PETER LEE SCOTT (1933 – 2017)
The Rev. Dr. Peter Lee Scott died on December 20, 2017 at the age of 84.
Peter was born on November 6, 1933 in Peoria, IL to Mary Slaughter Scott and the Rev. Clinton Lee Scott. He graduated from Canton, NY’s St. Lawrence University in 1955 with a Bachelor of Divinity and Certification in Religious Education. In 1955 he married the late Dorothy Ann Dutton, and they raised three children together: Michael, Rebecca, and Steven. Peter earned his Master of Divinity from St. Lawrence in 1957, and would later receive a Master of Arts in Religious Education from Connecticut’s Hartford Seminary Foundation (1962) and a Doctor of Divinity from Kentucky’s Lexington Theological Seminary (1972).
The Rev. Dr. Scott was ordained a Universalist minister on September 8, 1957 at the First Universalist Society in New Haven, CT, where he also carried out his first parish ministry. Peter was then called to serve Massachusetts’s Melrose UU Church from 1962 to 1967. In that year the Rev. Dr. Scott began ministering to the UU Church of Lexington, KY, where he would serve for seven years. Then Peter served three congregations in Wisconsin: First Universalist Unitarian Church of Wausau (1974 – 1978), the UU Fellowship in Marshfield (1978 – 1980), and the Fox Valley UU Fellowship (1979 – 1983). Peter married Faith Anne Grover in 1983 and he became the stepfather of Robert, Elizabeth, and Margaret. Peter then simultaneously served two churches in Virginia: the Unitarian Church of Norfolk—where Faith served as Director of Religious Education—and Newport News’s UU Fellowship of the Peninsula. The Rev. Dr. Scott was then called to the First Universalist Church of Southold, NY from 1987 to 1996, after which he served for one year as Interim minister at the UU Congregation of York, PA. Finally, the Rev. Dr. Scott was called to St. Paul Universalist Church in Little Falls, NY, where Faith was ordained and where the couple served as co-ministers. At this time Peter was also a supply preacher at the First Universalist Society in Salisbury Center, NY. In 1999 both Peter and Faith retired, but Peter continued to preach monthly at Salisbury Center and occasionally at St. Paul's in Little Falls; in 2013, he was elected Minister Emeritus by both congregations.
Peter carried out an array of service on behalf of the denomination. He maintained a near life-long relationship with Saco, ME’s Ferry Beach Park Association; he staffed youth camps there from 1958 to 1976, served on the Planning Committee, offered workshops, and co-authored a history of Ferry Beach’s first century. The Rev. Dr. Scott also held positions on a vast number of denominational boards and committees, including but not nearly limited to: the UUA Pamphlet Committee (1961 – 1967), Trustee and Building Committee of Lexington, KY’s Emerson Center (1967 – 1974), UUA’s Central Midwest District Board (1975 – 1981), and the St. Lawrence Foundation for Theological Education (President 1989 – 1994).
Peter was a passionate player, teacher and advocate of table tennis, which he played into his late 60s. He also played piano and guitar and wrote music, and he sang in school, college, church, and community choirs. Peter read, lectured, and wrote extensively about Universalist, Unitarian, and Unitarian Universalist history—including his unfinished work An American Courtship which traced the various attempts at uniting the Universalists and Unitarians prior to the 1961 consolidation. He loved model railroading and created several layouts with his children. He was also a (very cautious) sailor, claiming that his sailboat's name "Chicken of the Sea" described himself as skipper. Following in the footsteps of his minister father, Peter regularly celebrated Groundhog Day: developing sermons, liturgies, and carols for that holy day midway between the winter Solstice and the spring Equinox.
As Peter’s beloved Faith noted after his death: “Peter much disliked the closing in of increasing darkness and shortening days between the autumn Equinox and winter Solstice. He died on December 20, the day marking the end of the darkness and the return of the light.”
He is survived by his wife and colleague the Rev. Dr. Faith Grover Scott; children and stepchildren Michael (Kelly), Rebecca, Robert, Steven (Lori), Elizabeth, and Margaret (David); grandchildren and step-grandchildren Shawn, Rhiannon, Courtney, Erin, Shaina, Lauren, Shannon, Raven, Astrid, and Augustus; and great-grandchildren Cody, Raene, Talon, and Caylynn.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Peter Lee Scott Memorial Fund at St. Paul's Universalist Church, 565 Albany St, Little Falls, NY 13365.
A memorial service will be held at 2pm on Saturday, April 14, 2018 at Acacia Village, 2160 Bleecker Street, Utica NY 13501.
Notes of condolence may be sent to the Rev. Dr. Faith Scott at B-148, Acacia Village, 2160 Bleecker St, Utica, NY 13501; and at email@example.com.