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1930 - 2018 Obituary Condolences Gallery
1930 ~ 2018
Lt. Colonel James Scott Maddox, 88, best known to his colleagues, friends and family as J. Scott or just Scott, is again standing straight and tall, having completed with honor the highest levels of love, devotion and service to his family, comrades, community and country. Scott was born on 28 May 1930 in Salt Lake City, Utah, the first-born son of James Hansen Maddox and Emma Fay Burt Maddox. He died on 7 September 2018, having excelled at coping with the difficulties he faced while battling the progressive and frustrating symptoms of Parkinson's disease, a result of exposure to the horrific Agent Orange substance during combat duty in Vietnam. (If you're unaware, the same ingredients are contained in the herbicide Roundup, which is currently still being sprayed onto too many yards, gardens and fields. Beware!) Degenerative disk disease, another military-related disability, severely curtailed Scott's mobility during his last years. Now he's walking briskly, headed to the next adventure.
Ever since Scott was a young lad, he enjoyed working with tools, fixing and building things. He progressed to becoming a master parachutist and survival expert. He graduated from South High School and Henager Business School. While growing up, Scott worked with his father who owned Peerless Press printing business. He also worked for Rheam Manufacturing Co. and then the Bureau of Indian Affairs at Brigham City in 1951-53 when the old hospital was being converted to an Indian School. In 1954, Scott married (Alice) NaRee Argyle and they soon had a family of 4 children: Craig, Jeneal, Mark and Ann.
Scott became a full-time member of the Utah Army National Guard where he worked in several positions for many years prior to going on active duty in 1968 with the U.S. Army - 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne). As a Green Beret, he served in the Vietnam War in 1969-70. In sharp contrast to many during the 1960s who either completely resisted or strongly protested against going to Vietnam, Scott volunteered. Comparatively speaking, he was an old man (in his 40s) serving alongside comrades who were barely out of high school. Politics aside, there was a job to be done and Scott did it.
Scott is a graduate of the Special Warfare School, the U.S. Army Infantry School, and the Command and General Staff College. His numerous decorations include the Bronze Star Medal, the Air Medal, Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry, the Staff Officer's Medal First Class and both the U.S. and Vietnamese Master Parachutist Badge. Upon return from Vietnam, Scott was assigned as U.S. Army Advisor to the 3rd Battalion, 137th Infantry of the Kansas National Guard at Iola, Kansas, where he and his family lived nearby on a farm at Colony. Upon release from active Army duty in 1973, Scott operated the farm and returned to formal schooling at Emporia State University and University of Kansas, obtaining the Bachelor of Science in Education and Master of Science in School Psychology. Having certification as a School Psychologist, Scott's primary focus during his second professional career after retirement from his military career was aimed at helping countless numbers of children, young people, and their parents by his expertise in interpreting the results of educational testing scores to direct them along better paths of learning. He considers saving the asses of all those kids in school to be his most important legacy.
Scott often recalled memorable times of his childhood and youth and later ones of taking his young family on truck-camper trips in conjunction with places around the country where he traveled to attend military training schools and events. He often extolled NaRee's parenting skills as she herded four rambunctious youngsters without serious incidents. NaRee died in 1980 at age 44 from heart disease. In 1983, Scott followed his sons who had returned to Salt Lake City where they enjoyed adventures in the mountains and deserts and on the rivers of Utah, as well as hiking in the highlands of Scotland, the home of their ancestors. Scott subsequently endured the deaths of his sons Craig in 1997 at age 42, and Mark in 2014 at age 54, both due to cancer and the detrimental side-effects of chemotherapy used in the battles against that horrific disease. In addition to his parents, his younger brother Fon also predeceased him.
Scott met Ruth Popescu in 1986 over a cup of coffee at what was then Kostas Café in Sugar House. For many years, they traveled together in Scott's motorhome, exploring the USA and Canada while checking out coffee shops along the way. When it was finally established that Ruth could cook to Scott's liking, they were married in 2012 and continued to enjoy their ritual of morning coffee outings until 2015, when Scott's disabilities confined him to rehab and assisted living care-homes.
Scott is a life member of Chapter 70 - Special Forces Association. This organization provided Scott ongoing contact with his comrades. He was honored just last month when Chapter 70 held their monthly meeting at Legacy Village of Sugar House, his home-away-from-home since May 2017. Both Scott and Ruth enjoyed numerous SFA outings over the years, and Scott served as the Chapter treasurer for many years. The highlight of his monthly reports always included unique jokes. A valiant soldier all his life, his presence with this group will be missed but welcomed at Valhalla.
Scott attained movie-star status in 2001 when KUED-Channel 7, the local PBS-affiliated television station at the University of Utah, made a historical documentary titled Salt Lake City - Utah in the 50s. Scott reminisced about his memories of several no-longer-existing places in the city and what it was like growing up here during those halcyon years. In 2013, Scott appeared in KUED's award-winning documentary series Utah Vietnam War Stories. Scott was not one to seek public recognition for his actions, but it always pleased him when friends reported having seen him on TV after Channel 7 reran the programs.
Until a week before his death, Scott remained alert to complete the daily crossword puzzle and Asimov's quiz in The Salt Lake Tribune with Ruth, who diligently came to be with him every day. He also enjoyed following the activity of his favorite baseball team, the Colorado Rockies.
Scott is survived by his wife Ruth; daughter Jeneal (Steve) Bain of Colony, KS; daughter Ann Smith of Salt Lake City; former son-in-law Dana Smith of Lebo, KS; grandchildren Cody Bain and Marla Bain of Colony, KS; Katie (Nolan) Samuels of Spring Hill, KS; Andrea (Rylind) Griffin of Stilwell, KS; five great-grandchildren, and many nieces and nephews. Special thanks are extended to the caregivers and staff at Legacy Village of Sugar House and the Aspire Hospice team. Extra-special thanks go to daughter Ann for her tireless efforts in caring for her father, catering to his whims, and being the chauffeur of his wheelchair-accessible van.
All of the above is succinctly summarized on a sign at the entrance to the Fort Douglas Military Cemetery which states: "The soldier is required to practice the greatest act of religious training - sacrifice. He must suffer and bear the deepest wounds and scars of war. We must remember: only the dead have seen the end of war."
No funeral service will be held. Scott's final gesture of generosity to his fellow man is the donation of his body to the University of Utah Body Donor Program. A family memorial gathering will be held at a later date. Keep'em flyin', Scotty. Good luck!

Published in Salt Lake Tribune on Sept. 9, 2018
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