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Donald Frederick Scott

Donald Frederick Scott
of North Andover; 87

NORTH ANDOVER -- Donald Frederick Scott, 87, beloved husband of Helene O. (Schlegel) Scott, and a proud member of the Greatest Generation, passed away peacefully Monday evening at the Prescott House Nursing Home following a 3-year battle with Alzheimer's disease.

Born Aug. 21. 1925, the son of Donald and Evelyn (Strobel) Scott. Donald was raised in South Lawrence and attended the Breen School and Lawrence High School. Donald and his younger brother were raised by "Evie" and her father, Frederick, who regularly took the boys to Boston on the train to walk around the city and watch a ballgame.

Upon graduation from high school, Donald enlisted in the U.S. Navy and served throughout the Pacific Theater.

On May 11, 1945, in the waning days of the War, Donald's ship, the U.S.S. Bunker Hill, a massive aircraft carrier, was struck by two Japanese kamikazes less than 90 seconds apart.

The attack, off Okinawa, killed hundreds and wounded hundreds more. The ship, however, would not be sunk.

Under the banner headline "Battle of Bunker Hill, 1945 Edition," the June 28, 1945 edition of the Seattle Post Intelligencer chronicled the attack that killed 396 men and wounded 264.

"After dropping its bomb the Japanese pilot crashed among the planes parked on the flight deck," the newspaper account read. "Fortunately they weren't carrying any bombs, but they were fully gassed and tremendous fires broke out instantly."
"It was less than 30 seconds later that the second Japanese plane appeared from the same direction. Our anti-aircraft batteries hit it and it burst into flames, but it kept on coming. It dropped its bomb square amidships, near the middle elevator and continued on, one of its wings hitting the bridge."
Donald survived because in his duties as quarter-master, he was deep within the bowels of the mighty vessel, steering the ship when it was attacked.

The plight of the Bunker Hill was captured in the 2008 book, Danger's Hour, The Story of the USS Bunker Hill and Kamikaze Pilot Who Crippled Her.

The 500-page book was written by Maxwell Taylor Kennedy, the son of Robert F. Kennedy. The Bunker Hill never returned to service and within several months the War would end. Donald was honorably discharged.

Donald met his wife, with whom he would have celebrated his 63rd wedding anniversary Feb. 19, on a blind date arranged by one of his childhood buddies. In their later years, Donald and Helene enjoyed traveling to Bunker Hill reunions at locations across the United States.

After the war, Donald was hired by the local electrical utility, where he would work for nearly five decades.

It was his only job.

Donald started as a meter reader, working out of the utility's shop on Methuen Street in downtown Lawrence. As the company expanded and moved to new headquarters on Turnpike Street in North Andover, Donald's career at the utility rose skyward, literally. He soon was climbing utility poles, using "spikes" attached to his insteps and a leather belt around his waist for safety. Of course, the helmet was yellow. His shirt and pants were always green, always Dickies.

Donald loved his work, as it was physical labor that required utmost attention to safety, which Donald was known and respected for. The more adverse the weather, the more focused he became. When there was a weather event elsewhere in the northeast, requiring a massive response of linemen, Donald was always among the first to go. He'd call home and say to his wife, Helene, "Honey, pack a bag." Donald eventually made foreman and rose to the position of "rover," supervising utility crews across the Merrimack Valley.

During the summer months, Donald was the catcher on the company softball team, sponsored by Rolf's Tavern in North Andover. Climbing poles and working in adverse weather conditions served the players well, as they were crowned North Andover Recreational League champions more than once.
When not working, Donald loved reading, spending time with his family, hiking and studying geology, particularly among the high peaks of the Presidential Range in New Hampshire's White Mountains. He once traversed the high range with a group of hiking-geology enthusiasts from the Appalachian Mountain Club.
Seldom, however, did activities interfere with attending the South Congregational Church in South Lawrence with his family. On many a Sabbath, Donald served as head deacon, leading various readings and the collection.
The previous Saturday night would be put to good use preparing his remarks, with bibles and various other religious books spread on the kitchen table in the family's home on Young Road in North Andover.
Of course, for dinner that evening was homemade baked beans - usually pea but sometimes kidney - that had cooked for minimum eight hours that Saturday, after soaking overnight. Always with salt pork and a one diced onion.
It was at the ""South Congo"" that Donald was reacquainted with a childhood friend from the Breen School, the late Jeremiah Sullivan.
A friendship that would last a lifetime was rekindled.
Donald, Helene and Jerry enjoyed Saturday night dinners together, followed by watching Lawrence Welk. Helene would declare the evening over by flicking the lights.
Many summer weekends were spent at Sullivan's rustic summer camp on Guernsey Cow Island on Lake Winnipesaukee in New Hampshire.
Sullivan, who served as a radio operator on a B17 during World War II,resided on the island in a surplus Army tent, complete with Army cots and bedding. Mr. Scott and Mr. Sullivan decided to replace the tent and constructed - just the two of them - an octagonal home, with sliding glass windows on three sides looking out to ""Lake Winni"" and the loons.
From the rocky, rooty earth they hacked out a foundation, and slowly built the simple, yet comfortable, living quarters, with a fireplace in the center for warmth. Many a night was spent reliving war memories from the South Pacific and in the skies over Germany.
Besides his wife, surviving Donald are his three children and their spouses; Barbara Janco, of Yarmouth, Maine, and her husband Joseph; Donna Breen, of North Andover, and her husband Stephen; Christopher Scott,of Merrimac, Mass., enterprise editor at The Sun, and his wife, Catherine Catalano Scott; four grandchildren, Abigail Martin, of New York City, and her husband John Martin; Scott Janco, of Portland, Maine; Andy Scott,of Merrimac, and Stephanie Scott, also of Merrimac; and a brother, Robert Scott, of Newburyport; and a sister-in-law, Carol Otto, of Methuen and several nieces and nephews.
Scott - Friends and relatives are cordially invited to attend his funeral service on Friday, February 1, 2013 at 11:00AM at the John Breen Memorial Funeral Home, 35 Merrimack Street, North Andover, MA. Burial will follow at Ridgewood Cemetery, Salem Street, North Andover. Visitation will be held prior to his service from 10:00AM to 11:00AM. In lieu of flowers, Donald may be remembered through donations to: , MA/NH Chapter, 480 Pleasant Street, Watertown, MA 02472.
For funeral home directions or to sign the family guest book, please visit
www.breenfuneralhome.com

Published in Lowell Sun on Jan. 31, 2013
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