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John Paul Scott Jr. ’64

John Paul Scott Jr., 1973, in Mississippi. Paul was always a nomadic person. Summers while in high school, he hitchhiked around the country, and continued using that mode of transportation unless he owned his own set of wheels. He enrolled at Reed in fall 1960, but dropped out before the Christmas break, even though his academic performance was excellent. He stayed in Oregon, working as a surveyor’s assistant in Astoria as part of the planning for the Astoria-Megler Bridge across the mouth of the Columbia River. He returned to Portland most weekends to pursue his new passion for folk dancing and to visit with Reed friends. At the Reed College International Folk Dance Camp in June 1961, he was asked by the dean of the United States international folk dance instructors, Vyts Beliajus, to drive Vyts across the U.S. to various folk dance camps, for no pay, but for the dance experience. Paul bought s 1953 Chevy from Jay Rosenberg ’63, and in four months racked up 13,000 miles, starting in Stockton, California, and ending in Denver, Colorado, via Kentucky, Maine, Quebec, and many points in between. During this time, Paul was the de facto copy editor and proofreader of Vyts’ folk dance magazine Viltis; this was a high point for the magazine. After that adventure ended, Paul returned to Portland, where he frequented the Reed campus and worked as a construction machine operator. He re-enrolled at Reed in the fall of 1962, beginning from scratch, but again dropped out before Christmas because of restlessness. In 1963, he enrolled at the University of Oregon and graduated in two years; soon afterward, he earned a PhD in psychology from Northwestern University, and went to an assistant professor position at the University of Peterborough, Ontario.  Along the way, he was briefly married. Following the end of that marriage, he reconnected with Angele Wilking Blanton ’64, who was then living in Franklin, Louisiana. Driving from Ontario to Louisiana in 1973 to marry Angele, he picked up a hitchhiker, who killed him; his body was found in 1987 at a highway rest stop in Mississippi, and is buried in Laramie, Wyoming, where his family had connections. [This memorial is based upon contributions by Jim Kahan ’64 and Angele Blanton, August 2014.]

Appeared in Reed magazine: online only

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