Donald James Scott, age 80, of Chetek, Wis., passed away Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2020.
Don was born in an area known as Bear Lake, on the shores of Big Bear Lake, Wis., 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 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 Vietnam 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 Vietnam 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 Vietnam 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 twenty 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 ten years and was in Crystal City, Va., 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 sisters, Jane (John Sr.) Effertz of Weyerhaeuser, Wis., Caroline Scott, of Ladysmith, Wis., Nancy Madejski, of Orlando, Fla., and Sandra (George) Tant of Altanta, Ga.; brother, Dennis (Sue) Madejski of Chetek; along with many nephews and nieces, including John (DeeDee) Effertz, Jr., of Eau Claire, Wis., Joan (Jeff) Good, of Spring Valley, Wis., Roger (Georgia) Scott, of Hudson, Wis., Elizabeth Scott (John Kohel, Jr.) of Altoona, Wis., Chastity (Brett) Ridout, of Weyerhaeuser, and Mindy (Matt) Hamilton of Chetek.
Don was predeceased by his wife, Charlotte; daughter, Michelle; brothers, Bob and Ray; sister, Yvonne Marie (Bonnie) Knowlton-Knaak, and her son, Robert Knowlton; 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, Wis., 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, the Disabled American Veterans and the Veterans of Foreign Wars as well as a member of the American Legion and the National Rifle Association along with its legislative arm, The Golden Eagles. He is a charter member of VFW Chetek Post 10331.
A wake service will be held Monday, Sept. 21, from 5–7 p.m. at the funeral home in Chetek. A rosary service will follow. Services will be held at 11 a.m. on Sept. 22 at St. Boniface Catholic Church in Chetek, with Fr. Bala Policetty celebrating the Mass. Visitation will be 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. Please make checks out to CMIDS Scholarship Foundation and mail to Elizabeth Scott, 903 Sandalwood Drive, Altoona, WI 54720.
Don is an enduring example of dedication, discipline and duty.
Fair winds and following seas.