, I was being introduced to “another musician from Sweetwater.” Greg took a break from his music and stood and shook my hand…
“Hey, Chris, I hear you sing and play a mean guitar?”, he said through a broad smile barely hidden by his mustache and his shiny glasses.
“I try… it's nice to meet you, Greg”, I replied and with that Greg graciously caught me off guard by handing me his acoustic guitar. I settled on the sofa beside him, strummed anxiously and finger picked a little to get the feel of the unfamiliar instrument… though it was so nice… both the “action” and “tone”… that like Greg… it all seemed familiar and comfortable right away.
We sat there and passed the guitar back and forth for an hour or more. Everyone sang along. I recall the last song I sang that night was, “Sweet Baby James” by James Taylor.
“I'm going to have to get around to learning that one when I get home”, he grinned and nodded slowly.
Later, I remember thinking that it was a perfect theme song for the life and the man that Greg “became”. It was a night I would never forget. There were three more parties through the years I attended. I was in the same place, at the same time with Greg Scott only four times in my whole life.
Now I hear… that Greg passed away in his sleep on July 20th.
Greg was a modern day bard, a truthful troubador, a minstrel, singer/songwriter, balladeer, poet, and historical jongleur. Some people have “a way with words” or “a way with music”. Greg Scott had “a way with people”. He wove his words and music through your very heart and soul and into your best times and some of your fondest memories. Some people take a whole lifetime to “touch your life” …to “inspire you” …and “to strum the strings of your heart”… and become “unforgettable”. For me, personally, it only took four nights in … at the Straceners.
Thank you for the inspiration and the music, Greg…
In tonight, praying for your family and loved ones and y'all remember:
“Nothing ever dies… it only changes”.
“Some cowboys just fade away… but this one's… goin' home”.
Chris B. Davidson
From Steamboat Pilot & Today
August 9, 2009
A week after Greg Scott’s sudden and overwhelming departure, mutual friends repeatedly have mentioned two things that hit them after the truly great memorial celebration: “Who will play for upcoming family events?” (Greg was our one and only choice); and Greg’s laugh, which was so special and distinct.
A close friend had brought us to Steamboat in the winter of 1990 on a long weekend. We headed up the gondola to Hazie’s, met the sleigh on the backside of the lifts, and were catching our breath from all this Yampa Valley beauty when we pulled up to Ragnar’s for dinner. The scenery at dusk was pretty heady stuff for us first-time Midwest flatlanders.
Bob Neville mentioned that a friend, Greg Scott, would be entertaining that night, and he wanted all of us to meet him between sets. We did so, and after the second set, Greg came by the table, smiled and asked, “Anyone have a request?”
When nobody offered, I joked, “How about ‘El Paso’ by Marty Robbins?”
My request was truly tongue-in-cheek. Nobody in the Midwest covered this amazing ballad — 7 1/2 minutes long with no repeating verses and subtle tempo changes that make, but mostly break, the song.
Apparently I picked the wrong cowboy and the wrong song for this particular joke.
Greg softly mentioned that it also was one of his favorite songs from his favorite artist.
Seven and a half minutes later, Falina was kissing the fallen cowboy goodbye, and I realized tears were running down my face. He didn’t just cover it — Greg lived this ballad. As the song ended, Greg nodded at me and caught me fumbling for a napkin to compose myself. I nodded back as nonchalantly as possible, but his song had caused me to come temporarily unhitched, and Greg knew it.
After the set, he strolled over to the table with his big, wide grin, and in a returning-the-joke tone said, “So, Tom, did you like it?”
Outdone, I uttered something sarcastic and juvenile like, “Well, it was all right.”
Greg Scott took a quick breath and bellowed his laugh.
We’ve all heard that laugh — so free and genuine and loud.
I’ll miss that laugh, and I’ll remember it well.
St. Louis, Mo.
2009, Sept.19,GregScottMemorial 005.jpg
In memory of Greg Scott, our music man
From Steamboat Pilot & Today
July 26, 2009
Greg Scott, gracious, kind, talented, warm, loving human being that we could not afford to lose. He stood for everything that is good and always exhibited his love for his friends and his love of bringing his music to us. What will we do without him?
From Steamboat Pilot & Today
July 26, 2009
I was just informed that Greg Scott passed away a few days ago. Sadly, his passing leaves a void in the Yampa Valley that may never be filled. Greg was my friend for more than 30 years, through my tenure in Steamboat and after I moved to Maui.
One of my happiest memories of Greg was during one of his visits to Maui. I arranged for a little golf outing on the Makena Course in south Maui. Our foursome included Willie Nelson, who has become a friend of ours here on Maui. Our kids grew up playing together and the Nelsons, when here, live very close by. If only you could have seen the smile on Greg’s face as we played that day.
Greg was a good golfer and easily pocketed the money wagered on the round. Later that same day, we visited with Willie at his home where he was working on the lyrics to a new song. He and Greg actually jammed together for a spell. Once again, you should have seen the smile on Greg’s face.
Greg was as much a part of the Yampa Valley as the More Barn, the Werners and Storm Peak. He wrote and sang about his love and passion for this beautiful place. He shared that passion with thousands of visitors and locals, and sadly, I don’t think he can ever be replaced.
We’ll miss you, Greg.
From Steamboat Pilot & Today
July 29, 2009
I met Greg Scott during a golf trip in Phoenix, and Greg was indeed a great golfer. His sense of humor, stories and helpful hints about the course made it a great four-day trip.
Greg raised the roof after a late afternoon round, and about 15 golfers sat around enjoying a few sundowners when Greg broke out his guitar and crooned some funny ditties and great campfire songs. A crowd gathered and stayed. I heard the course manager say to the bartender, “Stay open as long as they want, and keep that cowboy from getting thirsty!” What an end to the day, with lots of applause and cell phones calling other local friends to drop in and hear the “Stallion of the Smokehouse” light up the 19th hole.
Greg showed me Routt County, Steamboat Springs, the Yampa Valley and all the good golf and hospitality a Steamboat saddleman and singer could bestow. I stayed with Greg and Pearly last September at his home in Hayden. No better Colorado hospitality can be had. I listen to his CDs with a little more sadness, but I have to smile at the last refrain as the man went out “boots on” the way any Colorado horseman would choose to ride off.
Gregory Whitfield ScottGregory Whitfield Scott, 61, of Hayden/Steamboat Springs, Colo., passed away in his sleep Monday night, July 20, 2009. Greg was born in Sweetwater, TX, June 22, 1948, to James Whitfield (J.W.) and Alice G. Scott.